Control your Android device with your PC

Isn't it useful to just leave your device when you hear it vibrate in the distance? Or to track down your Android from your PC if you've lost it? You can remotely control your Android device from your PC. For this we will start with apps and built-in elements of Android.

You are probably already familiar with applications that allow you to remotely take over your PC, for example via mobile applications. But it can also be done the other way around: you control your Android smartphone or tablet via your PC.

01 Push bullet

We'll start with Pushbullet. This application is primarily intended to transfer files between your Android devices and your PC. But the app also has another handy feature: it shows you notifications on your PC. For example, when you receive an e-mail or WhatsApp message, you will see it immediately because a notification window slides up from the system tray at the bottom right. For this you need a Chrome browser extension on your PC and an application on your Android device. The Chrome extension can be found here and the app can be found on this website.

Install both and open the Pushbullet browser extension by tapping the bullet icon in the top right corner of the browser. Pushbullet then asks you to log in with your Google account. Make sure you sign in with the same account you use on your Android device. A screen will then appear from which you can send pushes to devices and friends. Let's leave this for now.

Play Store

Google's Play Store makes it really easy to install apps from your PC's browser onto your Android device. Navigate to //play.google.com and log in via the blue button at the top right. Then find a nice app, press to install, check the permissions the app asks for, select your Android device where you want to install the app and press . again to install. Your Android will now download and install the app itself.

You can have apps installed on your Android via the PC

02 App

Start the app on your Android device and log in with your Google account. The devices to which you can send and receive files appear in the left menu. That can be your other Android devices that are also logged in, as well as friends' devices. You will also find Chrome here. That's your computer you just signed in with in the Chrome browser.

To receive notifications from your Android device in Chrome on your PC, press the menu button at the top right of the app and choose Institutions. Then press Enable/disable notification sync and in the android settings window put a check on Sync notifications. From now on, notifications will appear on your smartphone or tablet in the lower right corner of your screen.

Pushbullet's Chrome extension lets you sync Android notifications, as well as exchange files.

Your Android notification will appear in the corner above your PC's notification area.

Android notifications can be synchronized via the app itself.

03 Exclude notifications

Some apps do not require you to receive a notification on your PC. For example, if you sync the same email account on your Android device as you do in Outlook on your PC. A duplicate notification in the same corner of the screen with an email from both Outlook and Pushbullet is a bit too much. You can disable this by pressing . in the notification on the PC Disable mirroring or Email to push. In the Pushbullet app on your Android, you can also exclude apps in the settings so that these notifications do not arrive on your PC. You can also indicate here whether notifications may only be synced via a WiFi connection and whether you also want to sync notifications to your other Android devices.

04 AirDroid

Getting your notifications on your PC is one thing, but to actually put your Android to work from your PC, AirDroid comes in handy. Install and open the app and sign in with an account. AirDroid asks if you need to enable the Find Phone functionality. We do not use this for this course. After the app has launched and logged in, the main screen will show you a web address (https://web.airdroid.com) and an IP address. You can now connect your PC and Android device. On your PC, open the browser and enter one of the two addresses. The IP address is sufficient if your Android device and your PC are on the same network, the website establishes a connection via the internet. When you connect for the first time, you still have to authorize the PC on your Android tablet. A message will appear for this when you make the connection.

Your Android device as a desktop in your PC's browser.

05 Android in the browser

You will now see an interface in your browser that resembles a PC operating system. Here you will find everything from your Android device. You have an immediate overview of your connection, available storage space and battery status. You will also see a toolbox on the right from which you can send files and links to your Android, among other things. At the top you will find a search field to search for apps in the Play Store. Most interesting, however, are the icons on the desktop. This is the ultimate toolbox to control your Android completely hands-free! We will go through some options with you.

With Messages you can read your text messages and even send text messages. Applications can be used to uninstall apps or download the apk installation files of installed apps on your PC. It is also possible to install apps outside the Play Store with the same type of (apk) files. You use Photos to open photos from your device and download them to your PC, or transfer them from your PC to your Android. The same goes for Music and Videos. You use ringtones to change the ringtone and notification sound of your Android (possibly with a local file from your PC). Calls displays your phone call history and allows you to start a phone call. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take over the actual conversation with your PC, so if you start a conversation via AirDroid, you have to quickly pick up your smartphone. Contacts is self-explanatory and shows your contact list.

Screenshot shows a screenshot of your Android, but will only work if you can grant the app root access. After all, Camera gives the option to peek through the camera lens on your Android device or even take pictures with the camera on the back or front of the device. Making videos is not possible.

By using the camera feature of AirDroid, you can use your Android as a basic security camera.

06 Device Manager

Do you often lose your Android device? Then it is useful to know that you can find it via your PC. Android's device manager is a handy feature for this. First of all, you need to enable this on your Android itself. To do this, go to the settings, choose Security and then press Device Administrators. In the window that follows, check Android Device Manager. From now on you can always locate your Android device, all you need is a browser. Your Android must be turned on and connected to the internet to be able to find it.

Log in here with the Google account that you also use on your Android. You will then be presented with a Google Maps interface that shows the exact location of your device. If you have lost the device, press To call, this will make your Android noise for five minutes until you unlock the device. This function also works for Android tablets. If you already see on the map that your device is completely different, it's best to go to interlock Press to lock the device with a password that you enter yourself.

Include a recovery message so that anyone turning on the device can see who owns the Android device. As a last resort, there is still the button To clear, which erases all your data on your device. Of course, only use this if you really don't see a way out to get your Android back, because not only will you lose your data, but because the device is restored to factory settings, it can no longer be found via the device manager.

You can easily locate your Android with Device Manager.

By immediately locking the device, you prevent others from snooping through your personal files.

Everything with AirDroid

As soon as you're a bit at home in AirDroid, you'll soon notice that AirDroid can also take over notification synchronization and Android device management. However, we have opted for PushBullet and Android's own device manager for these functions because we find these functions (personally) just a little more practical.

07 Take over Android

With the above tricks, you have taken over a lot of functionality from your Android with your PC. However, you cannot transfer everything from your Android device to your PC yet. For example, if you see that you have a WhatsApp message, you still have to grab your phone to be able to respond. The same goes for other applications on your Android like Snapchat and KiK. There is one way to still be able to do this: by directly taking over your Android device. For this we use an old acquaintance: TeamViewer. You probably already know this program as a tool with which you can remotely take over someone else's desktop, but this program can also be used to remotely take over a smartphone or tablet.

Whatsapp from Windows: it sometimes works a bit wooden, but it is possible!

We'll start by downloading the app for Android from the Play Store. Start the app and you will see a number code behind Your ID to stand. You need this code to make the connection between your PC and your Android. Download TeamViewer on your PC now. Choose the All-in-One: Full TeamViewer version. After you have started the program, enter Control your computer remotely you Partner ID in. This is the code that generated the Android app. Then click Connect with Partner. The Android app will then display a message confirming that a connection is being established.

The desktop application now shows a dashboard with practical information about your device, such as the system load, specs, installed apps, running processes and so on. But this is not what we made the connection for. Then, to show the interface of your Android device on your monitor, press at the top left Remote control. Once again you have to confirm the connection on your Android, after which you will see a window on the screen of your PC with the interface of your Android device. From now on you can control your device remotely with the mouse and keyboard of your PC. To type, you do not have to select letters with your mouse on the virtual keyboard, but you can simply use the keyboard.

Also handy: you can easily disable apps that place a heavy burden on your Android with TeamViewer.

Before you can connect, you still need to grant permission on your Android device.

08 Woody

The responsiveness of your Android device with TeamViewer depends on the speed of your connection. So it can happen that it all works a bit wooden. You can improve the speed slightly by setting the image quality a little lower via the pull-down menu at the top of the screen. By keeping TeamViewer active, you can now always respond immediately when Pushbullet lets you know that you've caught a WhatsApp message. You no longer have to touch the device for anything, except for calling. Connecting your Android device to the charger when you operate it remotely with your PC is not an unnecessary luxury.

Root access?

The TeamViewer app requires root access for some features and on some devices. If you have a Samsung smartphone or tablet that runs on Android, TeamViewer works completely without root access.

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