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How to control your PC with your Android phone or tablet

There's a lot you can get done with your phone, but there are times when you need to make use of your PC. You may need to access a file, or you may actually need to run a program. If you don’t feel like walking over to your computer, or you are separated from it by distance, you could remotely access it via your Android phone or tablet. Google's Chrome Remote Desktop can be used with phone like the Moto X or Nexus 5, but you may find that the extra screen space of a Note 3 or a Nexus 7 more useful. But whether you’re on a phone or tablet, you can use the app to control your computer as if you were sitting in front of it.

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Everything you need to remotely access your computer can be downloaded free of charge. / © ANDROIDPIT

Chrome Remote Desktop is available free of charge from Google Play and it's used in conjunction with Chrome Remote Desktop on your computer. This is a Chrome app, so you'll need to have Google's web browser installed on your computer

Setting up your computer

It makes sense to make sure that your computer is set up and ready to use first. If you don't already have Chrome installed start by grabbing yourself a copy. With this done you need to ensure that you have Chrome Remote Desktop installed as well.

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Remote desktop accessed can be enabled through Chrome on your desktop. / © ANDROIDPIT

Pay a visit to the Chrome Web Store to download Chrome Remote Desktop. Click the Free button and then click Add in the pop up that appears. Wait for the download and installation to complete and then start the tool by clicking the Launch App button, or by clicking the shortcut in the Chrome App Launcher.

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App authroization helps to ensure the security of your remote connections. / © ANDROIDPIT

The first time you use the app you need to authorize it, so click Continue. Sign into your Google account when prompted and click Accept. Once this has been done, you're just about ready to go.

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Remote access can also be used to offer remote assistance. / © ANDROIDPIT

Chrome Remote Desktop can be used in one of two ways – to share a computer for the purposes of giving remote assistance, or for gaining full access to your own computer. We're interested in the second option, so click the second of the two Get Started buttons that is displayed.

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Choose a PIN to help keep your computer safe. / © ANDROIDPIT

Now click the Enable remote connections button. You may be prompted to download the Chrome Remote Desktop Host installer – if so, download and install it. You will then be prompted to choose a PIN of at least six digits that will be used to secure your connection. Enter and confirm the PIN you'd like to use and then click OK.

A popup window will appear asking for your PIN; enter it and click OK. With this done, you're ready to set up your phone or tablet.

Setting up your Android

With your computer configured, you'll need to get your Android device set up so you can connect to your computer and control it remotely.

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Hit Google Play to grab a copy of Chrome Remote Desktop for your Android device. / © ANDROIDPIT

Install Chrome Remote Desktop from Google Play and then fire up the app.

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Very little configuration is needed on your phone – remote access just works! / © ANDROIDPIT

Assuming you are signed into the same Google account on your phone or tablet as on your computer, you should see a list of computers that you can connect to – in all likelihood, unless you have use the app before, there will only be one to select. Tap the name of the computer you would like to connect to and there will be a slight delay while a connection is established.

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Enter your PIN and you'll be remote connected in an instant. / © ANDROIDPIT

You'll be asked to enter the PIN you set up earlier – do so and hit connect. You can save time for future connections by checking the box to avoid the need to enter the PIN every time, but be aware of the potential security risks involved. A moment later, your computer desktop will appear on your Android device's screen.

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Switch your phone to landscape mode to make it easier to work with your computer. / © ANDROIDPIT

In most instances, it is easier to work with a remote connection if you flip your phone or tablet into landscape mode to the upper right of the screen, tap the double arrow button to switch to fullscreen mode, and next your can then use the drop down menu to access the onscreen keyboard or to exist fullscreen.

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It takes a little getting used to, but accessing your computer on your phone is great! / © ANDROIDPIT

You can interact with your computer by tapping and dragging around the screen – it's very intuitive, even if your computer does not have touchscreen of its own. If you need to use the Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard shortcut, you can access it by tapping the menu button and selecting the relevant option. When the time comes to end the remote session – and it is not a good idea to leave it open longer than necessary – you can either hit the Disconnect option in the menu on your Android device, or you can tap the Stop Sharing button on your computer.

Have you used Chrome Remote Desktop to control your computer from your phone or tablet? What made you set up remote access?


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