You might want to control your Android phone with a PC for any number of reasons. If you want to use your keyboard to type, or you’re working at your PC and you don’t want to miss an important message, there are quite a few apps that have you covered.
If your device is rooted it will be a lot easier to gain control via PC, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do with an unrooted device. Here’s a list with four methods showing how to control your Android device with your PC.
Method 1: AirDroid: File Transfer/Manager
AirDroid is an app you can use to remotely control portions of your phone from your PC, and you can also use AirMirror to interact with an Apple Mac.
Once connected, you will receive calls, SMS messages, and app notifications on your PC screen. You can respond and reply to messages, calls and notifications using your computer keyboard. It doesn’t use any cables, so you can keep the phone charging in the corner if you wish.
It’s one of the biggest and best known Android apps, with great reviews from a large number of sources over the past few years.
Here’s a video that shows some of the features on offer:
To get AirDroid working:
Step 1: Download the application from the Play Store to your device.
Step 2: You will also have to download the PC client to be able to use the app.
Step 3: Open the application, and enable the setting so it can see your notifications. (The phone will let you choose this when you open the app.)
Step 4: There will be an option to Sign in or Sign up on the top half of the app.
Step 5: Once you’ve signed in, you will be able to access all of the features available.
Step 6: Tap the icons on the bottom half of the screen to setup file transfer features. There’s also a photo editor and tethering options.
AirDroid is a solid option and it should handle most of your needs. It has over 316,000 five star reviews on the Play Store to date.
Method 2: Web PC Suite – File Transfer
You can use this app if you want to transfer files between your phone and your PC. This can be useful if you want to stick movies on your handset, or if you’re constantly moving images from your phone to your PC like I am.
It doesn’t have as many options as some of the other apps on this list, but it does work perfectly. They have recently added the option to view, delete and send messages via a webpage. (However, it’s still in beta mode so there may be some issues.)
To setup the Web PC Suite:
Step 1: Download the Web PC app from the Play Store to your device.
Step 2: Open the app on your Android device.
The application should now be ready for use.
(You can also scan a QR code for quick access in the future.)
It’s simple to connect, and the app is updated with new features fairly regularly.
Method 3: PushBullet
This is a nifty app that can be used in a number of ways.
Essentially, you can use the app to send and view messages, and you can push files and links between your devices. Here’s a video from PushBullet in which they explain what’s on offer:
To get PushBullet working:
Step 1: Download the application to your device and create an account.
Step 2: Choose what you want to see on your PC.
Step 3: Head to https://www.pushbullet.com/
Step 4: Sign in to the website using the same login details from the first step.
The website will now take you through the necessary steps to set up the connection between your device and your PC.
You should now be able to access your device from the PC client.
Method 4: With a Rooted Device
If your device is rooted, it’s easier to gain full access for a whole host of needs that won’t be covered here. For more information about the rooting process, check out one of our many guides for specific handsets.
If your device is rooted, there are a couple of apps you can use, such as BBQScreen and Webkey.
For example, BBQScreen Remote Control can be downloaded from the Play Store. (It costs roughly $5.)
It allows you to see your Android device’s screen on your PC including sound, and you can use your mouse and keyboard to interact with the device. If this is what you’re looking for, it’s simple enough to install and use.
Again, your device will need to be rooted for this method to work. (It will work on an unrooted device, but you will need to be connected via USB.) Use one of the other methods if that isn’t what you’re looking for.
Step 1: Download the application from the Play Store.
Step 2: Make sure that both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.
If your device is rooted, you should be able to open the app and turn it on via the toggle in the top right hand corner.
Your device will now appear on your computer screen, and you can use a mouse and USB to navigate and use the device.
Here’s a video from the developer that discusses some of the features on offer:
There are quite a few different methods to use a PC to control your device, and they all have pros and cons. If you want to avoid rooting your device, it’s hard to gain full control, but many users just don’t want to mess around with their devices that much. (Somewhat understandably.)
If you’ve found a better method or you have any issues, let us know in the comments below, or you can also send us a message, (or a follow) on both Facebook and Twitter.
If we’ve missed a great app or you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.