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How to access/mirror your phone & run Android apps on your PC

If you’re going through hell, keep going, Winston Churchill

A smartphone is an addictive device which traps a soul into a lifeless planet full of lives, Munia Khan

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous across the globe due to their wide range of uses. They enable us to stay connected and entertained, take, edit, and share photos and videos, take notes, make purchases, manage our bank accounts, and much, much more. We spend a lot of time using our phones and in front of our computers, so we are constantly switching between our PCs and smartphones.

Making these two platforms work together makes a lot of sense. The idea is to connect your smartphone to your PC, ideally without pulling your phone from your pocket, and yet be able to access your files from your phone, receive notifications, send and receive calls, etc. In Apple’s world, Macs, iPhones, and IPads work together seamlessly. Besides, many of us want to use our Android apps on our Windows PCs. How to access/mirror your phone

How to access/mirror your phone

 

If you want to connect an Android to a PC, the most common and easy approach is to use a USB cable. When you connect your smartphone via USB, there will be notifications in your Android (Use USB to… Transfer files) and Windows (Open device to view files). Besides, you can use Bluetooth, too by turning it on for both your Android smartphone and computer. Your computer will show up on your Android as an available device to pair with, tap it to pair your Android with your computer.

Microsoft Phone Link

It is a simple and intuitive app for Windows 11. It allows you to view your phone’s notifications, receive and reply to text messages, make and receive calls, see photos from your Android device, and displays your phone’s screen on your PC.

  1. Microsoft Phone Link comes preinstalled on Windows 10/11, but it can also be installed from the Microsoft Store. On your Android phone or tablet, go to the Google Pay Store and download and install Link to Windows.
  2. Open the Link to Window app, tap Link your phone and PC, and then Continue. Microsoft Phone Link

    Microsoft Phone Link

     
  3. Open the Phone Link Window app, click Get started to start the wizard, sign in to your Microsoft account, and link your phone using a QR code. Microsoft Phone Link

    Microsoft Phone Link

     
  4. The Phone Link app lets you access your phone’s notifications (you need to grant the app permission), view and send text messages (select Messages from the top menu), make and receive phone calls (Calls), view and run your Android apps (Apps), view and copy photos between your smartphone and PC (Photos).
    Microsoft Phone Link

    Microsoft Phone Link

     

Bluestacks

Bluestacks is the best Android app emulator. It is a great solution to run Android games and apps that don’t have a Windows version. It comes in two versions, one is free, but ad-supported and the other is paid.

  1. Go to Bluestacks and download it. Launch it and log in to your Google Play account. Bluestacks

    Bluestacks

     
  2. Once you are on Google Play, search and select an Android app, and click Install. BlueStacks will display an icon for each installed Android app, just tap the app icon to run it. Bluestacks

    Bluestacks

     
  3. BlueStacks displays a right sidebar with several controls to adjust the volumen, shake (virtually) the device, rotate the screen, set your location, take screenshots, or adjust your settings.
  4. Bluestacks is heavy on system resources and may impact your computer performance. What can you do about it?

Android apps from the Amazon Appstore (US-only)

Windows 11 has built-in support for Android Apps. Just open the Microsoft Store, search and install Amazon Appstore.

You’ll be asked to install the Windows Subsystem for Android. Of course, you need to accept it.

Sign in using your Amazon account details, install, run some apps, and enjoy 😄!

Mirror your Android devices

scrcpy provides display and control of Android devices connected via USB or over TCP/IP. It does not require any root access and it works on GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

  1. Installation: Windows (scrcpy); macOS (brew install scrcpy); sudo apt install scrcpy (Ubuntu, Debian); sudo pacman -S scrcpy (Arch).
  2. Enable adb debugging on your android: Settings, About phone or About device, Version and tap Build number a few times. After that, go to Settings, System/System settings, Developer options, and enable USB debugging.
  3. Connect the Android device to the computer via USB (You can see the list of devices attached to your computer: adb devices), then run scrcpy in a terminal. scrcpy

    scrcpy

     

Connect yur Android to Ubuntu (GNOME)

  1. First, you need to install a browser extension, GNOME Shell Integration. Additionally, on some distributions, you’ll need a package, too: sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell
  2. Install the extension GSConnect. You’ll notice a big switch on the top right of the page, just flip it on. Besides, you can also install and use the Gnome Extension Manager application, sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-manager.
  3. Install KDE Connect in your phone. It is an open source app that is available on the Google Play Store and F-Droid.
  4. Pair Android and Ubuntu: Open the KDE Connect app on your phone, Pair a new device, Available devices, tap the name of your Linux and hit the “Request Pairing” button.
  5. Ubuntu: Your phone should be listed inside the Status Menu appended by a small battery percentage and an icon.
  6. Mount your phone in Ubuntu’s file manager: Status Menu, Phone, Mount. GSConnect

    GSConnect

     
    AirDroid and TeamViewer are also two proprietary solutions. Prices, terms, and conditions are subject to change without notice.
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