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How to Access Your Computer From a Mobile Device

Updated Oct 20, 2023

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The percentage of employees working remotely has remained high for the last two years. This arrangement leaves millions of employees needing remote access to the files stored on their office computers. 

With remote access software, you can connect to your office PC while working remotely – even from your smartphone. We’ll explore how to access your computer from a mobile device and how remote PC access software can benefit your organization.

What is remote PC access software?

Remote PC access software is any platform that lets you use a local device to connect to or control a PC located elsewhere. You don’t have to be on the same network as the PC to access it. Instead, these programs connect to the internet so you can access your in-office computer from anywhere in the world. 

People often use remote PC access technology to transfer files between their desktop and mobile devices or demonstrate a concept on a colleague’s desktop.

How does remote PC access software work?

Remote access software works as a communication system between two or more devices. It lets your mobile device act as a remote control for your office computer. To establish a connection, you must install remote PC access software on your PC and mobile device. For example, you could install the software on your PC at work and your laptop at home or a tablet or smartphone.

Remote PC access software functions through the internet or another network connection, such as a VPN, to send and receive data between the two devices. After installing the software, your local device can establish communication with your PC. [Learn how to install a VPN connection.]

Did You Know?Did you know

>Remote PC access software is a type of remote desktop software. Another type of remote desktop software helps IT specialists solve their clients’ problems remotely.

What to look for in remote PC access software

While all remote PC access platforms accomplish the same purpose, no two programs work exactly the same, and each program has unique features.

  • Security settings: Without the proper security settings in place, you could be compromising your work network when you access it remotely. You can keep your organization’s data – and your personal data – secure with multifactor authentication, data encryption and access control. Read our in-depth ConnectWise Control review to about a program with all of these security features.
  • Remote support: Some platforms are tailored for companies that need to set up remote support infrastructure. For example, Zoho Assist helps you quickly and effectively resolve customer issues. Read our Zoho Assist review to learn more about this software.
  • Ease of use: From time tracking to video conferencing, you and your team already have plenty of systems incorporated into your workflow. Do you really have time to learn how to use another one? Remote PC access software that is easy to set up and use keeps your workday uncomplicated and productive.
  • Affordability: Because of the many different features, remote PC access software can vary greatly in price. One program might base its price on the number of individual users on the plan. Another program might consider how many devices are connected or the number of concurrent sessions. Determine the pricing structure that best suits your organization.
  • Hosting method: Some remote PC access software requires you to install the program on your devices. Cloud-based software, on the other hand, gives you desktop access from any web browser. GoToAssist, for example, lets you start a remote session by logging in to your online account. (Read our GoToAssist review to learn more about this remote PC access solution.) Consider which approach is best for your business.
  • File transfer: With remote PC access software, there’s no need to email documents to yourself before heading home for the day. You can access files on your work computer and transfer them to your mobile device. Some programs limit the size of the files you can transfer, so ensure the product you choose meets your needs.
  • Offsite printing: You can select files from your office computer to print at home on your printer. Many programs offer remote printing so you can securely locate your files and send them to a local printer.
  • Session reports: Remote PC access software lets you gauge how your team is spending their time through session reports. These reports provide you with information like the time and duration of an employee’s connection and the location where they established the connection.
  • Collaboration tools: Some of these programs facilitate collaboration and communication between you and your team members. Text, voice, video chat and whiteboards are a few collaboration tools some of these programs offer. Read our Splashtop review for an example of this functionality.
  • Customizable options: You may want to customize your remote access program’s settings to suit your organization’s needs. For example, your priority might be finding a program that fits your budget. Look for software that allows you to adjust your plan as needed.
Key TakeawayKey takeaway

Remote PC access software offers varied features. Consider your team’s needs and compare them to what various platforms offer. You can learn more about the many options in our reviews of the best remote PC access software.

How to set up mobile desktop access

Once you’ve decided on a software solution with the features you need, it’s time to install the program. Consult your program’s user manual for specific instructions. Generally, though, you’ll follow these steps:

  1. Create an account. Create a user account with the software you’ve chosen. Your username and password will allow you to log in to your account and connect to your linked devices.
  2. Install the software. You’ll need to install the software on your office computer so mobile devices can connect to it. Open the program and select Configure or Enable to give the program access to your computer. You’ll then need to download the application software on your remote device. Many programs work with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, as well as Chromebooks.
  3. Launch the remote connection. Once you’ve installed the software, open the application on your remote device and use it for mobile desktop access. In the application, you can add mobile devices and computers to your account as long as you’ve installed the software on those devices. 

To successfully manage a remote workforce, communicate often and extensively through instant messaging, video conferencing, or phone calls.

How to access your computer from a mobile device

The steps for accessing your PC vary slightly for iOS vs. Android devices

How to access your computer from an iPhone or iPad

  1. Search for your remote PC access program’s app in the App Store. 
  2. Download the app and then select the option to add a PC. 
  3. Enter your PC’s name or IP address and your username. 
  4. Select what you want the connection to include, such as your computer’s camera, file storage, and clipboard.
  5. If your company uses a remote desktop gateway server, follow these instructions from Cloudzy to set up that option within the app. 
  6. Tap Save to confirm the information you entered.

You should now be able to see and select the computer you added and access it remotely. The program might ask you to verify the connection when you try to connect for the first time. When you’re done with your session, press End or Disconnect.

How to access your computer from an Android device

  1. Download your software’s application from Google Play. 
  2. Open the app and tap Add (plus sign) >Desktop.
  3. Either enter your PC information manually or have the app automatically search for and enter it. To complete the fields manually, enter your PC’s name or IP address, and then type in your username and password. 
  4. If your company uses a remote desktop gateway, find the menu for additional options and answer any prompts.
  5. Select whether you want the software to receive audio from your computer. 
  6. After you’ve filled out all the information, tap Save. You’ll see the computer you added in your device list. 
  7. Select your computer to start a remote session. 
  8. When you’re ready to disconnect, tap the X in the corner of the screen. 

When you’re finished, you and your employees can work together as if you’re sitting right at your office desks.

Shayna Waltower
Contributing Writer at
Shayna is a freelance content writer and producer who enjoys helping businesses communicate their specialties and brand values to current and prospective customers. She has been passionate about writing since she received her first journal when she was five years old. She’s worked for TV news stations, live production companies, and radio broadcasts outside the writing world.
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