In 2019, Microsoft finally got its own Android notification management system from Windows. Since then, it is possible to see notifications from your Android phone on your Windows 10 or 11 PC as soon as they arrive and retrieve your entire SMS history as well as any pending notifications on demand. You can even reply to messages and compose new texts directly from your computer. Previously called Your Phone, the Windows app has recently (and appropriately) been renamed Phone Link.
Here’s how to start. (These instructions assume you’ve updated your PC to Windows 11, but the process will be similar for Windows 10.) You’ll be going back and forth between your computer and your phone, so be prepared.
First, on your Windows computermake sure you have the latest version of the Your Phone app:
- Open the Microsoft Store and search Telephone link.
- If the application is not already installed, install it.
- If the app is installed, click To open.
- You will be redirected to the Your Phone app. Click on Begin.
- You will be reminded which Microsoft account you are signed into. Unless you want to switch accounts, click Continue.
I get it? Good. It’s time to move on to call side of things.
- You will receive instructions on where to go on your Android phone to install the Link to Windows app. For most phones, you’ll type in the provided web link or you can search for it yourself in the Play Store and then install it. If you have a Surface Duo or some Samsung phones, Link to Windows will already be installed.
- Open the Link to Windows app and tap Pair your phone and PC.
Now back to your computer.
- You should see a checkbox saying I have the Link to Windows app ready. Check it, then click Pair with QR code. You will get a pop-up window with a QR code.
back to your call
- You should see a box asking if the QR code on your PC is ready. Since this is the case, press Continue on your phone. Allow Link to Windows to take photos and record videos.
- Scan the QR code on the computer with your phone. It should connect.
- Grant the app the various permissions it requests.
- You will be warned that staying connected may impact your battery life. Faucet Continuethen allow or deny it permission to run in the background.
- Your phone will tell you to check your computer, and your computer will tell you that you’re ready.
On your computer
- You’ll be welcomed into the app and prompted to pin it to your Windows 11 taskbar. You’ll then be presented with everything you can do, like see notifications, send text messages, view photos, or make a call .
But you’re not quite done yet. There’s just a bit of configuration left, the part that allows notifications to pass.
- If you are still in the intro screen, you can click See my notifications. Alternatively, if you’re in the main Phone Link app window, you’ll see Notifications in the left menu; click on it. You will be asked for permission to sync notifications.
- Click on Open phone settings. On your phone, you should have been taken to Device and app notifications. Find the Link to Windows app in the list and enable the toggle next to it.
- Faucet To permit in the confirmation window that appears.
That’s it! All notifications you receive on your phone will now be transferred to the Phone Link app. You can receive and respond to text messages, view your photos, and even make calls (as long as they’re paired via Bluetooth). You can also control four features of your phone via buttons: Do not disturb; Bluetooth; volume on/off; and audio player on/off.
Updated April 8, 2022, 11:45 a.m. ET: This article was originally published on July 30, 2019. It has been updated to reflect app and operating system changes.