You can connect a personal computer to an Android phone with ease. The following five tips will help you break down the barrier between your desktop system and your Android smartphone connection and make them feel like a harmonious extension of each other.
Sync up your storage
Your computer has local storage, as does your phone – two separate, unconnected virtual vats of space. But with a clever cloud-embracing app and a few minutes of configuration, the devices’ drives can act as if they are one.
The secret resides in FolderSync, an Android utility. (There is a free version, but it is peppered with ads and offers limited functionality.) FolderSync works with a ton of cloud storage providers, including Amazon, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. As long as the provider you select offers a companion programme on the PC side, you will be good to go.
To get everything up and running, first install the app on your phone and follow the prompts to connect it to the cloud storage service of your choice. Set up “pairs” for any folders you want to keep linked with your computer – a folder containing your documents or downloads, for instance – and create new folders in your cloud storage to match.
Be sure to set the pair to use two-way sync. You can either opt to sync instantly, if you want everything to be kept up-to-date at all times, or you can go for a more battery-friendly setup like syncing once a day if you don’t mind a little bit of latency.
Now, install the desktop app for whatever cloud service you are using. Open the app, find the paired folder you have created, and get it ready for use. If you paired a documents’ folder, for example, you may place a shortcut on your desktop and dump all of your existing documents into it.
Then, treat that folder as if it were a regular local resource. Anything you do there will be saved onto your hard drive and synced into the cloud, where it will automatically find its way onto your Android device. Any changes on your phone will make their way back to your computer in the same manner.
Find and secure your phone
Your computer can tell you exactly where your mobile phone is. It can even remotely lock it down and erase it if need be.
All you have to do is get on your computer (or any computer, really), navigate to google.com in the browser, and type “Find my phone” into the search box. (You’ll have to sign into Google first – which you’ll probably want to do in an incognito window if it isn’t your own PC.) Within seconds, El Goog will give you a detailed map showing your smartphone’s last logged location. Clicking on it will bring up the full Android device manager interface, where you’ll find options to ring, lock, or fully erase your phone right then and there.
There is one catch: Your phone has to be configured beforehand to allow all of that to happen. Take two minutes right now, while your phone is safe and sound, and open up the app called Google Settings on your device. (Note that we’re talking about Google Settings, which isn’t the same as your regular system settings.)
Head into the Security menu and make sure both “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase” are activated. Now, take a deep breath, relax, and think of something else to worry about.
Beam directions from your computer to your phone
Maybe your problem isn’t losing your phone but rather getting lost yourself. We all know Google Maps is great at giving directions, but you may not realize that you can beam such guidance right from your computer to your phone – without needing any software beyond a regular ol’ Web browser.
This one is simple: Type “Send directions to my phone” into Google while you’re signed in on any desktop system. You’ll get a box prompting you to type in the business name or address where you’re headed. Fill in the blank and click the Send command – like magic, your phone will open up the Maps app and be ready with directions as soon as you leave.
Give yourself a universal clipboard
Imagine how much easier things would be if you could hit Ctrl-C on your computer and paste that same text somewhere on your smartphone. Or vice versa – highlighting text on your phone and pasting it into a document or email on your PC.
A lovely notion, isn’t it? Well, quit your daydreaming and make it a reality. A free app called Pushbullet provides the power to create a universal clipboard that connects your desktop and mobile devices in a massively time-saving way.
Install the app on your phone and install the companion app for your desktop system. Open up the app’s settings on Android and make sure “Universal copy & paste” is activated. That’s it: Your clipboards are now connected. Anytime you copy the text on your computer, you can paste it instantly on your Android device – and anytime you copy the text on your phone, you can paste it anywhere on your PC. All you have to do is use the regular system-level copy and paste commands.
Share Web pages, images, and files
While we are on the subject of Pushbullet, take a minute to check out the app’s content-sharing capabilities. Pushbullet makes it dead simple to send Web pages, images, and any other files between your computer and phone – no wires required.
Whenever you encounter an item you want to share from your phone, use the regular Android share command – readily available in most apps and system processes – and select Pushbullet as the place where you want to share it. On the PC side, Pushbullet offers browser extensions that you can click on anytime you want to share.
Whether it is a Web page or a file you are passing between devices, it will pop up in a new window on the receiving system some seconds after you send it.
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