Pair and sync Android phone with Windows

Lance Whitney

Microsoft has long offered the ability to pair and sync your smartphone with a Windows computer. The idea is to unite the two so that your PC can take over some of your phone’s functions and content, a handy option if you’re at your computer but your phone is out of reach. This capability is virtually non-existent for an iPhone due to Apple’s walled garden approach. But it works reasonably well with Android’s more open environment.

By linking your Android phone to Windows, you can use your PC to make and answer phone calls, read and reply to text messages, view photos taken on your phone, and receive notifications.

With some phone models, you can even run Android apps on your PC. The overall setup process is similar across the board, although I found some variation between Samsung devices and other Android phones.

In my past experience, setting up the initial binding has often proven to be awkward and frustrating. But Microsoft has since refined the setup so that it now runs smoother, or at least it should. The folks at Redmond also updated the old Your Phone app, which syncs and displays content between your phone and PC. The app is now called Phone Link and sports a more user-friendly design.

Linking and syncing your Android phone works the same in Windows 10 and 11, although there are a few differences. Ed Bott has covered the process for Windows 10 in 2021. Now let’s see how it goes in Windows 11 in 2022 with the latest changes and improvements.

How to Pair Your Android Phone with Windows 11

1. In Windows 11, go to Settings > Bluetooth and devices > Your phone.

2. Click the button to Open your phone. The Phone Link application then appears.

4. Click the Begin button.

5. Confirm the account you want to use for this process and click Continue (Figure 1).

Confirm your account

Lance Whitney

6. On your Android phone, go to www.aka.ms/yourpc. This takes you to Google Play, where you’ll be prompted to install an app called Link to Windows. On Samsung phones, however, this app is already built-in, so you just need to update it.

7. Press the Install or Update button.

8. Open the app and press the button to Pair your phone and PC.

9. On your computer, check the box that says “I have the link to the Windows app ready”. You can pair the two devices via a QR code or a manual process, but scanning the code is easier.

10. On your PC, click the Pair with QR Code button (Figure 2).

Use QR code

Lance Whitney

11. On your phone, tap Continue and allow the app to take photos and record videos.

12. Point your phone at the QR code. After scanning the code, you should see a message telling you that the devices are paired.

13. Press Continue on your phone (picture 3).

Pair your phone

Lance Whitney

14. You will need to grant the app permission to access your contacts, make and manage phone calls, send and view SMS messages.

15. You may also be asked if you want the phone app to be able to refresh while running in the background, which can keep your texts and photos up to date, but can eat into your phone’s load. your battery. If this notification appears, deny or allow the background refresh (Figure 4).

To run in the background

Lance Whitney

16. Complete the setup to link your phone and PC.

17. On your computer, click Continue then click Begin.

18. You may be asked if you want to select a task to start exploring. Click on To jump to go directly to the main Phone Link screen (Figure 5).

Phone Link Main Screen

Lance Whitney

Now let’s take a look at each of the tasks you can do on your computer with your phone connected.

How to send or receive a text message on your PC

1. Click the posts heading at the top, and the latest text messages from your phone should appear.

2. Click on a text to read it. To reply, type your message at the bottom and insert an emoji, GIF or image to add flair.

3. To create a new text, click the button New message.

4. Enter the name, phone number or email address of the person you want to send an SMS to.

5. Then compose your message and send it (Figure 6).

Compose a message

Lance Whitney

How to make or answer a call on your PC

1. Click on the title of calls then click Begin.

2. You may be asked to activate Bluetooth on your phone. If so, allow access, then complete pairing by confirming the PIN code.

3. Next, click the button to Send authorization to allow recent calls on your phone to appear in the Phone Link application on your PC.

4. Select a phone number for a recent call and click the Phone icon to call this number.

5. To make a new call, type the name of a contact in the Contacts field or dial the number on the keypad.

Incoming phone calls will appear on your Android phone and in the Phone Link app on your PC, so you can answer them on either device. You don’t even need to keep the application open on your PC as it will reside in memory and start automatically each time Windows loads (Picture 7).

Receive a phone call

Lance Whitney

How to access your photos

1. Click on the title of Pictures.

2. You should see all the recent photos you have taken on your Android phone. If not, click Refresh.

3. Click on a specific photo and you can open it in the Photos app, copy it, save it, share it or delete it (Picture 8).

Access the photos

Lance Whitney

Run an app

You can run an Android app from your phone on your PC, but only with certain phones. Of the various Android phones I checked, only relatively newer Samsung Galaxy phones seemed to support this option. A Galaxy S8 didn’t qualify, but the Galaxy S10e did. Microsoft’s Surface Duo also supports this feature. Just click on the app you want to access and it will appear on your PC. You can also go to your phone’s home screen to access it from your PC (Figure 9).

Run an app

Lance Whitney

Show Notifications

Then you can check your phone notifications on your PC. Click it Notice icon in the left vertical toolbar. The first time you do this, you’ll need to grant permissions through your phone. Your notifications will then appear in the left sidebar (Picture 10).

Show Notifications

Lance Whitney

Finally, you can manage your linked phone in the Phone Link app. Click it Gear icon in the upper right. On the Settings screen, you can change different options for different categories, enable copy and paste between your phone and PC, and add or remove a linked phone (Picture 11).

Access settings

Lance Whitney