You can play with it all you want, just don’t touch it. Your phone that is.
An Android phone is such a powerful tool. You can use an Android tethered for access to the Internet or as a standalone wireless hotspot. You can use it to solve everyday problems, or to impress your friends. But did you know that your Android phone can be useful even when you don’t have it on you?
It’s true, even if you forget it at home, you can still use it as a central location to store and access all of your contact information, all of your important photos or videos, or as a wireless IP camera to keep an eye on any location of your choice. There are so many things you can do remotely with your Android phone, if you’re running the right apps and putting them to good use.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the coolest apps to make use of your Android Phone without even laying a single finger on it.
Airdroid – Instant Internet Access To Your Phone
Jessica reviewed AirDroid a while back, and since then, AirDroid has only gotten better. Install it on your phone, launch it, and you have instant access to your phone (or tablet) from either a direct IP address right on your own home network, or using web.airdroid.com and signing into your AirDroid account from anywhere on the Internet.
AirDroid isn’t only a really easy way to capture screenshots of your Android (which is primarily why I use it most of the time), but it also gives you direct access to all of the Contacts you have installed on your phone, SMS message history, screenshots, files and pretty much anything else you have installed on your phone.
It gives you control over your phone as well. You can view all installed apps and uninstall any of them. This is one of the easiest ways to clean up your phone from those old apps you installed and don’t use anymore. AirDroid also lets you launch the camera on your phone, control the flash, take a picture, and enable the camera front-facing camera.
The right side of the Airdroid screen gives you access to your current phone stats like memory use, battery use, network status and more. You can also get access to the clipboard contents, web browser, and more.
It’s probably one of the most functional and useful remote control apps I’ve ever used for Android, which makes it an obvious first choice for hands-free control of your Android phone.
Android Lost – Control Your Phone From Anywhere
There’s similar remote control app called Android Lost that you can download at the Google Play store, which provides the same sort of access and control, but with a much simpler and more straightforward GUI. The Android Lost website lists all of the things you can do with it.
For some reason the app is only touted as a way to find your phone when you lose it, because you can do things like enabling an alarm, vibrating the phone, and other things that might alert you to the location under the couch cushions where you dropped your phone.
However, there’s so much more this app lets you do to control the phone. You can set up SMS or Email alerts for when things change on your phone, or to get a automated log of activity from your phone like status messages, call log details, and more.
The thing is, the app goes way beyond features that help you find a lost phone. There is a long list of controls – some that are really cool like sending a text message that your phone will speak out loud, automatically setting up call forwarding, record sounds from the microphone, turn on the cameras – the list goes on.
Of course, beyond those really cool control features, the ability to use the software to find your lost Android, even when it’s not lost inside your own house, is pretty impressive. You can even use the app to turn on the GPS receiver in your phone and locate the phone coordinates on a map.
So, if you’re looking more for remote access to files and the status of your phone, I’d recommend AirDroid thanks to its wonderful user interface. However, if you’re looking for the most remote control features that you can find anywhere, then Android Lost is the app that you want to install.
Control via SMS Messages with Agastya
Of course, a web browser isn’t the only way there is to control your Android phone remotely. If you left for work in the morning and forgot your phone on the bedside stand, you can prevent the phone from ringing and buzzing all day by sending an SMS message to it and silencing the phone, using the Agastya app.
Setup is as quick and simple as typing in your email address and choosing a 4 digit PIN number that you can use when you send an SMS message to your phone.
Following the special PIN, you then send the SMS command.
Commands include turning the phone’s ringer off and on, obtaining the last few text messages the phone received, obtaining the last 5 incoming phonecall numbers, or fetching contact information of someone in your phone’s contact list.
Control Your Android Via FTP Server
If FTP is your thing, you can control your Android phone via FTP as well (to some extent). Most FTP server apps for Android phones do nothing more than give you FTP access to the files and folders on your phone. FTPServer is a little bit different.
Once you install it on your phone, all you have to do is set up an ID, a password and a special port (greater than 1023) to access the phone via FTP. Once it’s running, you can FTP connect to the phone from anywhere on the local network (or you can set up port-forwarding on your router to FTP to it from outside your home network when your phone is at home).
Once you’ve established the FTP connection with your phone, you can do the usual file transfers to and from your phone, but you can also run a special “SITE SHUTDOWN” command that the developers included that lets you remotely shutdown your phone. It’s a cool hidden control feature most people wouldn’t even consider when shopping around for an Android FTP server app.
Turn Your Android Into a Remote IP Camera
The last app that is well worth mentioning when you’re talking about remotely controlling your phone is the ability to access the cameras, even when you don’t have physical access to your phone. One of the more useful and automated apps for this is IP Webcam.
Once you launch the IP Webcam software, you can set it up to only run in the background, and enable it to prevent the processor from going to sleep when the screen is off. And when you enable it to Stream on Device Boot, you’ve pretty much configured an automated, streaming IP camera.
You can access your phone remotely by going to the IP address of the camera, or setting up a sort of remotely accessible security camera system, that you can access from anywhere. The web interface once your IP camera app is running, gives you a long list of options for making use of the video stream coming from your phone.
You can stream it right in your browser using the Java plugin or your browser’s built-in video viewer, take a snapshot of the camera view, or you can configure it to stream to 3rd party apps like Skype.
There are endless uses for remotely accessing the camera on your phone. You can set it up as an ad-hoc spy device if you suspect your babysitter is stealing from you, run it as a home security system when you’re at work, or just to check in at home every now and then if you’re away and your teen children are home alone.
You never really know when or why you might need to remotely access and control your Android phone, but the apps above provide a wide array of choices depending on your needs. It all comes down to figuring out why you need to remotely control your phone, and then choosing the right app for the job.