Can I Control a Phone with My Computer? [Android]

Control Phone With Computer Intro   Can I Control a Phone with My Computer? [Android] Can you control your smartphone using only your computer? The answer is a resounding YES. The real question is: how much of your smartphone can you control? As I sat down to write this article, I had no clue what the answer to that question was, and to my surprise, the answer is quite a lot.

From texts and call logs to full blown mouse-and-keyboard input, we can actually do much more than you might expect.

MightyText

The first Android remote control app I used is MightyText and I must say… wow. This app can be summarized rather succinctly: send and read SMS messages through your Android phone by using a computer or tablet. Seems simple enough, right? Yet for something so easy, I’m blown away by how practical it is AND how polished the final product looks.

MightyText is a web app that stays in sync with your phone through a wireless connection. In order for it to work, you need to install the MightyText app on your phone and sign in using a Google account. As the app runs silently in your phone’s background, the web app (which you access using a simple URL) updates on the fly when you receive new texts.

android control mightytext   Can I Control a Phone with My Computer? [Android]

With MightyText, you can browse your texts in two modes: Classic (selecting one conversation at a time) or Power (viewing all of your conversations at once in a grid). As you receive new texts, you’ll see popup notifications. Sending a message is easy as well; all you need to do is type away and press Send. You can even add attachments for those messages that transcend text.

The web app is beautiful and very responsive, so much so that I just feel cozy using it. The remote control portion of MightyText (the web app, basically) is available as a Chrome extension, Firefox addon, and an Android Tablet app. The regular web app works on IE, Safari, iPads, and Kindle Fires. Opera support is on its way.

LazyDroid

LazyDroid is named for those of you who are apparently so lazy that you can’t be bothered to go and physically grab your phone. I’m okay with that though; it describes me rather well. But on a more serious note, LazyDroid is really cool. All you have to do is install the app onto your Android phone and run it in the background while your phone has Internet access.

The app will tell you the “server IP” of LazyDroid on your phone, but don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Just type that IP and port (it should be in a form similar to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:xxxxx) into your browser and you will be presented with something that looks like a full-blown desktop. This is where all of the magic happens.

android control lazydroid   Can I Control a Phone with My Computer? [Android]

From this desktop, you can control many different aspects of your phone: SMS, contacts, call logs, camera, sensors, file manager, or even direct remote control of the device. Just be sure to note that remote control requires your Android to be rooted. By default, the web app connects to your phone through a wireless connect, but LazyDroid has a USB client that you can use if you want a direct connection (less lag).

The LazyDroid app isn’t exactly free. You can use it without limit for 24 hours, but once the trial is over you’re stuck between using the limited version OR upgrading to premium which costs $4.00 USD.

Android Screencast

Android Screencast is a small hobby project that lets you remote control your Android phone through the Android SDK. We have an article that will help you set up the Android SDK; just scroll down to the section called Setting Up Your PC… and you’ll be good to go. The Android SDK is what grants your PC control of your Android device when the USB is plugged in.

android control screencast   Can I Control a Phone with My Computer? [Android]

With Android Screencast, you can: control your device completely using mouse and keyboard (rooted devices only); record the screen to video while you use your phone; browse your phone’s file system effortlessly. What are the downsides? Well, since it’s a small hobby side project, it isn’t very optimized or polished and you’ll experience some hiccups.

All in all, it shows some promise but needs a bit of work done before I’d consider switching to it. Just know that it’s out there and it may turn into a real project sooner or later. Requires Java Runtime Environment 5 or higher to operate correctly.

Conclusion

So can you control your phone from your computer? Yes, you can. The technology may still be primitive with a number of flaws and missing features, but give it a year or two. Current developers will break new ground and other developers will start their own competing apps, all resulting in better remote control for our phones. Whether remote phone control is necessary is a topic for another time.

Know of any other remote control apps for Android? Please share them in the comments. This is an area that I wasn’t aware existed until a few days ago, so researching all of these possibilities has been a blast. I’d love to hear about other alternatives.

Image Credits: Hands on Keyboard Via Shutterstock

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27 Comments -

Mowy

DroidVNC… works like a charm. Its quick, its light and you just need any vnc client.

Louis

What about AirDroid 2? I don’t even have an android phone and I would totally use it if I did.

Spencer Partridge

LazyDroid is now called 3CX Remote Android Desktop if you are looking for it in the Play Store

zoroz

AirDroid is the best all-round solution, and looks great.

Krzysztof Buzko

I don’t see any adventages of controling my phone from pc….

wtf

You dont have a job do you?

Krzysztof B

I have a fulltime job. What is the link between these two ?

barney

So, I have to give up my ID or break existing law for remote access? I’ll pass, thank you very much.

JonasEikeland

For some devices you can also use TeamViewer, just download TeamViewer for you PC for free, and download TeamViewer QS (Quick Support), sync them together, and you’ll be good to go

Paulo Bernardo

I use MightyText, but i’m gonna try LazyDroid. It looks kinda good.

Jean-Michel A

Great idea but i like this product better i won’t have to do any manipulation not majorly and it is fully interconnected with your PC http://www.j5create.com/our-products/android/juc600.html

Joe

I absolutely love Mightytext. I have been using it since the beta days back when another tech site did a promo for it and gave out beta keys. It has come a LONG way since then. Used to be you can only use it through the Google chrome add on but now you can use the web interface and it has gotten many facelifts including a recent one that will sync your pics for you as well when you take them. The other options you suggested sound great as well but I don’t need that much control. Mightytext has definitely saved me tons of time allowing me to respond within seconds instead of having to pick up your phone and type out a reply which can take a lot longer. Add that up over the few years its been out and I know its saved me hours of wasted time.

vineed g

wow amazing apps ,,,thanks for sharing :D

bee

great article. missed airdroid, but i love these types of posts: introducing me to new things, and being original (not some summary from another website.) Thanks MUO!

Aqil Nazeer

ausome

Aqil Nazeer

boys

Aqil Nazeer

sony

Aqil Nazeer

time

Aqil Nazeer

awsome

e

you forgot airdroid

Hisham Sliman

Does the LAZYDROID work if the phone is stolen so we can capture the phone’s location or get a picture of the person who took it???

RJ

Have you tried soti.net

RJ

have you tried soti.net ??

ralph

I use WonderShare Mobilego

Sunil Jangir

Airdroid is complete solution.

wendy

SlickManage does a great job of managing multiple phones from a single website.
All you have to do is install the app on all your android devices and you get to control them all from your computer! it’s pretty neat.

Stephanie

My phone screen is completely broken so I’m trying to recover some files e.g photographs, will the third programme allow me to do this without touching my phone and just having it plugged in via USB?