How To Remote Control Your iPhone From Your Computer

Ads by Google

iphone remote controlThere are a number of apps in the Apple App Store that let you control your computer or a specific software using your iPhone. You can use your iPhone as a mouse, remote control iTunes with it and do a whole lot more. Such apps are fun to use simply by the virtue of the “awesomeness” factor.

Let’s just turn the tables a bit. How about an iPhone remote control app that lets you control your iPhone using your computer?  Especially if you bitten by the texting bug! Now you can type fast and do work on your laptop while having the iPhone open in a separate application on your computer. Interested? Let’s see how you can do it.


We are going to be using the iPhone as a VNC server. Apple, of course wouldn’t allow such a feat to be accomplished on their cherished device, so you won’t find any such application in the Apple App Store. However, you might be aware that another very popular platform exists where you can get free and paid apps that you won’t find on Apple’s App Store. I am talking about Cydia.

Before we proceed any further I must mention a disclaimer. Jailbreaking has recently been legalized in the United States but you might want to check your local laws if you are outside the United States. Also keep in mind that jailbreaking will void your Apple warranty.

Ads by Google

We need a jailbroken device for Cydia and we need Cydia for Veency which is the app that lets you connect to your iPhone remotely via VNC and thus control it from your computer. Veency is of course not the only app that jailbroken device owners might be interested in. There are lots of them available via Cydia that let you tweak your iPhone in ways no other app on the App Store would let you do.

Jailbreaking is easier than ever before with the latest app called jailbreakme. The actual process is however beyond the scope of our discussion here.

Installing Veency

  • Open Cydia on your iPhone. Let it download the packages and do its thing. Now go to search and look for Veency.

iphone remote control

  • Click or tap on Veency. You will be able to see details of the Veency Package. Browse through them to know more about it.
  • Once satisfied you can click the Install button towards the top right.
  • Cydia will ask for confirmation before proceeding and show you a summary of what will be changed

remote desktop iphone

  • Confirm and Veency will be downloaded and installed on your iPhone.

Using Veency

From a configuration point of view you only need to ensure that WiFi is switched on your iDevice before you can access it remotely. You will also need to know the IP address that gets assigned to your device. You already know this if you assigned it manually.

Else you can find the IP address assigned to your device by visiting Settings > General. Then click on the blue arrow next to WiFi network name and you should find your settings listed there.

remote desktop iphone

Accessing Remotely

Your iDevice now has a VNC server installed. So you should be able to connect easily using a VNC client. We have covered a number of them before. TightVNC stands out if you are on Windows. Download and install it from here. A portable version is also available if you are so inclined. Once that is out of the way, fire it up.

remote desktop iphone

Next up you need to enter the IP address we determined above. And confirm the VNC request:

Once you are connected you will be able to use your iPhone remotely via your computer.

iphone remote control

This is especially handy when typing long messages or accessing your iPhone in another room. There are certain downsides as well. Since you are using this with the mouse you won’t be able to replicate all the ground breaking gestures that make the iPhone so special.

I didn’t get the opportunity to test the setup with a magic mouse or magic trackpad. It would be interesting to know how things behave with these devices in the equation. Maybe some of you can let us know?

Ads by Google

16 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

jhpot

I’m going to try this. Can’t think of an instance it might be useful, personally, but I do think it would be a lot of fun.

skwerl

Being able to check in a room when you desire wi skyping unto your device on command would be nice. Half way around the world and your spouse suddenly vanishes or has some sort of health issue and you can’t reach them? Make sure they are alive maybe.

Reply

Anonymous

Since I use ssh to login remotely, not sure what advantages VNC will offer, will definitely give it a try.

Amaan 1996

SSH just lets you use the Terminal. Here it’s the GUI you’re going to be using through your computer.

Anonymous

Well I knew that difference, I was only talking about application. As the below post indicates, texting is probably one good application for some who does a lot of it. Also useful, if you must send an email from the iphone/ipad.

Varun Kashyap

It really depends on how you use your phone. If you do a lot of texting, then you can type the messages using your computer’s keyboard. You can be installing applications and checking your phone sitting in other room or even over the Internet. Again not something everyone does, but the possibilities are endless.

Reply

Josh Fox

There are actually some uses for this, since nobody’s mentioned any in the comments here. I haven’t found any easy ways to record a screencast natively on my iPod Touch, this could bring that to light. Maybe it’s just in my nature, but it could also be good for conducting pranks on an unsuspecting target.

Just an added note. SSH is remote access. VNC is remote USE.

Reply

Roger45365

Um your wrong. Myphonedesktop does mms photo sharing phone & phone calls from your computer. Its in the Apple App Store.

Reply

avian00

So in summary…

1) Jailbreak your iPhone (beyond the scope of this HowTo, but incredibly convoluted and error-prone).
2) Install whatever you want, including a VNC server via Cydia (ridiculously simple after you’ve Jailbroken).

Hate to be a snob, but I’m not sure this is such an amazing HowTo. Especially given Apple’s latest Firmware update broke the jailbreakme exploit.

Reply

avian00

So in summary…

1) Jailbreak your iPhone (beyond the scope of this HowTo, but incredibly convoluted and error-prone).
2) Install whatever you want, including a VNC server via Cydia (ridiculously simple after you’ve Jailbroken).

Hate to be a snob, but I’m not sure this is such an amazing HowTo. Especially given Apple’s latest Firmware update broke the jailbreakme exploit.

Reply

erikwithak84

tried it through magic track pad….. nope gestures don’t communicate.

Reply

Tehninjah

Eerm… use it with joypad? virtual keyboard? NO- Wait.

an app that controls a pc mouse. control one pc with another!

And freak your mates out!

Reply

John Howard

I wanted to have my iphone plugged in the stereo and change tunes etc. from my computer while working. This is perfect.

Reply

Raafat_ahmed

I liked that and tested it yesterday .. My only concern is the delay on my pc. I click an icon, I find it opened on the iPhone and maybe after 1or 2 seconds it opened on my desktop .. Any solution for that delay ?

Reply

Rafaqat Ali Ranjha

It does not type in the apps though it shows iphone on your computer. All the commands work but does not type into apps. Do i have any alternate to type into iphone through pc?

Reply

Kevin W. Mullet

I was desperate to remotely use my phone in a hurry, because we use WhatsApp for on-call urgent texting, and iPhone users are the only ones who don’t have access to the WhatsApp web client, presumably because API restrictions in IOS.

I got everything up in about five minutes. I’m on an iPhone 5C, Jailbroken, running IOS 8.1, and Veency 0.9.3500.

To the person who finds that they can only view their phone, VNC clients typically have both a ‘view’ and a ‘use’ mode.

I’m using my phone with My Macbook’s “Screen Sharing” app. To put it into ‘use’ mode, I had to go to View/Show Toolbar, then select the ‘control mode’ icon on the left (pointer with concentric waves) instead of the ‘observe mode’ (binoculars).

I don’t know if this is a function of what client I’m using or of Veency, but…
Left click is touch. Right click is home button. Mouse or Trackpad scroll does NOT translate to device scroll. You have to left-click touch and drag up or down to scroll on device.

My idle lock engaged when I was typing this, and I was able to touch the screen in VNC and type my screen lock code to get back in, so that’s nice.

I STRONGLY urge you, if you’re using Screen Sharing on OS X (or any other client that supports adaptive quality) to use adaptive quality to somewhat alleviate the sluggishness.

I’m not sure if I’d use this to project my phone for a demo. If there was enough typing involved, I might, because auto-correct is just damn maddening. If I didn’t, though, I’d connect my iPhone or iPad to my mac via my sync cable, go into QuickTime, Create new video, and select my device from the drop down to the right of the right of the record button. That lets me display my phone in QuickTime and/or record it, and the response time is much better. It’s strictly observe only, though.

Your comment