Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength

Ben Stegner 14-09-2014

Smartphones and computers are awesome tools that can help you get a lot of work done 5 Procrastination Strategies to Become More Productive Read More . As technology grows even more powerful, the lines between them are being blurred, and you can use a phone to perform tasks that used to be possible only on your desktop, such as editing images Adobe Photoshop Express for Android: It's Free, But Is It Any Good? Photoshop is not just a strong brand. In the world of photo manipulation, it's pretty much the only brand. When your product's name becomes a verb ("photoshopping" images), that says something. But there's a reason... Read More and using an office suite Microsoft Office For Android vs. Google Docs: Which Is Better? Read More .


However, as advanced as mobile devices are, going back and forth between a phone and PC can be jarring, especially when you’re trying to share files between them (how many times have you emailed a file to yourself?) or text when you’re at your desk How to Text From Your Computer: 10 Apps to View and Send Text Messages Here's how to view and send text messages on your computer, whether you use Android or iPhone and Windows or Mac. Read More . If you’re someone who uses multiple devices like this, you’re going to love Pushbullet.

Getting Set Up

Heading to Pushbullet’s website will allow you to grab its app for all of your devices. This guide will focus on the Android version, since Pushbullet has the most functionality on it, but most of the advice also applies to its iOS counterpart. There is also a Windows program, though it’s currently in beta, and a Mac app is coming soon. Finally, there’s a Chrome extension and a Firefox add-on.


It seems like a lot to be running, but for best results, you should install the app on every device you own. At its core, Pushbullet is all about the easy transfer of information between all of your devices Transfer Files Quickly Across Your Devices Using Feem Android and Apple users enjoy the benefit of hassle-free file transfers. Unfortunately, the available apps have limited cross-platform functionality. Try Feem for Android, iOS, OS X, Linux, Mac and Windows. Read More , so the more you have tied together, the better. Note that the Chrome extension is prettier and slightly superior to the Firefox version, since it includes additional functionality that I’ll explain later.

On Android, after you install the app, you’ll have to sign in with your Google account; make sure to use the same one across every device you put Pushbullet on. Beyond signing in, all you’ll need to do is enable the notification mirroring service so that the app can function correctly. You’ll be walked through this in the setup, but in case you need to find it later, head to Settings > Security > Notification Access on your device, and make sure Pushbullet is enabled.



Now that Android is done, you just need to pick a browser on your desktop and install its appropriate extension. The steps are the same for iOS, Chrome, and Firefox: install it, open it, and sign in with the same Google Account. That’s it — now you’re using Pushbullet! Pushing to Android or iOS puts an entry into the notification bar, while Chrome gives an interactive bubble when it receives a push.


Basic Functions

Whenever you’re using one device and want to send what you’re working on to another, that’s where Pushbullet comes in. Let’s say you want to make yourself a quick note to text your coworker later, but you don’t have your phone handy. Simply open the Pushbullet extension, choose the destination device, and go!



As you see in the picture, you can actually choose what type of push to send. Your options are:


Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength 06 Pushbullet File Push1

  • List: Need something for your last-minute shopping trip? Type it up before you leave your computer, push it to your phone, and it will be ready for you when you need it. Once it’s been sent, you can check the individual boxes off.



When you’re pushing from Android, you’ll see a sixth item, Photo, but that’s just File made a bit more convenient by showing all of your photos.



Assuming you set everything up correctly and put all of your devices on the same Google account, when you push you’ll also be able to choose which device you want to send it to. You can even send it to every one you have registered if you like.


You can get doing most of the work through the extension, but if you visit the website, you can view all of your previous pushes and rename devices if you need to. You’ll likely want to check this after getting set up, since the default device names are probably ugly.


Finally, you can add friends to your Pushbullet account. Just enter their name and email after clicking the + Friend button under your devices, and they’ll get a link to join easily if they aren’t already a member.

The possibilities here are endless — instead of emailing or texting someone a link to a YouTube video, push it and it’s there waiting for them! Push a last-minute grocery list to your spouse, or send a ready-to-use address to your friends to direct them to your house. Experiment with this one!


Notification Mirroring

This is where Pushbullet starts to get even sweeter. Whenever you hear your phone go off, you’re not sure if it’s an annoying social media notification or an important text you need to respond to immediately. With Pushbullet, however, that worry is in the past. With some quick toggles, you can make the Chrome or Firefox extension display every notification that comes through your Android. The old way to do this How to Get Your Android Phone's Notifications on Your Desktop With Android Notifier Our Android phones are capable of more and more every day, and all of those apps generate a lot of notifications. Some of those notifications are ones that you would like to see, even if... Read More wasn’t as polished and required more complex setup.

This feature isn’t available on iOS yet, but the team is hard at work on implementing it. To make it happen, simply make sure that Notification Mirroring service is enabled on Android (which we covered in the beginning of this article), then head into the Chrome extension settings by clicking the Pushbullet icon, then Options. Once there, head to the Notifications tab.


You must have “Show my phone’s notifications on my computer” checked, and it will automagically sync. The other options are self-explanatory and up to your preference. Here’s what you should get when it’s done:

To test this on your own device, head into the Android app’s Settings. From there, go to Android-to-PC notification settings, where you’ll be able to send a test notification. If you see it in your browser, you’re good to go!


While in these settings, it’s a good idea to look into “turn on or off for specific apps” and disable any apps that you don’t want notifications for in your browser. For example, if you use a battery indicator app that has a persistent notification, you don’t want it popping up every ten seconds.


This is the same thing as clicking “Stop showing notifications” when a pop-up comes up; if you’ve accidentally clicked that at some point, you can fix it here.

Here’s what you’ll get in Chrome (or Windows) when you get a notification on your phone:


As you can see, Pushbullet allows you to respond quickly to text messages, too. It used to be limited to just a few SMS apps Text Better With These Alternative SMS Apps for Android Don't like your default SMS app? Try a new one! Read More , but the function should work with nearly all of them now. It’s a pretty basic composer, designed to fire off quick replies, but it’s quite handy and nice if you don’t want a full solution like AirDroid AirDroid - Send SMS, Share Links, Transfer Files & More [Android 2.1+] In the past, we have reviewed many apps that could make your Android phone even more spectacular. We do, in fact, have a great list of the best 100 Android apps we have encountered up... Read More .

If you’re getting sick of Pushbullet notifications, say while you’re watching a movie or playing a game full screen, you can snooze them. Head back into Chrome’s options, and right at the top you’ll see a big green button that lets you suppress all notices for an hour.


If an hour at a time isn’t enough for you, you can always disable the extension until you’re ready to start it up again. Also of interest here is the option to keep the extension running while Chrome is closed, which is awesome if you don’t want to leave your browser open but still want to be notified.

Finally, the last feature to take note of is that you can disable the notifications on your phone from Chrome! For instance, when a popup comes up alerting you that you have a new email, you can jump into the email on your PC and deal with it — you don’t need to leave that notification on your phone for later. When something like that pops up, click “Dismiss” and it will be banished from your phone! How cool is that?

If you ever need to doublecheck a notification that escaped you, head into Chrome’s notification center in your Notification Tray (bottom right corner of the Windows desktop), and you can review old pushes. Mac users, check your Notification Center 8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center With Mountain Lion came the introduction to the desktop of the familiar Notification Center, ported from its iOS origins. It’s brought even more unity between the desktop and mobile OS, and essentially replicates functionality that’s... Read More .


Pushbullet on Firefox and Windows

Earlier, I stated that the Chrome app can do more than its Firefox counterpart. You’ll still get a great experience from Pushbullet if you use Firefox, it just won’t be optimal. For starters, the only option that Firefox gives you is to turn off notifications completely. You can’t snooze them, mute the sound, or hide the body of the message. If you’re not a power user you might not mind, but it’s lame to have to put up with this somewhat inferior experience. A Firefox push looks like this:


Clicking on a text message pop-up will allow you to quick-reply, but you can’t dismiss it on your phone like in Chrome. Overall, it’s not a difference that will likely make you switch to Chrome, but it’s something to consider.

The Windows app adds another small layer of convenience to the service; you can use it to display notifications from your phone if you don’t want an extension running in your browser Stop Installing Browser Add-ons - For a Faster, Leaner Browser Use Bookmarklets Instead Read More , and it also allows you to change the screen position of its pop-ups. The coolest part about installing it is being able to add Pushbullet to your right-click menu Make Your File Context Menu More Useful With FileMenu Tools As Chris recently described, Windows has its fair share of annoyances. By far, one of those annoyances that bugs me the most is the file right-click menu. It's a beast that seems to change and... Read More so you can push files instantly — way faster than uploading them through the website if you do it all the time.

You’d think that Pushbullet’s bag of tricks would be empty by now, but there’s one more worth mentioning. With the Windows app and Android apps working together, you can enable the Universal Copy & Paste feature, which does exactly what it advertises. When you copy text on your PC, it will be on the clipboard of your phone, ready to go. Is this futuristic or what?

To get it running, just head into the settings once again on the Android app, and enable “Universal copy & paste” under Advanced Settings. In Windows, simply find Pushbullet in your Notification Tray, right click it, choose Settings, and check the “Universal copy & paste” box. That’s it — you’re all set!


Here’s a little twist: install an app that automatically shortens URLs on Android, like ShortPaste [No Longer Available], and whenever you copy a link on your PC, it will sync to your Android’s clipboard from Pushbullet and automatically shorten from the app! I discovered this accidentally, but it’s a sweet trick that is great for people who post links on social media frequently How To Track How Many Times Links Are Shared On Social Media With minimal digging, you can uncover all sorts of interesting social media statistics about any link on the Web. Read More .

Get Pushing

Isn’t Pushbullet amazing? That’s really the only word to describe it; that such a polished app fulfills a need and does it for free without advertising is mind-blowing. Pushbullet is constantly getting better, so it’s anyone’s guess what features will come next.

There’s even an IFTTT channel for Pushbullet, which gives hundreds more possible combinations. We’ve covered IFTTT numerous times, even with a full guide The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use the Web's Most Powerful Tool Like a Pro If This Then That, also known as IFTTT is a free web-based service to get your apps and devices working together. Not sure how to build your applet? Follow along with this guide. Read More  and an Android walkthrough Tasker and IFTTT: The Perfect Automation Duo For Android Tasker automates anything you can think of on your Android device and IFTTT automates Web services. Used together, there's nothing you can't do. Read More ; so you can check those out for more. IFTTT can also show you the most popular Pushbullet recipes for some inspiration.

If you don’t want to use Pushbullet for some reason, we’ve covered some other ways to move data around your devices 5 Ways to Transfer Data From PC or Laptop to Android Phone Need to move data from your laptop to your Android device? Here are some easy ways to transfer in no time at all. Read More , including using Bluetooth How to Connect Your Mobile to a PC Using Bluetooth Need to connect your mobile to a computer using Bluetooth? Here's how to set up a Bluetooth connection and transfer files. Read More .

Will you try out Pushbullet? What’s your favorite feature? Is there an app you like better? Speak out in the comments!

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  1. Den
    March 31, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I have just started to use Pushbullet and it is very useful. I have been looking for an option to pop up on my galaxy 4 android phone when the screen is in sleep mode just like on my computer when notifications pop up.
    If it can do this, can you point me in the right direction?

  2. Lisa Wang
    February 27, 2015 at 4:36 am

    How about the opposite? I don't like viewing websites from my phone, so I'd like to send the link to my PC. Emailing it is messy, and I usually end up maintaining a link_list.txt in dropbox for this purpose.

  3. matija
    September 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I have a problem with pb, if i activate it on my android, talkback is automatically activated as well. It's so annoying. It's turned off in the settings but it still works. To disable it, i have to manually force stop google text-to-speech engine every now and then. Any idea how to fix this?
    Still, it's a pretty cool app, new possibilities with every new update, can't wait to see what's next.

    • Ben S
      September 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      What device are you using? After doing some looking it seems like Samsung's TouchWiz has issues with any apps that use Accessibility features.

      Can you go to Settings > Apps > Talkback and disable it?

    • matija
      September 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Yes it's samsung, and i noticed many people have the same problem so it's a common thing. I found it in settings and it's disabled but somehow it finds a way to work even in that condition. Hope they find a solution to this problem.

    • The BFC
      October 31, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      I'm on a Samsung Rugby Pro and I'm experiencing a similar problem. I just disabled the TalkBack app but as soon as I hit my home screen, it was working again. I go into accessibility and turn it off and it turns right back on. No clue what to do next.

  4. Alexis C
    September 15, 2014 at 3:25 am

    This seems to be the answer to what I was meaing to look for :P
    thank you!

    • Ben S
      September 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Fantastic! I hope you love Pushbullet; it's a really useful service that's only getting better.

  5. Ben S
    September 14, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Ah, I see that there's an unofficial app. Are you using this one?

    How does it work out? Decent?

    • Devashish
      September 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

      Yes this one. But this app sucks. No push notifications and very slow. Uninstalled it in a couple of days.

    • Ben S
      September 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      That's a shame. I know Windows Phone users have issues with a lack of good, first-party apps, and Pushbullet seems like a service that wouldn't lend itself well to third-party versions like this. Hopefully the scene improves soon.

  6. JD
    September 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I have PushBullet on my Windows Phone, FYI.

  7. Doctor0710
    September 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I don't quite find this useful, not for my purposes. For Android I'd recommend Airdroid, though that is not available on iOS.

    • Ben S
      September 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Why don't you like it?

      I'm a fan of AirDroid too, but I'd put Pushbullet in a slightly different category. AirDroid is more of an "iTunes for Android," while Pushbullet is a sort of complimentary, day-to-day tool.

    • Doctor0710
      September 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      With AirDroid I get the feeling like I have my phone in front of me. Browse through files, upload, download stuff, initiate calls, write messages, even using the camera or locate the phone itself. With Pushbullet I feel like all I've got is see my notifications bigger. I rarely use notes, but Keep already does a good job of syncing that. I don't send links to my phone (what's the sense in reading a webpage smaller?), maybe sometimes to Pocket, for reading it offline. Sharing files is nice, but as far as I can see it is only through Internet (no local uploading), and that takes a lot of time in my country (limited to 1Mbps upload). Also the size limit is a bit frustrating too (25MB).

    • Ben S
      September 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      That's fair enough. I'm not upset you don't like it; just curious why.

      I love seeing my phone's notifications on my PC, so we have different feelings on it. But that's okay, not everyone has to like the same things!