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Continuity Alternative: 5 Best Windows Programs for Android

Ben Stegner 06-03-2018

While you’re free to use whatever OS you prefer, there are tons of benefits to staying in one ecosystem. Perhaps nobody knows this better than Mac and iPhone users, who enjoy Continuity, FaceTime, AirDrop, and more.


But what about the world’s most popular desktop OS, Windows, and the most popular mobile OS, Android? Even though they aren’t made by the same company, you’ll find tons of apps to connect them. Here’s how to make your computer and phone work better together.

1. Chrome, Firefox, Edge: Sync Browser Data

Safari is the default browser on macOS and iOS, and it provides several cross-platform benefits. But you can get many of those same perks using your browser of choice.

Install Chrome, Firefox, or even Microsoft Edge on your Android phone, and you can take advantage of their continuity features. This includes syncing your bookmarks, history, open tabs, autofill info, and more.


Open Chrome on your PC and click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner. Choose Settings and under People, make sure you have Sync enabled. You can select Sync to remove some types of data. If you don’t see the option, you need to sign into Chrome with your Google account first.

best windows programs for android


Then, on your phone, open Chrome and tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right. Tap Settings and then select your name at the top of the list. Make sure you’re signed into Chrome with the same Google account, and all your information will sync.

best windows programs for android

Download: Google Chrome for Android (Free)


On your PC, open Firefox and click the three-bar Menu button in the upper-right. Choose Options and then click the Firefox Account tab on the left. Here, you can create or sign into a Firefox account if you haven’t done so already. Once you’re logged in, choose what you want to sync.


best windows programs for android

Then, on your phone’s Firefox app, tap the three-dot Menu button and choose Settings. Tap Sign in at the top and log into your Firefox account to get everything synced up.

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Download: Firefox for Android (Free)



If you prefer to use Microsoft’s new browser This Is What Microsoft Edge Is Good For Microsoft Edge is way better than Internet Explorer. It's time to become browser agnostic. We'll show you the unique features that make Edge worth using, even if it's not your main browser. Read More on Windows 10, you can pair it up with your phone too.

Open Edge on your PC, click the three-dot Menu button and select Settings. On this menu, look for the Account header. Make sure your Microsoft account email is here and the Sync your favorites slider is on.

best windows programs for android

Then, install Edge on your phone, tap Sign in, and log into your Microsoft account. If you already had Edge installed, tap the three-dot Menu button in the bottom-right corner of the browser and tap Sign in.


Once you’ve connected your Microsoft account, you can also choose to sync your saved passwords, which requires verification. While convenient, we recommend that you don’t save passwords in your browser and instead save them in a dedicated password manager like LastPass. Even without syncing passwords, Edge will sync your Favorites and Reading List.

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If you want to push links from your phone to your PC, you’ll need to sync your phone to Windows. Open the Settings app in Windows 10, then select the Phone entry. Click Add a phone and enter your phone number. You’ll receive a text with a link to download Microsoft Launcher, which is a solid replacement How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone It's honestly surprising how many Microsoft apps are available for Android -- and they're really good! Read More . It’s not required to use, though; once you’ve linked your phone you’re ready to send links via Edge.

Tap the Send button on the bottom bar and choose your computer to send the link. You can also tap Continue later to send a notification instead.

Download: Microsoft Edge for Android (Free)

2. Pushbullet: Sync Notifications and Share Files

Syncing your browser takes care of a lot, but Pushbullet fills in some gaps of your Android-Windows continuity. This app allows you to easily share pictures, documents, and other files between your devices. It also mirrors your notifications so you can see what’s happening on your Android without ever picking up your phone How to Stop Checking Your Phone by Replacing It With Your Computer Device hopping between your computer and phone? Losing your time, focus, and mind? Set up your computer as the main device with these simple tips and cut away the distractions. Read More .

Head to Pushbullet’s website and create an account to get started. You can use the browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, or install the Windows app if you’d prefer. After you have an account, install the Pushbullet app on your phone and sign in.

From there, check out our guide to using Pushbullet Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Find out how you can keep your Android perfectly synced with your PC -- push your phone's notifications to your desktop, share files, and much more! Read More for full instructions. You can share links and files instantly, reply to messages, view your notifications, and more. Pushbullet offers a Pro plan, but the free version should be enough for most people. If you need Pro features but don’t want to pay, try one of the best free alternatives The 7 Best Free Alternatives to Pushbullet Mad that Pushbullet is suddenly expensive? Don't worry, there are plenty of free alternatives. Read More .

Download: Pushbullet for Android | Chrome | Firefox | Windows (Free)

3. Pulse or MightyText: Text From Your PC

You have plenty of options for Android keyboards What Is the Best Alternative Keyboard for Android? We take a look at some of the best keyboards in the Play Store and put them to the test. Read More , but they all pale in comparison to typing on a real keyboard. Thus, if you’re at your computer, it doesn’t make sense to pick up your phone to reply to a message. While Pushbullet lets you respond to texts, the free plan limits you to 100 messages per month.

The best two dedicated apps for texting on PC are Pulse SMS and MightyText. We’ve already claimed Pulse as one of the best SMS apps for Android Text Better With These Alternative SMS Apps for Android Don't like your default SMS app? Try a new one! Read More .

While it’s totally free without ads, you can pay a small fee to access your messages from a browser extension/website, plus Android tablets, Android Wear, and more. This costs $1/month, $2 for three months, $6/year, or $11 for a lifetime subscription. If you text from your PC regularly, this is a no-brainer.

If you don’t like Pulse for some reason, give MightyText a try. Like Pulse, it lets you send and receive texts on your PC. The free plan has a limit of 150 messages per month, which isn’t much for heavy texters. Upgrading to Pro removes this limit and gives you access to many more features, but it’s a hard sell at a whopping $80 per year.

If you can’t pay, the 250 combined messages per month from Pushbullet and MightyText might get you by. But we think the relatively low price for a lifetime of Pulse messages is definitely worth the cost.

Download: Pulse SMS for Android | Chrome | Firefox | Web (Free)
Download: MightyText for Android | Windows | Chrome | Web (Free)

4. Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive: File Access

While Pushbullet is great for quickly sharing a file you need right away, it isn’t a true cloud storage solution. For that, you should create an account with a popular cloud storage platform like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or similar.

There’s no right or wrong choice here Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You? Have you changed the way you think about cloud storage? The popular options of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive have been joined by others. We help you answer which cloud storage service should you use. Read More ; whichever you prefer is fine.

Google Drive gives you the most free storage at 15GB, while OneDrive is best integrated with Windows A Quick Guide to OneDrive in Windows 10 Can OneDrive replace Google Drive or Dopbox? It depends. To help you decide, we'll tell you all about OneDrive's best features and how to set it up. Read More . Download the app for your platform on both Windows and Android, create a few folders, and you’ll have access to your most important files anywhere you go. Conveniently, many of the best Android backup apps How to Back Up Your Android Device Properly Here's how to completely back up your Android device by protecting your photos, SMS, contacts, and everything else. Read More let you back up to your cloud storage.

Plus, all three of these apps have automatic photo backup capabilities How to Backup Photos from a Mobile Device It's never fun when your phone breaks and you lose all your photos -- but that never has to happen again! Learn how to backup your photos quickly and easily. Read More , ensuring that you’ll never lose a precious picture again.

Download: Dropbox for Android | Windows (Free)
Download: Google Drive for Android | Windows (Free)
Download: OneDrive for Android | Windows (Free)

5. Cortana: Notifications

While it’s a similar feature set to Pushbullet, Windows 10 offers built-in notification syncing with Android now. It only requires that you sign into your PC with a Microsoft account and download the Cortana app on your phone. This lets you get call, app, and low battery notifications, as well as quick replies for text messages.

We’ve covered everything about using Cortana to sync your Android notifications.

Download: Cortana for Android (Free)

Don’t Forget Microsoft’s Excellent Android Apps

best windows programs for android

If you love Microsoft’s apps on your PC, you’re in luck on Android too. While these apps don’t offer tons of continuity between Android and Windows, they provide familiar interfaces and let you access your account files (where applicable).

We’ve written all about the great Microsoft apps available for Android How Android Became My New Windows Phone Sad to see the death of Windows Mobile? Well, maybe all you need is an Android device. Read More . If you want your mobile experience to approximate what you use on your PC, give them a try.

Windows and Android Share a Heartbeat

With these apps, you can sync up notifications, files, messages, and browser data between your phone and PC. That’s nearly everything important on your device that you can access using your keyboard and big screen. Don’t be jealous of Mac and iPhone users — you can do basically everything they can!

Use many computers? Check out the best ways to sync your bookmarks across every device 5 Xmarks Alternatives to Sync Bookmarks Across Devices and Browsers Wish you could sync your bookmarks across all devices and browsers? Here are the best Xmarks alternatives to use. Read More .

Related topics: Dropbox, File Sharing, Google Chrome, Google Drive, Microsoft Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft OneDrive, Mozilla Firefox, SMS.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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