Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform may be in the past however, don’t be discouraged it’s still possible to enjoy the best Microsoft experiences on your smartphone. All you need is the right bedmate.
In the absence of Windows Phone from the scene, Microsoft has been devoting more of its energy to creating its own mini-platform inside the Google Android ecosystem. Given Android’s enormous versatility and customizable capabilities, this opens the way to some really exciting possibilities.
With the right set of applications, you can build a Windows-centric user experience for any Android device that includes everything from the apps you enjoy to the perfect phone-PC harmonies you desire.
1. Design the Windows-centered Android home screen
The heart of your Android configuration is the home screen, and the application that can transform that part of your screen into the hub of your Microsoft-Android experience is called the appropriately called Microsoft Launcher.
On the surface the Microsoft Launcher is a similar set of features as other Android launchers, including the standard tools to customize the appearance of the home screen, make gesture-based shortcuts, etc. Beyond that it also adds a significant amount from Microsoft into the equation, including a search engine powered by Bing as default, integrated access to a variety of Microsoft services, as well as prominently displaying recommended Microsoft applications.
There’s also the most unique feature of all: to left of the main home screen’s panel, Microsoft’s version of the classic Google Discover feed: a card-based library that contains things such as news or weather information, calendars and quick glances of your latest documents, notes, and tasks that are available from Microsoft services.
There are more phone-to-PC connectivity options later however, first, we’ll introduce another alternative option for your home screen for those who aren’t satisfied with the traditional Windows Phone look: try Square Home. The launcher, although not created by Microsoft it is a clone of tiles-centric “Metro UI” of the Windows Phone platform. You’ll lose the close connectivity to Microsoft services that are offered with the Microsoft Launcher, but if the interface of your phone is your primary concern then you may be content with the compromise (if you only want a touch of nostalgic weekend fun).
2. Establish your Windows-Android connection
Okay, you have your screen now ready with the help with Microsoft magic. Let’s now fully connect your computer to your mobile device to enjoy the full experience of Microsoft Android.
The first thing you’ll need to do is install and download your Microsoft Link to Windows app (formerly called Your Phone Companion) on your Android phone. Start it up and follow the instructions it offers to establish the connection to your mobile as well as the Windows computer. It will ensure that you’re signed into that same Microsoft account on both sides and ask for you to locate and connect the appropriate app for Windows to ensure everything is running smoothly on the PC side.
When you’ve completed all this and give a couple of appropriate permissions then you’ll be able to take care of a wide range of things directly from your smartphone on your Windows PC, including:
- Text messages sent and received
- Receiving and making calls
- Looking through photos from the past
- Change the volume on your phone and the ringer settings
- Checking your phone’s battery level and connectivity status
- Then turn the phone’s Bluetooth to on, or off
On a surprisingly limited subset of Android phones, such as Microsoft’s Surface Duo and a handful of new Samsung Galaxy flagships, you can also wirelessly transfer data between your device and computer and open apps on your phone to your PC.
Why are these options restricted to a tiny number of products? There’s no reason to believe this is the reason. It’s probably a case of Microsoft earning extra cash by limiting these features exclusively to their own phones, and also the ones that are part of an agreement between it and Samsung.
Perhaps that might change someday but for now, at the very least, it’s the way it’s been. We are able to say that we have Microsoft in the credit for this limitation.
3. Create the Windows-Android clipboard sync
It’s a bit confusingly hidden and distinct in it’s sister app, the Link to Windows app, however, Microsoft offers a simple method to connect the clipboard of your Android smartphone’s clipboard with your PC and allow you to transfer text between both systems.
The key is located in the SwiftKey keyboard application which Microsoft purchased in the year 2016 it has slowly but steadily stamping its mark since then. After you have installed SwiftKey on your smartphone and have completed the initial setup process you’ll need to locate and turn on the clipboard sync option:
- Tap the horizontal menu icon on the upper-right corner of your keyboard.
- Click “Settings,” then “Rich input,” and finally “Clipboard.”
- Switch the toggle next to “Sync clipboard history” into the on position.
And then go to your Windows computer:
- Launch Windows Settings. Open the Windows Settings app.
- Select “System” and then “Clipboard.”
- Make sure that the toggles between “Clipboard history” and “Sync across devices” are on.
Remember that you’ll have to log in with that same Microsoft account for each of SwiftKey as well as Windows. When you do then, you’ll notice that whatever you copy from one device will appear and be available for you to copy onto the keyboard of the other device for a period of time, it will be available in the clipboard history section if there is one and thereafter. From there.
4. Make the most and power of Microsoft’s Android browser
To have the best similar to Microsoft’s framework for Google-powered web browsing it is recommended to install the Microsoft Edge official Microsoft Edge Android application.
The Android Edge browser allows you to make it simple to transfer information between your smartphone and your PC. Beyond that it also automatically syncs your favorites, history, and collections, and has a built-in feature for saving content to read later. So it is possible to seamlessly change between devices as working.
5. Access the Microsoft Storage on Android
Microsoft’s OneDrive is built into Windows and, with just two presses, it is integrated on your Android device, too. Install the OneDrive app to enjoy simple access to your files no matter the location you’re in.
6. Install the Office/Microsoft365 suite on Android
Microsoft’s Office applications (now named Microsoft 365 applications) available on Android have made significant progress. Nowadays, Android versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available as individual downloads as well in a complete Office (Microsoft 365) suite and are highly functional elegant, well-designed, and easy to use. If you already reside in Microsoft’s Microsoft world, these apps will offer you an experience that is completely identical using your desktop software and allow you to work on your files on any device, without conversions or altering.
(Note that you’ll require an active Microsoft 365 subscription to be capable of using the full capabilities of these apps, and also to utilize the editing features on any mobile device with a large screen.)
Don’t ignore you can use Outlook along with OneNote are also available on Android. If you’re currently using one of the applications for Your Windows computer, you’ll be happy to have it on your Android phone, too.
7. Transform your Android phone into a Windows authentication key
Let your life be a bit more simple and let your mobile become the primary password to your Windows computer by using the Microsoft Authenticator application. The Authenticator app can be used as an ordinary two-factor authentication code generator, but it can allow you to bypass entering your Microsoft password completely and instead allow you to access your personal computer by unlocking the phone and then entering the password. notification.
8. Think about other advantages and disadvantages of Microsoft Android
The apps mentioned above and the how-tos are among the most essential elements of the Microsoft-Android puzzle, however, Microsoft offers other noteworthy products that are worth your time:
- If you’re a person who has to scan paper whiteboards or documents frequently and often, the Microsoft Lens app can handle the job. It will crop and tidy up these snapshots, and save them to PDFs Word documents, and PowerPoint documents — either in OneNote as well as OneDrive or even locally on your device’s storage.
- The app isn’t necessarily the most comprehensive to-do application for Android However, Microsoft To-Do offers the distinct benefit of being able to sync with Microsoft’s ecosystem, including the app with the same name on Windows.
- Are you looking to translate languages without relying on Google? Microsoft Translator is ready to greet you with a smile.
- And lastly If you’re all-in with Microsoft Bing, it’s the Microsoft Bing app ensures that Microsoft’s complete search configuration is always one click away. It’s the closest thing you can discover to the self-described Google application that is installed on the majority of Android devices straight out from the box.