Greetings from the developers and marketers of the Your Phone app!
Back in August, Microsoft and Samsung shared a vision for the future of productivity at their Galaxy Unpacked event in New York City. What was particularly exciting for us was the announcement that the new Samsung Galaxy Note10 phones would include native integration with Your Phone app via the Link to Windows feature. More recently, we released the Calls feature – a top Insider request that enables you to make calls on your PC. (More about that in a moment.)
With this article, we wanted to share a few highlights of how feedback from Windows Insiders has helped evolve Your Phone app to where it is today—and how that feedback is helping shape future updates.
If you’re new to the app, you’ll want to give it a try: Your Phone app provides you with instant access to your Android phone’s apps, notifications, texts, and photos on your PC. No need to dig for your phone to check notifications, schedule a ride to the airport, or even text. And you can finally stop emailing yourself photos. (Check our support page for set-up tips.)
Insiders get a first look
We originally introduced the Your Phone app to our Insider community in a Windows 10 Insider Preview last August. Back then, the app was focused on photos. Android could users to drag and drop photos from their phone to PC and then copy, edit, or ink on a photo, right from their PC.
For this initial launch, the plan was to roll out some basic preview functionality to Insiders, iron out bugs, then release to the general public. But would enough Insiders use the app to give us the feedback we needed?
As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about. Insiders jumped at the opportunity. Even better, they tried Your Phone app across an amazing variety of devices. This quickly provided the kind of real-world usage data that we needed for a broader rollout. A few weeks later, we were able to release the app publicly with the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
Text messaging, notifications and more!
The team continued to move fast. Just shortly after our first public release, we were ready to introduce another cool, new feature to Insiders: the ability to view, send, and receive SMS text messages from their Android devices to their computers. Better yet, users could give their thumbs a break and text from a PC using their keyboard, pen, even dictation.
Texting also happened to be a top Insider request. Based on our many feedback channels, they loved the new feature—and wanted even more. Top requests included support for multimedia (MMS) messages and Emojis. Insiders also wanted to provide the option to reply inline to text messages directly from a toast notification. We got right down to work, adding all this and more—which you can now find in current versions of the app.
Along with text messages, Insiders were also interested in seeing their Android phone’s notifications on their PCs. Done! What’s more, we set it up so a user could control and manage exactly which apps on they wanted notifications from.
Another top-requested feature: mobile data sync. Before this update, a mobile device would need to be connected to Wi-Fi network to sync data using Your Phone app. Now, users can sync photos, messages, and notifications over mobile data as well.
Your Phone hits the big screen
As we fine-tuned the app, we had another exciting new feature up our sleeve: Phone screen. With Phone screen, you could now mirror your Android phone’s screen directly on your PC, giving you access to your apps while using your keyboard and mouse, or touch screen.
Phone screen was a particularly complex feature, so we decided on a gradual roll out. This gave us time to address bugs along the way and provide even better to experience to our broader Insider base.
For example, we heard from some Insiders that latency was an issue on certain devices, specifically with gestures between the PC and phone. Great feedback! Today, we now have a much more responsive experience. We also heard loud and clear that Insiders wanted support for more devices. Shortly after launching Phone screen, we announced Phone screen support for even more Samsung devices. (By the way: Note10 is the first device to introduce the Phone screen feature natively. Note10 users will be first to try out multi-touch gestures such as pinch to zoom, rotate, or swipe from their PC’s touchscreen while using Phone screen. Other devices are set to follow later in the year.)
Along the way, we also integrated notifications with Phone screen (and, yes, Insiders asked for this as well), allowing you to interact with your notifications using your keyboard and mouse. If Phone screen is set up, your Notifications will open in Phone screen. (If Phone screen is not supported or set up, you will be taken to the Notifications feed instead.)
Answer phone calls on your PC
One of the top-requested features (by far!) from our Insider community has been the ability to make and receive mobile calls directly from a PC. We first announced that we were working on this capability at the Samsung Unpacked event–and now it’s available for Insiders to try!
With the Calls feature, there’s no need to dig for your Android phone to answer your personal or work calls. You can now stay connected by simply answering (or not) your phone calls on your PC. With the Calls feature you can:
- Answer incoming phone calls on your PC.
- Initiate phone calls from your PC using in-app dialer or contact list.
- Decline incoming phone calls on your PC with custom text or send directly to your phone’s voicemail.
- Access your recent call history on your PC. Clicking on a specific call will auto populate the number within the dialer screen.
- Seamlessly transfer calls between your PC and phone.
The Calls feature is available on all Insider Preview builds in the Fast (20H1) and Slow (19H2) rings. It’s also available to Insiders on the latest, public release of Windows 10 Version 1903. (OS Build 18362.356 or newer). Just sign into the app with the same Microsoft account that you used to register for the Windows Insider Program. Check these set up tips for more details.
More to come
What many Insiders don’t realize is just how closely engineering teams like ours check Insider feedback. We are continually monitoring all feedback, producing regular reports that help shape and prioritize our product roadmap.
It’s also worth noting that this feedback comes in from around the world, in multiple languages. This has been particularly important for the Your Phone app as we continue to build support for a myriad of device scenarios. That includes support for dual SIM devices—an update driven by feedback from Insiders in Europe.
Now that you know just how influential Insider feedback can be, we hope you’ll continue to provide more insights and suggestions in the Feedback Hub. One tip: when leaving feedback, make sure to tell us which mobile device you’re using. It’ll help us develop even more features optimized to your specific needs—for an even better Your Phone app experience.