Microsoft has been working towards integrating and syncing the Android ecosystem with its Windows ecosystem. They entered into a partnership with Samsung. Then launched the Phone Link (Link to Windows on Android) app, previously known as Your Phone Companion. Later, Windows Subsystem for Android was released so you could run Android apps right on Windows PC. With so much happening, we thought it would be a good idea to make a list of all the Windows apps for Android users to help them with keeping their data in-sync across the two platforms.
1. Link to Windows and Phone Link
One of the most important apps for Windows and Android users would be the Link to Windows (Android) and Phone Link (Windows) apps. Simply scan the QR code from your Android phone that’s displayed on your Windows computer, and you can now call, message, and check notifications of your phone right on your PC.
Other features include accessing the audio player to listen to audio/media files stored on your phone on PC, enable/disable DND mode, and view images stored on the phone.
If you own Galaxy S series Samsung phone, you can also access apps that are installed on your Android phone right on your Windows computer screen. The feature is available on select models only for now. This also allows you to drag-n-drop files between the two devices as you can now open storage apps like Gallery and File Manager.
2. Microsoft To Do
One of the best to-do apps right now, Microsoft To Do does it all. You can create tasks, subtasks, lists, and groups to create elaborate projects and color code them. The you can add notes, attach files, and set different types of reminders like time, date, and location too. And finally there is support for natural language and Cortana of course. The UI is beautiful and functional. There are plenty of hidden tips and features that you will find.
For example, you can use #hashtags anywhere across the app. Now, when you search for that hashtag, you will find all tasks irrespective of which list they belong to. To Do search is already powerful but this makes life easier. The Windows desktop and web app are equally good.
3. Microsoft Office
The gold standard of office apps since the dawn of the internet. Long before there are Google Drive suite of apps, there was Microsoft Office. Word, Excel, PowerPoint need no introduction. These apps are available on both Windows and Android and sycn everything you have stored there. I have written entire articles on my smartphone using Word.
The primary difference between Office and Drive is that the former offers much more control and features. The latter takes a web and mobile first approach with collaboration and ease of use in mind. While Office offers way too many features making it the default choice for pro and advanced users.
4. Microsoft Launcher
There are so many amazing launchers available in the Android world. There is Nova, Apex, and then there is Microsoft Launcher. Microsoft Launcher pales in comparison in you are looking for extreme customizations. But it has some good tricks up its sleeve.
One cool feature that you will not find in any other launcher is deep integration with MS apps. Wink, wink. You can access Sticky Notes that you created on your Windows desktop right on your Android phone’s home screen. Just swipe right to access all the widgets. There is no dedicated Android app for Sticky Notes. It is integrated into OneNote mobile so you can’t add widget on another launcher.
Other features include your daily dose of wallpapers (Bing is known to lead the image search space), gesture support, dark theme, and more. Sadly, Timeline was a good feature that was poorly executed and had to be deprecated ultimately.
5. Microsoft Lens
Microsoft Office comes with an-built lens feature as you would have noticed in the screenshot above too. And it is really good for scanning docs and images to PDF, Word, Excel,, QR codes, etc. But it is worth having Microsoft Lens app on your smartphone.
That’s because it offers some additional scanning functionalities like reading contacts or visiting cards, business cards, scan text in different languages, translate, and then read them aloud, and finally the whiteboard which is super useful if you are a student or teacher.
6. Microsoft 2FA
I cannot stress the importance of 2FA or two-factor authentication in this day and age. Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated by the day and 2FA adds an additional layer of protection over and above a hard to guess password and email id. While Google Authenticator has ruled the charts for like ever, Microsoft Authenticator does offer some cool features.
You can use it to sign in to your Windows computer without entering the password. Simply approve the notification sent to your phone and you are done. The app also generates an OTP that refreshes every 30 second which is the standard in all 2FA apps.
Finally, it doubles as a password manage where you can also store payment details, addresses, and verified IDs.
Note: No authenticator app allows taking in-app screenshots for security and privacy reasons. Hence, check the download link below to get a feel of the UI.
7. Remote Desktop
Microsoft also has a remote desktop app that is not as popular as some of its other Windows apps for Android users. However, it is nonetheless an important tool for your arsenal.
Once you have set up your Windows computer, simply enter hostname ony our Android phone in the Remote Desktop app and you should be ready. You can control the mouse, mic and camera, and even clipboard remotely. Useful when troubleshooting issues or when you want to show what you have been working on.
8. Edge Browser
The last but not the least, Edge browser is the perfect replacement for slow and laggy Chrome browser. I recently compared some of the best browsers for Windows 10 and 11 and Edge did fairly well. One of the reasons why Windows and Android users should it is because it syncs well between the two devices.
You can also continue where you left from your phone on your computer which makes reading articles fun and easy. Apart from regular features like dark mode, ad blocker that other browsers except Chrome offers, sync, incognito, etc., Edge also helps find deals and discounts while shopping and suggests coupon codes to help save money.
Windows Apps for Android Users
As Windows continues to integrate Android into its ecosystem, we continue to find features making their way to our lives. It is a shame that Windows Phone wasn’t a success as that would have made things much simpler. But still, it is good to see that Microsoft is paying attention and working towards a more synchronized desktop-mobile user experience.