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How to Use Your Smartphone to Remote View Your Desktop

Updated on June 25, 2010

Have you ever left the house and remembered that you forgot to shut down the computer? What happens if you leave for a week-long vacation and realize that your computer is still playing YouTube videos on a loop? In order to correct these situations, you would need to remotely access your computer. There are lots of guides on the internet about how to connect to your computer from another computer, but not that many that explain how you can use your smartphone such as your iPhone or Android phone to view your desktop as if you were sitting in front of it. When you're on another computer, you can simply log in with a remote viewing program. The idea is similar for your phone: you download an application that can be used to view your computer.

The Setup

In order to access your computer itself, you will need to download a program known as LogMeIn. This program is very well known, and highly recommended as one of the best remote viewing clients. The program will actually allow you to view your computer from any computer that has access to the internet, but this article is going to focus on your smartphone.

First, go to http://www.logmein.com/ and create a new account. It is simple, free, and takes about five minutes. The link above is for the free product, which I will be focusing on here. If you prefer to have extra features, you can purchase the Pro product for your computer. Once you have activated your account, download the software and install it on the computer you wish to have remote access to.

When you download the software, you actually get the pro version for a few weeks until the "trial" expires. But don't worry, you can still do everything with the free version.

Once the program is running on your computer, you need to let it stay running in the background. Don't worry, it doesn't take up hardly any resources at all until you actually connect to it.

Now, everything is done on that computer's end. You will notice that you can connect to your computer from any web browser by logging in at logmein.com and selecting your computer (as long as it's turned on).

But this focus of this article is accessing it from your smartphone, so that is what we will do now. Here is where you may need to fork over some cash. After all, the company has to make money somehow.

iPhones and iPads

If you own an iPhone or iPad, the bad news is you will need to pay $29.99 for the remote viewing application. It is called LogMeIn Ignition and you can either search for it in the App Store or find it here: https://secure.logmein.com/US/products/ignition/iPhone/

Once you download it, run the program and log in with the details you provided as well as the security code and computer log in information. You will be connected to your desktop, and will notice that you can browse around, move files, get on the internet, etc.

View from an iPad logged on to a Windows 7 computer
View from an iPad logged on to a Windows 7 computer

Android

If you own an Android-powered phone like the Droid, Nexus Once, etc., the news is kind of murky. Right now (6/2010) I was able to download a beta (still in testing) version of the LogMeIn Ignition application for free. I'm not sure how long that will last, however, before it switches to a paid application. But as of the writing of this article, you can do a search in the market for LogMeIn Ignition, download it, and log in with your details. Rumors are circulating that it will switch to being a paid app soon, so be prepared to have to pay eventually.

So there you have it: access your computer from a smartphone. It's not difficult, but it will probably cost money, like all good things in life.


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      liam murray 6 years ago

      If you own a smartphone chances are you can login online on your smartphones browser but I'm not sure

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      blaine 5 years ago

      Can you access files and print them from remote locations with a printer app (seperate app)

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      Sabrina 2 years ago

      I know I'm a little late snieeg this, but I'm still gonna say . ITS FINALLY HERE!! I've been waiting for years for this to come out!! Thanks for listening to us! File manager / transfers coming soon hopefully.

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