Windows 10 takes on Apple with incredibly useful new feature

Windows 10 takes on Apple with incredibly useful new feature

Microsoft has released a new preview build of Windows 10 to members of its Insider beta programme. Dubbed 18999, the software is an early version of Windows 10 20H1 – a substantial upgrade for the operating system set to debut during the first half of next year.

The new Windows 10 build introduces a huge new feature for Microsoft’s Your Phone app, a programme designed to improve the synergy between user PCs and Android devices, which that allows users to answer calls from their PC directly.

Apple offers a very similar feature – enabling its users to make and recieve calls from their desktop or laptop (as well as text messages) – but only if they own an iPhone. Microsoft is offering the same feature for any brand of PC, and any Android handset.

This means fans will no longer need to awkwardly rummage around in their pocket for their smartphone. Simply choose to accept or deny a call from a prompt that will appear on your Windows 10 device.

The ability to take calls on your PC was unveiled by Microsoft earlier this year at Samsung’s Unpacked event back in August.

Don’t have a Samsung phone? No problem. The feature will work on any device running Android 7.0 Nougat and onwards.

Explaining the new functionality, Microsoft said: “We first announced the Calls feature at the Samsung Unpacked event in August, and you saw a live demo at last week’s Surface event. Today, we’re excited to unveil the Calls feature to the Windows Insider community.

“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. Tap into your PC’s speakers, microphone, and large screen for a richer calling experience.”

With the new Call feature for the Your Phone app, Microsoft fans are able to answer or decline incoming calls, initiate phone calls and see their call history.

What’s more, users are also able to transition calls between their PC and smartphone.

The newest feature from Your Phone certainly cements Microsoft’s concerted effort to increase ties between Windows 10 and Android phones. Earlier this year the Redmond firm gave its app the ability to mirror Android phone notifications.

Available to all Windows 10 users – not just members of Microsoft’s Insider programme – the feature means you’ll never scramble to pull out your phone only to be disappointed with a throwaway notification ever again.

This feature, launched back in July, added to Your Phone’s functionality to a great degree. The app also allows users to respond to text messages, although unfortunately, this isn’t possible with third-party apps, such as WhatsApp. Although, many of these – including WhatsApp – offer web-based portals to send and receive texts from their computer.

Windows 10 build 18999 doesn’t just introduce changes to the Your Phone app though, it also makes a few tweaks to how users can move and resize a Cortana window.

Plus, the software also introduces a number of general changes, improvements and bug fixes. You can find a full list of changes introduced in 18999 here.

If you're not a member of the Windows 10 Insider programme, signing up is easy. Although you should be aware early software versions typically feature more bugs than final ones.

Alternatively, you can always wait for a stable edition of Windows 10 20H1 to launch in the first half of next year where the new Your Phone function will debut.

Your Phone app help (including Link to Windows)

Applies to: Windows 10

The Your Phone experience starts on your PC with Windows 10 and the Your Phone app. From your PC you can connect to select Android and Samsung devices with these two apps:

  • Your Phone Companion (YPC) app for most Android phones
  • Link to Windows (LTW) app preinstalled on selected Samsung phones

You’ll see these names combined as “Your Phone Companion – Link to Windows” in the Google Play Store and in the Galaxy Store. In the Microsoft Store, you’ll see “Your Phone.” This link between your device and PC gives you instant access to everything you love. Read and reply to text messages with ease, view recent photos from your phone, use your favorite mobile apps, and manage your phone’s notifications right on your PC.

Minimum system requirements

The Your Phone app will work with the following minimum system requirements:

  • A PC running Windows 10 April 2018 Update or later.
  • A phone running Android 7.0 (Nougat) or above.

Getting started and troubleshooting

You will find Your Phone preinstalled on the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. We’ll guide you through the extra few steps needed to complete the set up process.

On your PC:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, search for your phone and select Your Phone from the results.
  2. You’ll be asked to sign into your Microsoft Account.
  3. Enter your mobile number when prompted. This will send a text message to your Android phone.

On your Android phone:

  1. Open the text message. It contains a link to download the Your Phone Companion app.
  2. Install Your Phone Companion and open the app.
  3. Follow the guided set up process. If prompted to sign into the Your Phone Companion app, be sure to use the same Microsoft Account you’re using on your PC.

That’s it! Now use the Your Phone app on your PC to enjoy a wealth of cross-device experiences.

Written by David Minister
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