Microsoft Quietly Offers Remote Desktop App For Android And iOS

Users can now access their Windows PCs and servers remotely via Android, iOS or Mac devices

Windows users can now access their desktops from their Android or iOS smartphones and tablets after Microsoft launched a free official remote desktop app, while there is also a version for Apple Mac users.

Windows Phone users of course already enjoy tight integration with their Windows machines, but Microsoft is firmly targeting its Remote Desktop app at the business community, and is tying it into the demand created by the BYOD trend and remote business teleworkers. That however should not stop some consumers from also using the app.

Business Slant

Windows 8 (1)Microsoft actually created very little public fanfare about the release of the app, mentioning it only briefly in a press release earlier this month.

“Further, with Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft is introducing the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, available for download in application stores later this month, to provide easy access to PCs and virtual desktops on a variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android,” said Microsoft on 7 October.

Users have already been able to access their Windows machines remotely using a variety of third party applications, but this is the first time that there is an official Microsoft app for Android and iOS users that allows them to access, control and save data to their remote Windows machines. The move could potentially bring Redmond into conflict with companies such as Citrix, which also offers its own remote access solutions.

Secure Connections

According to Microsoft’s own description of the Microsoft Remote Desktop, users can connect to a remote PC or their work resources from any location. The apps allows for access to remote (Windows-based) resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway. Android and iOS users can enjoy a “rich multi-touch experience with remote desktop protocol (RDP) and RemoteFX supporting Windows gestures.”

Meanwhile, in order to please the IT manager, Microsoft says the app allows for secure connection to data and applications via Network Layer Authentication (NLA) technology. There is also a simple management capability of all remote connections from the connection centre.

The app also allows for “high quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage,” as well as “easy connection to external monitors or projectors for presentations.”

Mac users reportedly get all of the above features, but in addition the Mac app allows for printing from Windows applications to any printer configured on the Mac. It allows users to access local files on the Mac, even from Windows applications.

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Windows 8.1

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Windows 8.1