One of the hyped features that people cannot wait for in Windows 10 1809 is the Your Phone app which will allow you to text from your computer through your phone. This is Microsoft’s attempt at an iMessage-type functionality, something that has been in macOS and OS X for years. But does it live up to the hype?
PC SMS Messaging
So for Android users, there have been a fair share of third party applications that have promised allowing you to text through your desktop for years. These apps are free and paid, and there are also some implementations on Gnome for Linux users as well. Do they live up to the hype? Not from what I found. Either features were locked away requiring an upgrade, not possible, or you had to shell out some money in order to use them.
A few months ago, Google released Android Messages for the Web. In order to use it, you simply have to have the Android Messages app on your phone (the default messaging app for Google Pixel devices) and you just have to go to https://messages.android.com and scan the QR code. Once you do that, you’re linked up. Other than some occasional network hiccups where the web app may have trouble connecting to your phone (it’s rare, but I’ve seen it happen), it’s actually pretty solid. Because it is a web app, it works on all modern browsers, no matter if you’re on Linux, Windows, or Mac or if you use Firefox, Edge, Chrome, or Safari.
It’s easy to view photos sent as well as allows you to copy and paste photos – one of the easy ways I found to send screenshots from my desktop to a contact through text. The interface is really clean and it just works.
Enter Your Phone on Windows 10. So SMS handles 140 characters and once you hit a certain threshold, you get up to 3 SMS messages before the message gets converted to MMS (for those of you who like to text in complete thoughts). Your Phone does this quite well, but Microsoft has hit a snag. It doesn’t display images inline like it should. Here’s a perfect example of that:
It’s definitely displaying MMS messages, because if it couldn’t, we wouldn’t see anything where I sent a photo. Instead, the photo simply doesn’t show up.
Your Phone also has a built-in media browser where you can view some of your recent photos on your device. Turns out, this works quite well although it isn’t all your photos, just some recent ones.
The kicker here is that a lot of these recent photos I’ve sent in text messages so it’s shocking to me that they don’t show up in your texts.
If Microsoft really wants to provide a replacement to Android Messages on the Web, they’ll need to fix this issue before Windows 10 1809 is released soon.
Overall, I’m glad it’s now easier than ever to get iMessage functionality on PCs (and other operating systems) as that was one of the things I missed the most when I left iPhone behind. It is just so nice to be able to message contacts from any device regardless. I used iMessage quite a lot back in the day. However, I don’t think Your Phone is quite ready for prime time yet given that you can’t view photos in text messages. Maybe this will be a final feature added just before Windows 10 1809 goes live, but it’s anyone’s guess. Microsoft has removed the watermark from the recent build indicating that they’re preparing for it to be released. This generally indicates two or three more builds released to the Insider Fast ring.
Have you tried out Your Phone yet? If so, do you have an iPhone or another type of Android phone? Leave a comment about how well the feature worked for you.