If you own an iPhone and a Windows laptop, you might have cast an envious glance at iPhone owners with Macs or Android owners with Windows systems. Life should be in perfect harmony for those who are getting updates directly from their phones to their computers. Sure, you can use third-party apps like Intel Unison to get connectivity between your iPhone and Windows system. But not everyone was willing to jump on the bandwagon and download third-party apps.
Finally, the days of release are over. Windows 11 is introducing the ability to connect your iPhone to the system in its own app, Phone Link. So, without further ado, let’s get going!
Comment: At the time of this writing, iPhone connectivity in Phone Link is only being previewed in Insider channels, also in a slow rollout. So, even if you’re on one of the Windows Insider channels, you may not have the option to connect your iPhone yet. Microsoft is deliberately taking its time with the rollout, perfecting the feature before a wider rollout. If you’re in the Insider Channel, keep an eye out for the feature, it’ll be coming out quite a bit. The feature is expected to be rolled out to the stable build soon.
Connecting iPhone to Windows 11 using Phone Link
Connecting your iPhone to Windows 11 is quick and easy using Phone Link. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to send and receive messages, make and receive calls, and view other notifications directly from your iPhone on your Windows 11 laptop. This will further bridge the gap between the two ecosystems; Microsoft previously integrated iCloud Photos into the Windows Photos app to complement this effort.
Your iPhone and Windows 11 system must be within range of Bluetooth for this to work.
To get started, open the Phone Link app on your system by searching for the app from the Search menu.
Make sure you are using Phone Link app version 1.23012.169.0 or higher to get the preview (even though the preview will be handled by the cloud itself). To update the app, go to the Microsoft Store, go to the ‘Library’ tab, and click ‘Update’ next to the Phone link if you have an update pending.
Now, go back to the Phone Link app. Click on the ‘iPhone’ button to connect your iPhone. Your iPhone must be running iOS 14.0 or later to be able to use it with the Phone Link app.
Next, you need to pair the two devices using Bluetooth. A QR code will display on the screen; Scan it with your iPhone’s camera to start the pairing process. The QR code will expire in 3 minutes.
On your iPhone, open the Camera app and point it at the QR code. Then, tap on the ‘Pair your devices’ option that pops up.
Next, tap on ‘Open’ on the pop-up.
The App Clip will open for the Link to Windows app which means you don’t need to install the app separately. On the app clip, at the bottom, tap the Continue button .
You will see a permission prompt to give you access to ‘Link to Windows’ in order to use Bluetooth. Tap ‘OK’ to proceed; Phone Link requires Bluetooth to access your iPhone’s calls, notifications, and conversations.
Connection will start to be made.
You will receive a Bluetooth pairing request on both your iPhone and Windows system. Confirm that the same code is shown on both the devices. Then, tap ‘Pair’ at the prompt on your iPhone.
Also, click ‘Pair’ on the Phone Link app on Windows.
devices will be added.
Grant permissions from your iPhone
Pairing your devices was only half the step. Phone Link will need permission to access your messages, contacts, and information in order to show them.
Once you see the ‘You’re almost there’ screen on your system, force close App Clip on your iPhone.
Then, if you get a prompt to grant any permission to your system on your iPhone, tap on ‘Allow’ on it.
If you don’t get the prompt, don’t worry. Open the Settings app and navigate to ‘Bluetooth’.
Then, tap on the ‘i’ next to your system’s name.
Next, turn on the toggles for ‘Share system notifications’, ‘Show notifications’ and ‘Sync contacts’.
For your contacts, you can choose who you want to give access to the list of contacts.
And voila! You’re all set.
Using the Phone Link App on Windows 11
Using Phone Link to access your iPhone’s notifications, calls, and messages is super easy.
As long as PhoneLink is running in the background, you’ll receive any notifications from your iPhone in the banner, just like you’d receive other Windows notifications. Clicking on the notification will open the Phone Link app.
Now, the interface for Phone Link is even easier to navigate. All your notifications will appear in the leftmost panel of the app.
If the app is not full screen, you can view notifications by expanding the panel by clicking ‘>’ in the top-left corner.
Notifications will appear in a collapsible panel; Click on ‘<' to close the panel. Of course, clicking on a notification will do nothing unless the notification is for new messages or calls. You can just view the notifications you've received on your iPhone in the Phone Link app, so you don't have to pick up the phone every time there's a new notification sound.
You can also see your iPhone’s battery and connection status at the top of the notification panel. If you are having problems with the Bluetooth connection, click the ‘Update’ button to refresh the connection.
Now, to view your conversations, simply click on the ‘Messages’ tab. Your conversation will appear. Only individual conversations will sync in the Phone Link app, not group chats.
Then, to start a new message from your system, click on the ‘New Chat’ button.
Similarly, to view your recent calls, switch to the ‘Calls’ tab.
You will see your recent calls there. You can use the keypad on the right or search for a contact to start a new call.
You can also take any calls you receive on your iPhone by clicking on the notification banner.
Now, to change any setting for the Phone Link app, click on the ‘Settings’ icon in the top-right corner.
Here, you can manage how to receive notifications from the Phone Link app, app startup behavior, link another device with the app, change the theme for the app, and more.
Thats all there is to it. Connecting your iPhone to Windows 11 has become the easiest thing ever with the Phone Link app. We want to reiterate that this feature is currently only available in Insider channels; Hopefully, this will change soon. Also, since this is an insider preview, users currently using the app may feel that the app has room for improvement.
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