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Control your desktop from an Android phone or tablet (pictures)

Find out how to set up Chrome Remote Desktop, a free service that lets you view and control a Mac or PC from any Android device.

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Sharon Profis

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Access your Mac or PC from any Android device

With Chrome Remote Desktop, you can access your home or work computer anywhere, anytime. As long as you have the Chrome browser on your desktop, setup is easy. Here's how to set it up.

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Install the Chrome app

Start by installing Chrome Remote Desktop from the Chrome Web Store. It's free, and takes seconds to install.

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Launch the app

Once it's installed, a new tab window will launch with your installed apps. Look for the Chrome Remote Desktop icon, and click to launch it.

At this point, make sure you're signed into Chrome with the account you normally use with your Android.

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Grant permission

And so begins the setup process. Chrome begins by asking you for permission to access certain elements of your account. Give the go-ahead to continue.

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Choose the type of remote access

At this point, Chrome lets you set up remote access in either of two ways. Choose the first if you'd like to access someone else's computer, which is useful for giving them interactive tech support. 
Choose the second option if right now, all you want is to access your own computer.

For this step-by-step, we'll choose the latter, but you can always return to this screen and set up access to someone else's computer in the future.

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Choose your PIN

Finally, choose a memorable six-digit PIN. You'll use this to sign in on your Android device.

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Check power settings (Windows)

Before we continue the setup process on Android, check your power settings. 
If your computer goes to sleep while you're away from home, you won't be able to gain remote access. In Windows, simply launch the Start menu and search for "Power Options" to launch this screen.

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Check power settings (Mac)

On a Mac, head to System Preferences > Energy Saver, and check the option for "Prevent computer from sleeping..." to make sure it stays awake for remote access.

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Download the Android app

The second part of the setup happens on Android, where you'll be remotely accessing your computer. To begin, download the app from the Play Store.

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Set up the Android app

Whether you're on an Android phone or tablet, the setup is the same. When the app launches, it'll automatically search for any computers associated with your Google account.

If you don't see your computer in the list, check to make sure the email address at the top is the same one you used to set up the app on your desktop.

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Enter your PIN

You're almost there. Enter your PIN (the one you chose during the desktop setup portion), and your screen will appear.

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Access: Granted

To navigate your screen, swipe to change the view, pinch to zoom in and out, and tap and hold the mouse with your fingertip to move it. To click something, just tap.
It's helpful to use full-srcreen mode (the four arrows in the upper-right). You can also access Ctrl-Alt-Delete (for Windows) using the menu button.
When you're done with your task, open the menu and choose "Disconnect."

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