Here's how your iPhone, Android phone will work with Windows 10 PCs

Microsoft aims to make your PC a second screen for your phone so you never miss a text or notification again.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read

See your phone history on your Windows PC. 

Screenshot by Josh Goldman/CNET

At the Microsoft Build 2018 developers conference, the software giant talked a lot about the integration of Windows 10 PCs with iOS and Android devices. 

One part of this is Timeline, a feature in Windows 10 that gives you a snapshot of everything you've done on your PC in a reverse-chronological order. This will allow you to, for example, go back to a document or jump into a photo edit you were working on two days earlier. 

Watch this: Microsoft launches new app to better share Windows on iOS and Android

Timeline is now coming to your phone and will let you jump back to activities -- apps, documents, web sites, etc. -- on iPhones and Android phones just as it does with Windows 10 PCs and you'll be able to do this between your phone and computer as well. For Android devices, you'll need to install Microsoft Launcher and on iOS, you'll need to install Microsoft's Edge browser. Inside each app will be a button to access Timeline. 

To make this work, Timeline uses Microsoft Graph, which the company has described as an "intelligent fabric that helps connect dots between people, conversations, projects and content within the Microsoft cloud -- ensuring experiences flow seamlessly between Windows, iOS and Android devices."


The upcoming Inbox app will put your texts on your desktop.

Screenshot by Josh Goldman/CNET

Coming in a future build of Windows 10 will be the next piece of the integration puzzle, an Inbox app that allows you access to your phone's photos, text messages, notifications and "other key workloads" over time, on your PC, said Microsoft General Manager Shilpa Ranganatha. 

If you receive a text message to your phone it will be mirrored on your Windows PC screen. You can reply inline or open the Inbox app and reply from there. For photos, you'll see on your PC the last 25 photos on your phone and be able to open and edit them in the Photos app and save them to your desktop. 

Similarly, you'll be able to see a list of recent notifications, click on them and you'll be taken to a mapped Windows app or website. Like Timeline, though, this integration relies on information Microsoft Graph has about you and your devices, to which Ranganatha made a plea to the developers in the room to incorporate Graph into their apps. 

Despite the hooks into your devices, Ranganatha said users will be in full control of the experience, and data is just shared between devices and isn't synced to the cloud.