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Use Microsoft's Your Phone app to quickly access Android photos

Stop emailing snapshots to yourself. Here's how to use Microsoft's new app to copy photos from phone to desktop.

For now, Your Phone for Windows works only with Android, and provides access only to photos.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Microsoft's new Your Phone app for Windows 10 is now available, and although it doesn't do much yet, it does one thing well: provides desktop access to your Android photo library. That means you can easily drag and drop pictures from phone to PC.

The app was initially limited to Windows 10 ($110 at Amazon) Insiders, but anyone can download it now from the Microsoft Store. You do, however, need the Windows April 2018 Update, which should have been installed automatically unless you've disabled Windows' auto-update feature.

You'll also need a particular Android app, though not what you might think: There's no Your Phone for Android. Instead, you must install the rather confusingly named Microsoft Apps. Even more confusing, when you run it, you'll see a long list of other Microsoft apps you can install. But Your Phone isn't one of them, because there is no app by that name.

Instead, all you need is the Microsoft Apps app. Then, run Your Phone on your PC. You'll need to provide various approvals to finalize the connection. It's not clear whether both devices must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network; that's how it was on my setup.

After a moment, your phone should appear in the Your Phone app, along with a thumbnail collection of photos. From there you can easily drag and drop one or more to your PC.

However, I was unable to navigate to a specific folder; the app showed only a list of recent photos.

Needless to say, Your Phone is extremely limited at the moment. But Microsoft plans to add more features, including reading and replying to text messages by way of the desktop app. For the moment, though, it does make photo retrieval pretty easy.

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