Microsoft's New Phone Link for iPhone Brings Messages, Calls and Notifications to Windows 11

The software giant kicks off public testing for its Phone Link software.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
Microsoft's new Phone Link software for iPhone and Windows 11

Microsoft's increasingly breaking down barriers between Apple products and its own.


Microsoft on Tuesday said it's planning to take on one of the biggest advantages Apple products have, introducing new interoperability features to make its Windows 11 software for PCs talk to iPhones in order to display notifications, send messages, and make and receive calls.

The new feature, which Microsoft is calling Phone Link for iOS, will connect an iPhone and Windows 11 computer by Bluetooth radio, allowing "basic" support for calls, messages and app notifications. Initially offered in limited public testing, the software won't allow people to participate in group message chats or to send multimedia messages with photos or videos.

"This builds on our continued efforts to bring you closer to what's more important," Panos Panay, Microsoft's chief product officer, said in a blog post announcing the feature. The feature is part of a wider set of updates to Microsoft's Windows 11 software to power PCs, which released about a year and a half ago.

Microsoft's efforts with its Phone Link software are just the latest in a series of moves to more closely connect Windows computers with Apple's popular devices and services. 

Apple popularized many sync and messaging technologies for smartphones, particularly through its iMessage service for texting and iCloud service for photos, documents, contacts and calendars. It's also used those technologies to closely connect its iPhones, iPad tablets and Mac computers, a move that industry watchers say helps Apple products stand out

Over the past few years though, Microsoft's introduced features to make Windows PCs more Apple-like, a revamped Apple-friendly photos app, more iCloud syncing and version of phone link software for devices powered by Google's Android software.

Microsoft said that, as part of its Windows 11 update Tuesday, it'll introduce new features for Android users too, including the ability to activate a Samsung phone's personal hotspot from the computer. Samsung users will also be able to view websites they recently visited on their phone from their computer, Microsoft said. Both features have been available on Apple products for years.