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How to check your Android phone’s notifications on a Windows PC

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Your phone and PC can work together if you set them up properly 

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

It’s been a long time coming, but Microsoft finally has its own system for managing Android notifications from Windows.

This system makes it possible to see notifications from your Android phone on your Windows 10 PC as they arrive and to pull up your entire SMS history along with any pending notifications on demand. You can even reply to messages and compose new texts right from your computer.

Here’s how to get started.

On your Windows 10 computer

First, make sure you have the latest version of the Your Phone app:

  • Open the Microsoft Store, and search for “Your Phone”
  • If the app isn’t already installed, install it
  • If the app is installed, click the three-dot menu button next to the “Launch” command. If “Update” appears as an option, select it.

Next, prepare your computer for the connection:

  • Open the Your Phone app
  • Click the Android box, then click “Get started”
  • Enter your phone number in the prompt that appears

Got it? Good. Time to move to the phone side of things.

On your Android phone

  • Look for a text from Microsoft with a link to install the Your Phone Companion app (or just find the app in the Play Store on your own), and then install it
  • Open the Your Phone Companion app, and tap “Sign in with Microsoft”
  • Enter your Microsoft credentials. Make sure to use the same account shown in the Your Phone app on your computer.
  • Grant the app the various permissions it requests
  • When the app prompts you to set up the Your Phone app on your PC, tap “My PC is ready”
  • When the app prompts you to allow the connection, tap “Allow”

The final link

There’s just one bit of setup left, the part that allows notifications to go through:

  • Open your phone’s system settings, search for “Notification Access,” then select the Notification Access option
  • Find the Your Phone Companion app in the list, and activate the toggle beside it
  • Tap “Allow” on the confirmation window that appears
  • Go back to the Your Phone app on your computer, and click the Notification tab on the left side of the screen. If you don’t see a Notification tab, close the app and then reopen it.
  • Click “Get started,” then click “Open settings for me.” You already manually adjusted your settings (which is the more direct way of doing it — and the only way to do it as of this year’s Android Q release), so you should be taken right to the app’s Notifications screen.

That’s it! Any notifications you get on your phone will now automatically pop up on your desktop and then move into your Windows 10 Notification Center (in the lower-right corner of the screen). Any text messages will include the option to reply — something that’s currently limited to your default Android SMS app but will soon expand to support all apps with reply functions in their notifications.

Any time you want to look through all of your messages and pending notifications, just open the Your Phone app on your computer. While you’re there, click on the “Customize” command within the Notifications tab. That’ll let you selectively mute notifications from specific apps, in case you ever need a little less noise.

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