Controlling your PC or Mac remotely is nothing new, and the ability to control your computer using a phone or tablet is hardly ground-breaking, either, but Parallels Access comes with a clever twist. Rather than give the user access to their entire desktop, it’s designed to let you run any program or app full-screen on your device.
Setup is convoluted, but simple: first, sign up for an account at access.parallels.com – signup is free, and pricing plans start from $19.99 for a year’s unlimited access to all your personal computers.
You’ll then need to download the Parallels Access agent for your Windows PC or Mac – the download links are hidden away inside your account, but once installed you’ll find your account is already set up and ready to go. A simple window reveals your account status, plus whether or not Parallels Access is available, complete with button for switching access off and on.
Now turn to your mobile, install the app and sign in. You should see your computer appear, so tap it and a connection is made. Your main screen will resize to accommodate your mobile display, and a list of apps will appear allowing you to quickly switch to an app full-screen (not all your apps are displayed, but you can edit this list easily).
Controlling apps is relatively straightforward – the intro video explains everything succinctly – and intuitive. You can switch between running apps easily using the app switcher button, plus return to the home screen to open other apps too.
The whole experience is slick, straightforward and a great way to access your desktop apps while on the move. However, the Android version currently lacks a few of the notable features from its iOS brethren, most notably a built-in file manager for accessing your desktop or laptop's files from the app. There is a shortcut to the native file explorer, but it's not as neat.
What's new in 3.1.0?
• Support for Android M changes
• Support for Windows 10 tablet mode
• Improved support for Windows 10 gestures
• Improvements in screen resolution switching behavior
• Other bug fixes and performance improvements