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 up to 5 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. Version 2 adds some great new features to the roster: it’s now a universal app for iPhone and iPad. Users can change the screen resolution to suit, plus access (and transfer) your computer’s files through a new file browser. The app also allows you to wake sleeping remote computers – a major plus point over the previous build.
What's new in 3.1.0?
• Support for 3D Touch on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus — press to drag-and-drop or right-click
• Support for the iPad Pro screen resolution and virtual keyboard
• Support for Apple Pencil with iPad Pro
• Folders on the App Launcher
• Support for cursor movement using the onscreen keyboard as a trackpad (with iOS 9)
• Game Mode improvement — shoot in games just by touching a screen
• Game Mode improvement — use function keys, "Pg Up", "Pg Dn" etc.
• Support for Windows 10 tablet mode
• Improved support for Windows 10 gestures
• Improvements in screen resolution switching behavior
• Other bug fixes and performance improvements