Looking for a way to access programs on your desktop or laptop from your mobile? You could go down the route of installing something like TeamViewer, but with the best will in the world, trying to control your entire Windows or Mac desktop from your mobile is a fiddly experience at best.
A more practical solution can be found by going down the Parallels Access route, and it’s one that’s just been made even better with the release of version 2.0.
Parallels Access adopts a slightly different approach to accessing your computer remotely – it assumes your primary objective is to be able to access specific programs and apps while you’re on the move, and focuses its interface accordingly.
The service – which you sign up for via https://access.parallels.com – sees you download a server program on your PC or Mac, then install the relevant mobile app. As of version 2.0, Parallels Access extends itself to the Android platform as well as becoming a universal iOS app, giving iPhone users the ability to run desktop apps on their phone too.
The app’s simple to use: once connected, it takes control of your PC’s display, resizing it before transmitting it back to your mobile. It then presents a home screen of app icons with the most popular apps included (you can add to or edit this list easily). Tap one, and the app opens on your mobile, ready for you to view and edit documents almost as if you were sat at your computer.
Parallels Access scores points for utilising smart features for both navigating and controlling your app using your touchscreen, plus makes it easy to switch between open apps using a Task Switcher window.
The new Android version looks slick, and is responsive and quick over a local Wi-Fi connection. But it’s the iOS version that really stands out, particularly with a number of new enhancements added to version 2.0.
Chief among these is the addition of a file browser, which allows you to access your entire file system (including favourites and other links) from the app. You can’t transfer files in this way, but you can move them around your file system and open them directly using apps on your computer.
The iOS version also gains the ability to change the screen resolution to a more comfortable level, plus capture microphone input on your iPad or iPhone. It also comes with the usual promise of better stability and performance.
You can try Parallels Access for free for 14 days, thereafter you’ll need to purchase a subscription – currently $19.95 nets you 12 month’s access with up to five PCs and Macs.
Parallels Access for iPad and iPhone 2.0 and Parallels Access for Android 2.0 are both available now. iOS 7.0 or Android 4.0.3 or later is required. The apps work with PCs running Windows 7 or later and Macs running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later.