Apple’s iOS and MacOS offer some pretty deep integration between their phone and PC platforms. Ditto for Google’s Android and ChromeOS. But what about Microsoft, whose mobile phone aspirations were dead and buried years ago? Windows has Phone Link, which is at least an option for managing your calls and texts, if a somewhat janky one. After a short testing period, Phone Link can now support iPhones for all Windows 11 users.
Phone Link (and its predecessor Your Phone) were previously restricted to Android devices, probably because the more open platform is both easier to link to and a closer match to Windows in terms of interoperability. But the mobile market is much more divided than laptops and desktops, and Microsoft had to embrace iOS eventually. When connected to an iPhone, the Phone Link app can show you mobile notifications on your desktop, plus make and receive calls and use at least some messaging systems.
Phone Link on iOS is a bit more restrictive than it is on Android, as you might have guessed. First of all, you’ll need an iOS 14, and you can’t use it on an iPad. Messages are also limited to SMS (not Apple’s ubiquitous iMessage), and you can’t send images or videos or participate in group chat. Oh, and if you want access to the photos on your phone, you’ll need to open the Windows Photos app and connect it to iCloud.
The Phone Link app should be installed for all Windows 11 users over the next few weeks. If you’re in a hurry, you can download it directly from the Microsoft Store.