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10 ways to bring together your PC and Android phone

JR Raphael | Sept. 4, 2015
Your smartphone and desktop computer can interoperate in powerful ways. Here's how to make it happen

10 ways to bring together your PC and Android phone
Credit: mammela via pixabay; OpenClipartVectors via pixabay

Smartphone, PC -- po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to. Our go-to gadgets are essentially all computers, right? So why not make them work together -- and make your life a heck of a lot easier?

After all, it's 2015. Running different platforms is no longer an excuse for devices to act as if they exist in different worlds.

These 10 tips will help you break down the barrier between your desktop system and your Android smartphone and make them feel like harmonious extensions of each other.

1. Sync up your storage

Your computer has local storage, as does your phone -- two separate, unconnected virtual vats of space. But with a clever cloud-embracing app and a few minutes of configuration, the devices' drives can act as if they're one.

The secret resides in FolderSync, an Android utility that costs a mere $2.87. (There's a free version, but it's peppered with ads and offers limited functionality.) FolderSync works with a ton of cloud storage providers, including Amazon, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. As long as the provider you select offers a companion program on the PC side (all of the ones I mentioned do), you'll be good to go.

To get everything up and running, first install the app on your phone and follow the prompts to connect it to the cloud storage service of your choice. Set up "pairs" for any folders you want to keep linked with your computer -- a folder containing your documents or downloads, for instance -- and create new folders in your cloud storage to match.

Be sure to set the pair to use two-way sync. You can either opt to sync instantly, if you want everything to be kept up-to-date at all times, or you can go for a more battery-friendly setup like syncing once a day if you don't mind a little bit of latency.

Now install the desktop app for whatever cloud service you're using. Open the app, find the paired folder you created, and get it ready for use. If you paired a Documents folder, for example, you might place a shortcut on your desktop and dump all of your existing documents into it.

Then treat that folder as if it were a regular local resource. Anything you do in it will be saved onto your hard drive and synced into the cloud, where it'll automatically find its way onto your Android device. Any changes on your phone will make their way back to your computer in the same manner.

2. Find and secure your phone

 

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