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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

Can't find your phone in its usual place between couch cushions? Or, worse, get home from a day of travel only to realize you lost your device somewhere along the way? No need to panic: Your computer can tell you exactly where your mobile buddy is. It can even remotely lock it down and erase it if need be.

All you have to do is get on your computer (or any computer, really), navigate to google.com in the browser, and type "Find my phone" into the search box. (You'll have to sign into Google first -- which you'll probably want to do in an incognito window if it isn't your own PC.) Within seconds, El Goog will give you a detailed map showing your smartphone's last logged location. Clicking on it will bring up the full Android Device Manager interface, where you'll find options to ring, lock, or fully erase your phone right then and there.

There's one catch: Your phone has to be configured beforehand to allow all of that to happen. Take two minutes right now, while your phone is safe and sound, and open up the app called Google Settings on your device. (Note that we’re talking about Google Settings, which isn’t the same as your regular system settings.)

Head into the Security menu and make sure both "Remotely locate this device" and "Allow remote lock and erase" are activated. Now take a deep breath, relax, and think of something else to worry about.

3. Beam directions from your computer to your phone

Maybe your problem isn't losing your phone but rather getting lost yourself. We all know Google Maps is great at giving directions, but you may not realize that you can beam such guidance right from your computer to your phone -- without needing any software beyond a regular ol' Web browser.

Send directions from Google
You can send directions to your smartphone directly from your PC via Google.

This one's simple: Type "Send directions to my phone" into Google while you're signed in on any desktop system. You'll get a box prompting you to type in the business name or address where you're headed. Fill in the blank and click the Send command -- like magic, your phone will open up the Maps app and be ready with directions as soon as you leave.

4. Give yourself a universal clipboard

Imagine how much easier things would be if you could hit Ctrl-C on your computer and paste that same text somewhere on your smartphone. Or vice versa -- highlighting text on your phone and pasting it into a document or email on your PC.

 

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