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Hands-on with the new Phone Screen feature in Your Phone on Windows 10

Microsoft is now testing an upcoming new feature in the Your Phone app on Windows 10 that lets you see and control your smartphones screen straight on your PC. Right now, the feature is in preview and is very early meaning many of the features planned in this area aren't working yet, so this is an early look at the work Microsoft has done so far.

In this initial preview, Microsoft is testing the ability to successfully connect and stream your phones display to the app. You can't yet control the phone directly on your PC, but that is a feature that's in the works and will show up later. For now, you still have to hold your phone to interact with it. Initial impressions of the streaming quality is pretty good. It operates at around about 60fps constantly, and there's very little latency between the phone and the app when streaming.

In fact, I was even able to play a few mobile games while looking at the Your Phone app, and didn't feel like I was lagging behind. Of course, it's not instant, but it's definitely not delayed either. It feels buttery smooth and quick to respond to touches.

In the app, there's a button that automatically changes the orientation of your device, and there's also a button that looks to allow the phone screen to pop out of the Your Phone app to be placed wherever you like. That feature currently doesn't work just yet, however. Overall, this first preview doesn't give us much to go on, but at least it gives us a good idea at how well the streaming function is going to behave when it's complete. So far, so good.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

31 Comments
  • I'm sorry, but I see no real use-case for this. The point of having full sync of my work is that I should be able to do everything on every device. I work on Office documents on my PC and can pick up where I left off on the phone or tablet. This is just a stupid feature.
  • That's a pretty myopic point of view. Right off the bat I can think of using this for streaming capabilities. It also has, as mentioned in the article, gaming capabilities in general. I also know a few people that would use it for sending/receiving text messages while their phone is maybe stored away, or charging somewhere (or even depending on how this works someplace else completely)
  • That's exactly how I use the Dell Mobile Connect, which they finally changed the UI a little, it's gotten better, but I'm excited to see where this goes.
  • Why are there people who see a new feature that doesn't necessarily appeal to them and call it stupid? I may not use it all that much either, but I can think of plenty of use cases. Demonstrating an app that you developed? You can pull it up on a desktop monitor with ease to show off. Hell, have it on a projector even, split screen with a presentation maybe? Want to quickly show a video to someone but its only on your phone? Sure, you could upload it to OneDrive, wait, and then download it and watch it on the TV. OR bam, do it instantly. As stated, the capability to control your phone is slated for the future. This brings possibilities for playing mobile games on Windows tablets with ease. If you ever find yourself in a scenario where you can only think of one possible use case for something, just assume you're not thinking hard enough *or* that maybe it simply doesn't fit in with how you do things and others may find extremely useful.
  • Absolutely! These are all great applications. And I also think that this will be great in VR so you don't have to take the headset off to use your phone. Or how about where you can pick up your phone, and the headset detects that you are holding it, and then mirror the display into the VR environment on an in-world object so it you can interact with it naturally.
  • Having my phone connected to my PC, where I can respond to a text, while my phone is on the charger or out of my immediate reach is a good use case and many people would appreciate. I just want it to be on par with Dell's app, because you can make and receive calls on your PC.
  • I have to say, I agree. No-one is ever more than arms reach from their phone these days, so having it mirrored on your PC literally inches away seems pointless. Windows already has a way of replying to texts from PC, if you have the right hardware. Perhaps they should be rolling that out to other devices.
  • I am. Why use a Crapdroid phone, when i can use the power of a full PC on a 12" device? I don't see a reason to have my phone with me on the Sofa. I just use my tablet.
  • I have to say, objectively, you're wrong. "No-one is ever more than arms reach from their phone these days" I am quite often away from my phone, usually on a different floor and I'm clearly not the only person who does this. There's also the other reasons that this can be useful as mentioned by multiple people.
  • Perfect use for this would be to be able to control android apps from my computer so I don't have to constantly pick up my phone and view apps on a small screen. I have a 24" touch screen monitor and it would be great if I could control the SmartThings and Arlo apps from my computer. (android or iPhone only home automation apps).
  • I see a use for this in the future, but sadly the current basic version has stopped working with between any of my Surface devices and my Nokia 7.1 phone. The PC app tells me to update the phone app and the phone app update does nothing.
  • This is useful because not all apps (like WhatsApp) play nice and seamlessly with PC. Also sometimes you want to mess around with settings without getting up and getting your phone. And on occasion there's a file you downloaded on your phone that you didn't send to your cloud service. One question: does this do phone calls? Because that would be the killer feature for me. And do I see "Notifications (in preview)"?? Nice. Finally we are getting that back.
  • It's one thing when you want your phone to be used on the bigger screen like Dex does but I personally have had no use for using mirror unless it's to show something on the laptop like pictures. And even so , I have Samsung Flow that works very well that I don't need another repetitive app.
  • This is going to be a great feature. I can't do the real work I need to do using just a phone - and this feature will allow me to focus on my larger device but still interact with my phone without having to physically pick it up. This will all tie into the upcoming "Andromeda" and "Centaurus" devices and yes, I'm sure it will allow phone calls.
  • How does this compare to Dell Mobile Connect?
  • Hopefully it won't crash as often. Dell Mobile Connect is pretty much the only application that I run on my devices, that crashes on start up 50% of the time.
  • Doesn't crash with my top speced Surface Studio 2 or Surface Book 2.
  • Dell XPS here, crashes 20% of the time. Powerful Gaming desktop (i7 3xxx ...), crashes 30%. Dell already knows about and is working on an update. According to support, somewhen mid of April.
  • Dell Mobile Connect works with more phones and doesn't have the Bluetooth restrictions either
  • For me, once they get the ability to interact up and running, the mere fact of being able to type on a proper keyboard would be really useful. I hate typing on a smart phone and I'm crap at it and get annoyed when people want to have long exchanges of messages. Looking forward to trying it out.
  • Very early days, but could this be the start of Android apps on PC? (I know you can get emulators) but this would be the ultimate combo of your personal android/pc device
  • I think this is their alternative to running .Apk files on Windows. I personally feel that they should integrate the support into the Windows store. There should be Android AOSP built into Windows, apps listed in the store as "works on your phone" or "mobile" section, or something like that. I'm no developer, but it would seem that PC's powered by ARM processors would run them natively........ Am I the only one that doesn't think this should be common sense? It would be a sandboxed Android app within Windows.
  • It will be very useful for website developers, so they don't have leave their screen to check the mobile version as they are working on the desktop version.
  • That's great!
    Now add the ability to connect to "Your Phone" while I'm mobile, out and about without a "home WiFi network" that both devices are connected to. Then it will become really useful.
    I have a Surface 3, HP Envy X2 and Sony Xperia Android phone. It would be nice to operate my phone on my tablet when I'm at a client's place.
  • Well not even Microsofts SurfaceBook2 has the bluetooth LE required to make this work!
  • The feature will work over wifi too. Remember this is not meant for when you are on the go, its for when you are sat down in the office so your phone can stay out of sight.
  • only useful if you can unlock the phone from the pc and not have to get your phone out of your pocket or pick it up
  • Don't this need a new version of Bluetooth to work, in which case most phones will not work and also a lot of computers, unless they have a new bluetooth dongle.
    My computer don't have bluetooth, I do have a dongle somewhere, but i have no idea where I put it andc it would not work anyway with this Your phone anyway. Some people may use it, but to be honest I prefer to keep my phone unlinked to my computer, if I do need to link it I use a USB cable just to copy files from the phone to my computer.
  • This will work over wifi too. This is a feature designed to be used when you are at home or in the office so you do not have to have your phone to hand all the time.
  • Sounds like Microsoft is trying to make Windows relevant in the Android world because of their failure with Windows mobile. Looks like a backdoor run that has a small chance of working. Color me GONE.
  • I agree it is odd that some people assume because they do not see the immediate use of a feature it is pointless. Personally I use dell mobile connect because I do not feel comfortable using my phone in an open plan office, it feels unprofessional sitting on my phone, even if it is brief, or for a proper (I.e. work related) reason. Ideally I would like to see Microsoft tap into the in-notification response feature to allow users to respond to messages without moving to screen mirroring, but as I say even that method requires the message to be a response, if you need to open a new chat you do need access to the phone screen. Comments have included: nobodies phone is ever more than a few inches away. This may be true, but personally mine is in my bag below my desk, and this feature helps it stay there longer.