Windows gets desktop android notifications – By Bob Milliken

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Smartphones aren’t even ten years old, and they’re already one of the most essential pieces of our daily routines. In many ways they’ve actually surpassed desktop computers in their ability to keep us connected 24 hours a day. But they’re still a separate device, and that means awkward transitions when you get notifications while working on your PC. Those annoying interruptions were the impetus for Microsoft to introduce a new method for syncing Android notifications to your Windows 10 machine. Sound interesting? Here is how to make it happen.

The much awaited ‘Anniversary Update’ for Microsoft’s Windows 10 is now available.  This update will include improvements to Cortana, Windows Hello and Ink. In particular, the Edge browser will support biometric logins so you’ll be able to easily sign into websites with your fingerprint.

But for today we are going to focus or discussion on Cortana. With this latest release you now be able to receive notifications from an Android device on the desktop.

This feature will be welcomed by those who use an Android device as it brings the two platforms closer together. And if you are using Google’s mobile OS, this feature is a compelling reasons to install Cortana which means Microsoft is leveraging its desktop platform to get more of its mobile apps installed on your phone.

WindowsThe first thing you need to do is to wirelessly pair your Android phone with your Microsoft desktop. From the Google Play store, download and install the Cortana app and sign into the Microsoft account you use on your computer. Once you’ve signed in, select the Menu button in the upper-left-hand corner and select Settings. After that, select the option for ‘sync notifications’ and toggle which you would like to see on your desktop.

Notifications are broken down into four categories: calls, texts, battery alerts, and third-party apps. Although an option to answer the phone from your computer hasn’t been added yet, you can read and respond to text messages. When deciding on third-party app settings, remember the goal is to manage your interactions, not create more. Make sure to disable any notifications that will create annoying redundancies like doubled-up Facebook alerts between your Android pairing and previously-enabled desktop notifications.

And just like that, you’re all set. As long as you have Cortana enabled on your desktop, all your Android alerts will automatically display in your Windows 10 Action Center. There is no need to interact with the app on your mobile device, and we recommend removing the shortcuts from the clutter of your home screen. Gone are the days of needlessly checking your phone every time it vibrates, just to find out it’s another telemarketer or unimportant Instagram notification.

If you have an Android device and a Windows 10 machine (and who doesn’t), putting Cortana on your desktop would seem to be a smart move.

Bob Milliken is the TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs and keeping our finger on the power button. Connect with him at 604.270.1730.