Microsoft’s Your Phone App Becomes Phone Link

Posted on March 31, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Windows, Windows 11 with 38 Comments

Microsoft’s Your Phone app, which lets Windows users access some features of their Android phone on the desktop is being rebranded as Phone Link. In addition to the new name, Microsoft also gave the app a fresh coat of paint and a new tabbed interface.

“We see this experience as more than just bringing your phone into your PC but as a bridge between the two devices, so we are renaming the app to Phone Link. And to further celebrate this connection between your two devices, we have also renamed the mobile companion app from Your Phone Companion to Link to Windows for all Android users,” the company explained today.

User interface

Here are the main changes to observe in the new Phone Link app:

Tabbed interface: The app now features phone notifications on the left, and the new tab navigation provides quick access to messages, photos, apps, and phone calls.

New app design: The app now follows the Windows 11 design language with rounded corners and updated iconography.

Setup improvements: The next Windows 11 update will let users configure Phone Link with a QR code during the out-of-box experience. Windows Insiders can already test this.

New market: Microsoft is making its Phone Link app available on Honor Magic V, Magic 4 series, and Magic 3 series devices in China.

“The journey doesn’t stop here, we’ll continue to bring more cross-device experiences to Windows through Phone Link,” Microsoft said today. For now, Phone Link still provides a more integrated experience on Surface Duo and select Samsung Galaxy devices. Recently, Microsoft has also started testing a new Recent Apps feature which lets users of Samsung devices see and launch the three most recently used apps on their Android phone on their PC.

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Comments (38)

38 responses to “Microsoft’s Your Phone App Becomes Phone Link”

  1. dftf

    Not the first rename: go back to the original 1507 release of Windows 10 and it was named "Phone Companion" then, and supported Windows Phone, Android and iOS devices.

    I don't think the current one in Windows 11 supports iOS (within the Settings app right-now in Windows 10 21H2, it still says "Link your Android, iPhone", though if you launch the Your Phone app from the Start Menu, it only mentions Android there).

    They might as-well just rebrand it "Android Link", as that's really all it supports!

    • fishnet37222

      Might as well be called Android Phone Link since it doesn't work with tablets.

      • dftf

        Not-even any Samsung tablets?

        • digiguy

          it works with Samsung tablets

          • ids

            Hmmm.... Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 with Android 12, Microsoft Launcher and all the other gubbins. You can't install the app as it does not appear in the Google Play store.

            However if you want to dice with the devil, open the Samsung Galaxy Store and its there.

            I can't quite get my head how stupid MS are with their mobile apps, coverage etc.

            • miamimauler

              "I can't quite get my head how stupid MS are with their mobile apps, coverage etc"

              Why not? MS have a long and proud history of shooting itself in the foot with its mobile decisions.

    • mikegalos

      The cost of Apple's walled garden model. They can't admit anyone would use any computer but an IOS or macOS device.

    • scovious

      It's not like Microsoft decided to not support iPhones, they just aren't allowed to because Apple doesn't want them too.

      Fortunately for those iPhone users out there: governments around the world are cracking down on Apple's "business model" now that they dominate consumer technology around the world; Apple is in the process of being forced to lift their pointless restrictions that block compatibility with other non-Apple technology.

      In the meantime Apple will delay in court as long as possible, citing security risks and dangerous accidents as justification for their documented lock in-strategy to sell more products and trap Apple users in a vicious cycle. But that can't last forever.

  2. egab

    Well, I use this app a lot, hopefully the name change won't lead to killing the service like with many MS services before.

  3. crunchyfrog

    I never thought much about the name being, "Your Phone". Seemed a bit bland and not too descriptive. I think this rebrand works well but only if they stop changing the name.

    You don't see Apple renaming their primary app very often.

    • adamstaiwan

      The "Your Phone" name was terrible. I tried doing searches to see which phones supported it. It does not work well in conversations: "Can I use Your Phone with this phone?".

    • dftf

      The nearest-equivalent on the Apple side might be iTools, which became .mac, then MobileMe and I think most of it just folded into iCloud later on (though some parts might now only be part of Apple One)?

      Microsoft also had SkyDrive in the past, but had to change it due to legal-action from the SKY broadcasting company. OneDrive still sounds fine to me though: some-other alternative they could have gone with like CloudDrive or AirDrive sound worse, or had it launched thesedays they'd likely have gone with either Drive365 or Microsoft Drive Online or something!

  4. Shel Dyck

    In Win10 all it got was a name change, not the ui stuff

    • dftf

      I'd imagine that will be a trend on Windows 10 now -- can't see many apps getting major new features now Windows 11 is here. (Though it is unclear exactly where W10 stands-now support-wise, as other-than the "October 2025" deadline, Microsoft haven't said anything around whether they are treating it as "security and bug-fix only" or anything.)

  5. sandeepm

    Just reading the article title for now, not the whole article. Finally some common sense is returning. The name of the app was so offending that I never used it.

    The other reason I have never used it is because I have different computers for work and home and it works with only one.

    • VMax

      I use it with two machines happily enough, one Win10 and one Win11 Insider Dev. I'm connecting to a Samsung phone though, and mostly using it to send text messages more easily on one of them, so perhaps those differences are relevant.

  6. wolters

    I use this daily and I'll say this again...RCS needs to come to this and then it will be a KILLER app!

  7. epsjrno

    Whatever the changes, this update cleared up the intermittent connection issues I've had over the last several weeks (primarily texting).

    No issues at all since.

  8. franklyray

    ?? Will it work if I have a Google Voice (VOIP) phone number? Thanks

    • dftf

      I can't see anything online from anyone saying it doesn't work.

      If you have a Microsoft Account, why not just give it a try? If it doesn't, it's only a case of then uninstalling the "Link to Windows" app off your device, then going into the Accounts settings on your phone and removing the Microsoft one (assuming you only added that account for this one purpose).

  9. anoldamigauser

    As an iPhone user, this application is dead to me. Are they going to allow this to be uninstalled without resorting to PowerShell? Will it stop installing with every feature update?

  10. navarac

    Might as well be called "Samsung Link" as they are the phones that this purportedly works best with :-)

    • JustDavid

      And it works quite well with my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

    • dftf

      Yeah, I really don't get why they persist with this Samsung partnership -- if the APIs they rely-on to make the features work are standard to the latest versions of Android, they are just limiting who will bother to use the feature.

      Samsung phones often do come with apps like Excel, Outlook, Word, OneDrive pre-installed (or at-least the first time you tap the icon, it downloads the app) so I guess this is what Microsoft gets in return?

  11. pauldain

    Is it just me, or does the "link" moniker just sound so mid-90s? I'd feel like I'm connecting my Palm Pilot via a serial cable.

  12. murray judy

    I recently moved from a Pixel to iPhone and really miss the My Phone app. I'm hoping that the EU is successful in forcing Apple to open up iMessage.

    • rob_segal

      Opening up iMessage and every other messaging app sound nice, but it will be the details and implementation that will matter. It could be something people regret hoping for when they get it.

      • SvenJ

        In my experience, forced interoperability is always implemented at the lowest common denominator. Be careful what you wish for, or decree, in this case.

    • anoldamigauser

      Personally, I would prefer it if Apple would just make an iMessage client for Windows and Linux. I do not need to run phone apps on a PC, and my photos are backed up to the cloud and available on the PC already.

      What I would really prefer would be to have all the folk in my world use Signal, but that is not going to happen.

    • TomKer

      Got an HP PC? I stumbled across HP Quicksend in the iOS sub on Reddit the other day. It allows you to send stuff between your iPhone and an HP PC - including SMS. Not nearly as nice as Your Phone with a Pixel (I just made that switch too), but it does work.

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