There must have been countless times when you have settled down on the sofa to watch a film, only to realise that you have left your computer switched on unnecessarily in the other room. Or you may have your computer connected to your TV and are looking for an easy way to control playback that doesn’t involve the mouse and keyboard.
These are just a couple of scenarios in which TeamViewer for Remote Control would prove incredibly useful. It is a free remote access app that enables you to control your PC or Mac from your Android device and work on your computer as if you were sitting in front of it.
Taking control of your PC from your Android tablet or phone is a two-step process. In addition to the TeamViewer for Remote Control app in Google Play, you’ll also need to grab yourself a copy of TeamViewer for your Mac or PC from the official app’s web site .
Head over to the TeamViewer web site to download a copy of the desktop software.
The desktop software can be installed like a regular app, or run as a portable program if you are concerned about the security implication of having such a tool permanently installed. In either case, it takes a few minutes to set it all up.
At the end of the installation wizard, you can opt to configure your computer to be accessible at any time, without having to launch the app manually.
The installer guides you through the process of configuring your computer for remote access.
This process also involves setting a name and password for your computer and creating a free TeamViewer account if you don’t already have one.
Turning to your Android, you’ll be prompted to enter your TeamViewer ID and then provide the password that has been generated for you and is displayed on your computer’s screen. If all of this seems a little convoluted for a computer you are going to be accessing on a frequent basis, you can speed things up by creating a list of favorites that can be accessed with a custom password.
TeamViewer’s simple sign in screen will get you up and running in next to no time.
The most obvious obstacle that needs to be overcome when thinking about controlling a computer remotely using a touch screen device is the fact that there is no mouse. Gestures are used to overcome this, but the way the mouse works can take a little getting used to.
You might imagine that the cursor would follow the position of your finger on the screen of your tablet or phone but this is not quite the case. The cursor moves relatively to your finger, and taps can be made anywhere on the screen to click at the cursor’s current position. Other mouse actions include right clicking with two fingers simultaneously and scrolling with two fingers.
Unless you have a particularly small or low resolution monitor connected to your computer, chances are that you’ll not be able to see your entire desktop at once. A simple pinching gesture is all that it takes to zoom in and out, and if you have more than one monitor connected to your computer, you can easily switch between them.
Your computer’s screen can be scaled to fit that of your Android device.
TeamViewer also lets you lower the image quality to speed things up when using it over a different network.
Flexible quality settings mean that TeamViewer can be used even over slow connections.
As well as making it possible to access your own computer, TeamViewer could also be used to give remote help to a friend or family member. In these situations, the ability to block input from the remote computer is useful as it avoids the risk of the other user interfering with what you are doing.
Extra options such as monitor switching and rebooting are available through the settings screen.
The onscreen keyboard is as easy to use as it is in any other app, but there is the disadvantage that you lose a fairly extensive visible portion of the remote desktop.
In landscape mode, the on screen keyboard takes up a lot of space, but this is unavoidable really.
Whether you’re looking for a tool that enables you to access your computer over your own network, or via the internet, or you’d like an app that makes it easier to perform those parental computer support calls that invariably pop up from time to time, TeamViewer for Remote Control is the perfect balance of power and ease of use.
It is far from being the only remote access to available in Google Play, but the fact that it is free, coupled with its delightful ease of use and simple security mean that it is an ideal first port of call. This ease of setup means that you can install or remove TeamViewer from your computer in a matter of minutes, without the need to configure dynamic DNS settings or anything similarly complex.
And even though TeamViewer is clearly better suited for tablets, it is still quite usable on the smaller screen of a phone. Sure, things are a little fiddlier with a smaller screen, but this is not enough to detract from the feeling of delight that stems from using Windows or OS X on your Android device.