There’s a great deal you can do with your iPad these days. After several years on the market there really is an app available for almost everything. However, there are some things that are best left to your desktop computer, be it a Mac or a PC, but this doesn’t mean that your iPad should just sit idle.
The idea of remote access should not be a new one; it is something that has been available in Windows for some time, and there are numerous tools available for both Pac and PC that can be used to take remote control of another system. In a nutshell, TeamViewer HD is an app that enables you to use your Mac or PC through your iPad just as if you were sitting in front of it.
Getting up and running with TeamViewer for remote access is incredibly simple, but it makes sense to start with your desktop computer and make sure that you have the necessary software installed — although installation isn’t actually strictly required as there is the option to simply run the program on a one-off basis.
There are two components to TeamViewer: the iPad app, and the desktop software, both available free of charge.
During the installation you’ll be asked whether you’d like to permit remote access to the computer — which you do — and you’ll also have to choose between allowing full access or having to confirm each action. As you are going to be away from your computer, it makes sense to go down the full access route or there would be little point in install the app in the first place, aside from those occasions when you might want to use it for remote assistance.
To avoid getting locked out of your own computer, be sure to select the Full Access option for TeamViewer.
Security is a major concern for any remote access tool, and you have to weigh up the benefits and disadvantage of allowing for unattended access. Ordinarily you would need to enter an ID and password to gain access, but if you’re miles away from your computer this is obviously not going to be possible. Fortunately, you’re still secured with as strong a password as you configure, so things can be regarded as being safe, particularly as remote sessions are protected with 256-bit AES encryption.
Configure your computer for unattended access so you can remotely log in with a simple password.
Remote Control In Practice
Getting connected to your computer from your iPad could hardly be simpler once you have completed the initial setup process. All you need to do is sign into your TeamViewer account and a list of all of the computers you have associated with it will be displayed for you to choose from. You can also enter the ID and password of any computer running the software to establish a connection.
Sign into your account and you can choose which of your computers you’d like to remotely control.
The first time you use the app you’ll be shown a brief guide to interacting with your remote machine, but things are really pretty intuitive. Switching between apps takes nothing more then a simple tap on the relevant area of the screen, and scrolling, moving around windows and countless other common actions can be achieved by just dragging and tapping. It may seem slightly strange at first, but you very soon get used to it.
Working with Windows — or OS X — on your iPad quickly becomes second nature thanks to TeamViewer’s intuitive controls.
While there’s a lot that can be done by just tapping and dragging, to make the most of remote sessions you’ll probably also want to be able to type on your remote computer just as if you were sat in front of it. This is made possible by a familiar slide-up keyboard that can be used to type in documents, but the keyboard is not perfect.
TeamViewer’s keyboard is fine for general typing, but some keys are rather awkwardly positioned.
The main keyboard is just like the one you would find in any iOS app, but a PC or Mac keyboard has numerous additional keys. These are available to use in TeamViewer, but they are somewhat inconveniently placed in a separate toolbar at the top of the screen.
As well as the keyboard and extra keyboard toolbar, there are other ways in which you can interact with your remote computer. Whatever you are doing, there is always a toolbar visible at the bottom of the screen and this includes buttons that enable you to perform tasks such as switching displays (for when you are working with a remote computer that has two or more monitors), reboot the machine and access features such as Windows 8’s charms bar.
Rather than performing complex gestures, some remote options are made available through toolbar buttons.
Should you ever need a reminder of the different actions you can perform using gestures, there’s a handy guide available via the toolbar as well. But if you’d rather dedicate your iPad’s screen in its entirety to displaying the contents of your desktop, the toolbar can be hidden from view completely.
A bit forgetful? Brush up on TeamViewer’s gestures with the handy built in guide.
This incredibly versatile tool is — almost unbelievably — completely free of charge. Whether you are using the app at home to control your upstairs computer from the sofa in front of the TV, or you’re helping out your parents by logging into their computer to fix a troublesome problem, what is amazing is just how natural the app feels. There’s even a built-in file transfer tool that makes it possible to move images and other documents from your iPad to your computer in just a few taps.
There are a limited number of settings to concern yourself with. If you find that the automatic settings results in slow performance when used over the web rather than a network connection, you can choose to lower image quality or screen resolution, but you’ll probably not find this necessary as the defaults work very well.
TeamViewer is not the only remote access tool available in the App Store — far from it — but it is the best without a shadow of a doubt. Advanced features such as the ability to print remotely as well as setting up a virtual private network with other TeamViewer machines help to make this app stand head and shoulders above the competition.