iMessage and more finally comes to Windows with global rollout of Phone Link for iOS
IMessage is finally coming to Windows. Microsoft today announced that Phone Link for iOS is now rolling out to all Windows 11 customers, allowing iPhone users to make and receive phone calls, send and receive messages via iMessage, access their contacts and see their phone’s notifications directly on their Windows PC. The feature had previously been available as an early preview to Windows Insiders.
Now, Microsoft says Phone Link for iOS on Windows 11 will begin rolling out to its global customer base in 39 languages across 85 markets. Though the rollout starts today, it may take a few weeks to reach the full customer base, the company noted.
Despite being available to Android users for some time, iPhone users have not had a similar option for staying connected with their friends and family through their PC. The lack of support for Windows likely kept some consumers from exploring the Windows PC ecosystem, as they wanted a more seamless experience when moving in between their devices.
But given how prevalent the use of Windows is within the business and personal computing worlds, that also meant that both Apple and Microsoft were massively underserving their respective — and overlapping — customer bases.
For business professionals, one advantage of Phone Link is that they can now respond to texts, track calls and view incoming notifications more discreetly — for example, while in a meeting where pulling out your iPhone may feel unprofessional.
At other times, iPhone owners may want to charge their phone before heading out, but can still keep up with their calls, texts and notifications while the phone is plugged in elsewhere.
To get started with Phone Link, users are guided through a setup process that will pair their iPhone to their PC over Bluetooth.
This includes scanning a QR code shown on the screen confirming the phone by matching a code shown on the iPhone to the code displayed in Phone Link. When pairing is complete, users are asked to grant a set of permissions that allows content to be synced to their PC.
As the last step, Phone Link will direct users to grant permissions on their iPhone within the phone’s Bluetooth settings which is what will allow them to receive their phone’s notifications on their PC and access their contacts.
When setup is complete, Phone Link will then offer basic support for calls, messages and contacts, but it has some limitations. For example, it won’t support replying to group messages or sending media in messages. And because the messages are session-based, they’ll only come through when the phone is directly connected to the PC.
Notifications, meanwhile, will be delivered to the PC through Windows notifications. That means users can check them, pin them and dismiss them from the Windows interface.
Phone Link requires an iPhone with iOS 14 or higher, Windows 11, a Bluetooth connection and the latest version of the Phone Link app, which is preinstalled with Windows 11. Support is not available for iPad (iPadOS) or MacOS at this time.
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