Who doesn’t use multiple devices to work on and access the web these days? Everywhere you go you see people with their eyes glued to their phones, checking their email, text messages and social updates. Then when you get to work or home you might continue browsing the web or writing emails on your computer.
Shouldn’t it be easy to start on one device and continue on another? Microsoft thinks so.
The company has built a new feature into Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update that makes it simpler to continue doing whatever you were doing on your phone. The feature is simply called Phone in the Settings app and it has a single plus button to add your phone.
It does not matter whether it is an Android phone or an iPhone and both will work, but I used my Android phone.
Click the plus and you are asked to enter your phone number. Microsoft then sends a text message to it a few seconds later and in it is a link.
Tap the link and it takes you to a free Microsoft app in the store, the Google Play Store in my case because I was using an Android phone. You must install the free app and run it at least once.
The Microsoft app adds an extra item to the Share options whenever you share something. If you are using a web browser on your phone, such as Chrome, you can open the Chrome menu by pressing the three dots and then tap Share. This displays all the sharing options applicable in this situation.
Tap Continue on PC and the phone connects to your computer (I am not sure what method is used). It automatically opens Microsoft Edge and goes to the web page you are currently viewing on your phone. You don’t need to do anything and it is all automatic.
It worked very smoothly and it is quite a clever feature. It took only a couple of seconds for Edge to open with the website on the phone. This continue feature works not only for web browsing, but for emails too.
I only have one PC running the Fall Creator’s Update (older versions of Windows are not supported) and no menus or options were presented. It just worked. Presumably if you had multiple PCs running the latest Windows, it would ask you which PC to continue on.
Get the feature now by using Chrome instead
This Continue on PC feature is not that revolutionary and there are alternatives that you can use right now. For example, if you use Chrome on any device, Android or iOS, and open the history menu in Chrome on the computer, you can see not just the current web page on your phone or tablet, but every tab. It takes just one click to open any tab on your desktop computer. In fact, it shows every tab in every browser on every computer and device, and you can open any page.
If you start writing an email on your phone and want to continue on the computer, you just tap the back button on the device. This saves it as a draft. You can then open the Mail app on the computer or go to the Gmail website and open the draft to continue. It is not quite as slick as Microsoft’s new feature, but it is not exactly hard to open your email and then open a draft.
What else will this feature be able to do in the future? Perhaps it will somehow let you start something in Word or Excel on a phone or tablet and then you can continue on your computer. However, we already have this. Word or Excel on the PC won’t automatically open and load the file, but you can double click it in the OneDrive folder using Explorer to open it in the Office app.
Google Docs lets you work anywhere of course, and you can switch from one device to another.
Continue on PC is good, but not revolutionary.