There will certainly be times that you will find yourself in need of remotely connecting to your computer and controlling something. For me, it was as stupid as remotely turning the volume down to my desktop computer without having to get up from my bed. Now, on a normal day, I would be using Teamviewer to do just that. And then I realized, why don’t I use Chrome for that? Because, you know, these days almost everything can be done on Chrome.
So I gave Chrome Remove Desktop a try. I was fascinated with how quickly and smoothly it worked. I just had to write this post explaining how to remote control your computer using Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Chrome web browser and on your Android.
But first things first. Here’s what this app can do: i) This Chrome app can work just like a Teamviewer, but within the browser. You can connect to your other computers or you can connect to a friend’s computer for providing remote assistance. ii) You can even install Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Android and connect and control your computer from Android.
That sounds like everything that you need, right? Let’s start.
Chrome Remote Desktop on Computer
Head over to Chrome Web Store and install Chrome Remote Desktop app. You will need to be logged in to your Google account to install this app.
As soon as the app is installed, launch it from your Chrome Apps list. As soon as you do so, you will be prompted to authorize the app using your Google account. Clicking Continue opens up a pop up window where the application will request your permission to access your account. For some reason that pop-up might show up a couple of times. Just keep clicking “Accept” and “Continue” and eventually you’ll land on the following page.
Now as you can see, there are two options under Remote Assistance. If you click Share, you’ll be given a unique ID number that you’ll have to share with whomever you want to access your computer. If it’s the other way around, click the Access button and enter the ID given to you. And then a connection between the two computers will be initiated.
But we want to manage our own computers, right? That’s why we need to click the “Enable remote connections” below the My Computers header. Doing so will allow this computer to be connected to using your Google account. So click that button and wait for a host software to start downloading.
The host software is about 8 MB in size. You will need to install this on your computer before continuing. When the software is installed, you may need to restart Chrome as it didn’t work on my computer until I restarted it.
After restarting the Chrome, launch Chrome Remote Desktop app again and click “Enable remote connections” button. You’ll then be prompted to enter a six digit PIN number. This PIN number is the key to accessing this particular computer. So you will need to log in and enter this PIN number whenever you want to access this computer later.
After you enter the six digit PIN and press OK, a system dialog box will show up. Enter the PIN again and you’ll be set up in no time. When you’re done, you’ll see that your computer is listed under My Computers.
Enabling Chrome Remote Desktop on Android
So we have done setting up the computer. Please note that if you have two or more computers, you can add Chrome Remote Desktop following the procedures above. That will let you connect to any computer from your Android.
First, go to Google Play store and install Chrome Remote Desktop. When you sign in to the app, you’ll see that under My Computers, all of your computers where you have “enabled remote connection” are listed. Tap on whichever you want to connect to and enter the PIN number. Provided that both your Android and the remote computer is connected to the internet, you’ll be connected to the remote computer in no time.
Controlling desktop computer is a breeze. I was fascinated by how easy it was to control my 21.5″ 1080p display desktop computer from my 4.5″ 720p display Android phone. The whole desktop shows up on your smartphone and your touchscreen becomes the touchpad for your computer. You wont’ believe how fast and easy it is to use until you actually use it.
It’s worth mentioning that you may face some lags in response if your internet connection is slow. I tried this on a 512 kilobytes per second internet speed and the performance was optimum. So you should have no issue at all.
A Few Things to Note
Naturally, you will have some questions regarding this. Here’s some answer in advance:
Should Chrome be running all the time for Remote Desktop to work?
No, when you install Chrome Remote Desktop application, Chrome allows itself to run in the background. So even if Chrome is not running on the remote computer, you will be able to access the remote computer without any issue.
Do I need an Android to use Chrome Remote Desktop?
Absolutely not. You can establish a connection between two computers running Chrome browser where Chrome Remote Desktop is installed. Being able to connect to the computers using Android is a bonus feature. Other than that this works just like Teamviewer.
Will this work on my Chromebook?
Strangely, no. Google’s Support page notes that the screen sharing feature is only available on Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Chromebooks, or as Google says, Chrome devices, do not have this feature. This is a bummer and Google should bring this feature to Chrome OS devices as well.
So there we go! You can now connect remotely and control your computer from Android, from other computers, and help a friend in need. Just ask them to install Chrome Remote Desktop on their Chrome browser and share their ID with you so that you can access. But mostly, you’ll be happy how easy it makes your life to maintain your multiple computers from Android.
For me, I no longer have to get up from bed to change the volume or tracks on my desktop computer. What about you?