Phone Link allows Windows device users to send and receive messages and calls from their iOS devices.
Microsoft has announced that iPhone users can now access iMessage on Windows devices through its Phone Link app. A preview version of the updated app is now available for Windows Insiders. By linking their iPhones to a Windows laptop or PC, users can send and receive messages through iMessage, make and receive calls, and see their phone’s notifications directly on their Windows 11 system.
To achieve this, Microsoft is using Bluetooth technology to connect Windows devices with iPhones, transmitting messages and commands to users’ Messages (iMessage) app. This means that PC users can message contacts who also have iPhones straight from their computers. However, there are some limitations, such as the inability to send pictures in messages or participate in group messages. As shown in the screenshot of the Phone Link app, PC users will see their iMessage conversations in a simplified format.
When asked about the process, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, explained that “we send the messages back and forth via Bluetooth, Apple I think in turn sends those as iMessage once it gets onto their system.”
This new feature will offer iPhone users greater flexibility and convenience in managing their messages and calls across different devices. It will also enhance the integration of iOS and Windows, enabling users to access key features from their iPhones on their Windows systems.
Phone Link’s integration for iOS has some limitations, including the inability to display the full message history and differentiate between standard text messages and those sent via iMessage. However, Microsoft’s integration is still a significant step forward for iPhone users who have never had messaging or call support from the company before. Phone Link is native to Windows 11 and bundled with the operating system, making it easier to use than alternative PC link apps from other companies.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, has acknowledged that the experience with Android is more advanced, but the company is still excited about offering Phone Link to iPhone users.
While there won’t be any photo integration in Phone Link, Microsoft has already integrated iCloud Photos into the Windows 11 Photos app, and this feature may appear in Phone Link in the future.
This new Phone Link support is being released alongside a major Windows 11 update that includes AI-powered Bing on the taskbar, a screen recording feature, and better touch optimizations. Windows Insiders in the Dev, Beta, and Release Preview channels will have the opportunity to test Phone Link’s iOS integration. Microsoft is starting with a small percentage of testers before increasing availability based on feedback.