As much as I love my iPad and iPhone, they still lack in some of the functionality of a full-blown traditional laptop or desktop. Steve Jobs compared traditional computers to worker trucks. In a way, he was right, but they are still necessary for some heavy-lifting (for now).
So the question is this: how can we have the best of both worlds. In other words, how can we have the ultra-portability and simplicity of an iOS device but at the same time, the full functionality of a traditional computer? The answer is today's iOS 3rd-party app recommendation.
Citrix specializes in remote access and screen-sharing. They have several products that I personally use, but the one I wanted to focus on in this post is GoToMyPC. Despite the name, this app (combined with the service) works great on iOS, Mac and PC. For me, I usually connect to either a Mac or PC from my Mac or an iOS device.
The GoToMyPC iOS app is free, as long as you are paying for their monthly subscription service ($10/month and up, depending on the plan you choose).
Before you can connect to a remote computer using the app, you must first install a remote agent (application) on the computer you want to connect to. To do this, you will go to www.gotomypc.com, log in, then choose the option to add that computer to your account.
Once you have installed the agent on the remote computer, you will be able to connect to it remotely, giving you full access to the system (as if you were sitting at the computer). There are several ways to do this (via a web browser on any computer, iPhone, iPad or Android). Specifically for this post, we will look at how to do this from an iPhone (the experience is the same on an iPad, only larger).
When you're ready to connect to a remote computer, simply launch the GoToMyPC app on your device, and log in. When you have logged in, you will see a list of computers that has your remote agent installed on it. It will look something like this:
In my case, I have the agent installed on one Windows PC and three Macs (one of which is offline right now). To connect to, just tap on the computer name, enter the passcode you created when you installed the agent, and you are off and running! The experience will look something like this once you've connected (as shown on an iPhone):
Not enough detail for you? No worries. You can use the native pinch & zoom to enlarge any area of the screen, giving you full detail. There's also a drop-down menu accessible from the top of the display that will give you quick access to a keyboard and other features.
Connecting to a remote computer using an iPad is a slightly better experience, purely because the screen is larger and easier to work with. Connecting to a remote computer from another traditional computer is even more natural because you have a mouse and keyboard.
Regardless of how you connect, this is an amazingly empowering app and service. When I travel, I rarely travel with my MacBook Pro knowing that at any time, I have full access to it while on the road using GoToMyPC.
Amazing? Absolutely. This is why I highly recommend it. Go to www.gotomypc.com today and try it yourself for 30 days for free.