As versatile as iPhones are, they can’t do everything your PC can. If you’re not at your desk, however, you can use one of several iPhone apps to remotely access your PC. This allows you to run programs, as well as read and transfer files. Note that regardless of which app you pick, there are certain limitations on their use.
TeamViewer allows you to connect from one computer to another, providing full access to a remote machine’s desktop and programs. The company also has an iPhone app for connecting to your PC or any other PC you have the password for. Both the app and the service are completely free for private use, while licenses for business use start at $749 as of May 2013, with no subscription fee.
LogMeIn, free for basic users, provides access to PC or Mac computers from an iPhone or other mobile device. LogMeIn Pro adds support for HD streaming, file transfers and email attachments, as well as linking to cloud services such as Dropbox. As of May 2013, a Pro subscription costs around $70 per computer per year, or $15 per month, with discounts for volume purchases.
The Splashtop app connects to the Splashtop Streamer program on your computer, allowing for remote control. Splashtop claims its product performs far better than competitors’ products at providing a high frame rate, citing video streaming at 20 frames per second compared to under 5 frames per second on competitors’ products. As of May 2013, basic home use comes free, while the business edition costs $100 per user, per year.
The GoToMyPC iPhone app allows access to your computer and its associated network. GoToMyPC features a zoom tool for magnifying the remote screen by up to 300 percent, and a keyboard that supports special keys not regularly found on the iPhone keyboard. GoToMyPC does not offer a free plan as of May 2013, and an individual subscription costs $99 per year or about $10 per month.
With every app, you must first install the associated PC software, downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. Your PC must remain turned on and connected to the Internet for the connection to work. Even the best remote connections will experience some lag and loss of frame rate, making them unsuitable for precision work. Connecting via 3G or 4G instead of Wi-Fi will further slow down the link, and may quickly use up your data plan.