Top 10 remote desktop applications

Remote desktops

One of the advantages of touchscreen smartphones is they provide a large screen perfect for accessing your computer remotely, whether you need to access applications or documents.

Remote Desktop applications are available on all platforms, both over-network and whilst away from the network.

Some use a third party server as a path point, others use ActiveSync, but they all render the screen to fit on your mobile, allowing you to carry out most of the tasks you can on your PC but on the move.

Here we round up the 10 best applications across smartphone platforms.

Apple iPhone/iPad

LogMeIn Ignition, 17.99


LogMeIn Ignition is probably the most well known iPhone and iPad remote desktop application and that's because it's so popular.

You'll have to sign up for a LogMeIn account before you can use the service and download the software onto your Mac or PC. However, once you've installed the software, you can log into your computer with one tap, whether the machine is at home or in the office.

LogMeIn Ignition allows you to access all of your files and programs even play games, so you can be sure to have everything you need while you're on the go.

Version 1.1.159 has introduced iPhone 4 support, meaning you can use the device's impressive Retina Display technology and view your connected computer in higher resolution.

TeamViewer, Free


Teamviewer is a free remote desktop client that supports access for both Windows and Macs.

It works on both iPhone and iPad and allows you to use multi-touch gestures for left click, right click, drag and drop, scroll wheel, zoom and change monitor functions.

TeamViewer also allows you to view all users who are online, accessing the same computer as you whether that's family or colleagues.

Although TeamViewer is free for personal use with all its features available, you'll have to pay 59.99 for the Pro version that covers commercial use.

Wyse Pocketcloud, 8.99


Wyse PocketCloud is available for iPhone and iPad and is the cheapest option available for commercial use.

At just 8.99, it really is a reasonable service, especially when you consider it's supported across almost all Windows-based platforms including Windows 2003, XP Professional, Windows Vista Ultimate plus Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

Wyse PocketCloud's latest update has been designed to benefit iPad users, offering external VGA support so you can hook your iPad to a VGA output to use the app and improved multi-touch shortcuts.

You can also use the same client across iPad and iPhone, as long as you use the same iTunes account, meaning you only have to pay once and the app will optimise across the two platforms.

Wyse PocketCloud is a well-priced RDP client for Windows, although it doesn't yet support Windows Home editions or Mac.

Mocha RemoteDesktop, 3.49


Mocha RemoteDesktop allows you to access any XP, Vista or Windows 7 PC from your iPhone.

The app allows you to scroll and zoom as the Safari browser, with a selection of three keyboards for text input.

The latest version of Mocha RemoteDesktop includes VGA video output and multitasking for compatible devices running iOS4. You can also view your computer in high resolution on the iPhone 4 if you've installed the latest update too.

If you're not prepared to shell out 3.49 (which we think is very reasonable), you can download the free Lite version as a trial first.


PhoneMyPC, $9.99 (beta)

phone my pc

PhoneMyPC allows you to remotely connect to up to three Windows PC from anywhere, even on a PC secured behind a Firewall.

Set up is simple all you need to do is install a server app onto your computer, as is the case with all remote desktop apps. Your phone and PC will either connect through your Wi-Fi network or through a hosted server.

A number of control processes are supported, meaning you can easily view a list of running programs, change execution priority and close or terminate any running programs.

You can also take screenshots of your PC's screen and save them to your phone's SD card.

Remote RDP Enterprise, $19.98


Remote RDP Enterprise is a more expensive remote desktop application for Android devices, but it allows you to control your servers and PC when away from the network.

The app supports multi-touch gestures and you can also customise shortcuts to suit the processes you will need to carry out the most.

You can effortlessly share files between computer and phone, and unlike most other RDP clients, Remote RDP Enterprise supports audio, allowing you to run a VoIP client and view web pages with sound enabled.

XtraLogic Remote RDP, $19.95


XtraLogic Remote RDP is designed for IT managers that need to carry out the basics to remotely access employees' computers.

It's not as fully featured as a solution such as PhoneMyPC, but is not designed to have all the bells and whistles it's just designed to be flawless in what it can do.

You'll need to know your IP address to set up remote access and open holes in your firewall for access to computers behind.

However, RDP requires less bandwidth than other solutions and supports Microsoft Remote Assistance so administrators can repair a computer's problems remotely.


RDM Plus Remote Desktop, 31.75


RDM Plus Remote Desktop is one of the only remote desktop tools for BlackBerry available on App World.

Although viewing your whole desktop on a small BlackBerry screen as opposed to a larger touchcreen can be a little daunting, RDM's interface is optimised to ensure you can view as much as possible without squinting.

RDM allows you to surf the web using your computer's browser, check emails, plus read and edit documents wherever you are.

You can even access a computer hidden behind a Firewall.

Like all BlackBerry applications, RDM Plus Remote Desktop is a little more expensive than on other platforms, but it's a very well-featured app available for your BlackBerry.

Windows Mobile

Remote Desktop Mobile


Remote Desktop tool is preinstalled on most Windows Mobile devices and runs using either a local area network or ActiveSync if you're away from the LAN.

It's easy to set up because it's automatically configured to work with Windows PCs. On your PC, you just need to ensure you've activated Remote Desktop and turned on Remote Desktop in the Programs folder.

The best thing about Remote Desktop is it's free, but still allows you to retrieve documents, check a server or access all the apps you have on your computer from your mobile.

It's also much better at rending pages in comparison to web-based tools.

Mocha VNC, $20

mocha windows

Mocha VNC allows you to connect to a Windows, Mac OS or Linux computer from your Windows Mobile phone.

The client is available on a wide range of different devices, including the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and both touchscreen and non-touchscreen Windows Mobile handsets.

You can either use the virtual keyboard or an attached hardware keyboard, and the app is compatible for computers operating RealVNC, TightVNC, UltraVNC, OSXvnc and Apple Remote Desktop systems.

Unlike most other remote desktop clients, Mocha VNC does not support copying and pasting from a clipboard or sound.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.