Last week, I wrote about my longing for Windows users to have the same robust experience macOS users have for accessing iMessage on their Mac devices. Intel’s Unison app, now available on select Intel Evo-certified laptops from HP, Lenovo and Acer — and possibly more Windows laptops in the future — is a modest step in the right direction.

With that in mind, I’ve moderated hopes for Microsoft’s updated Phone Link app, which is now available in Windows 11’s preview build 22623.1325. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s attempt to forge robust iPhone text messaging support in Windows is equally weak.

Microsoft formally provides access to iMessage on Windows using its Phone Link program. For Windows Insiders, a preview of the upgraded app is now possible. With the upgrade, the updated Phone Link app enables iPhone users to make and receive calls, send and receive messages using iMessage, and view their phone alerts from inside Windows 11. The program also allows iPhone users to connect their handsets to Windows laptops or PCs. ,

What is phone link?

Unlike the Intel Unison app, which users will need to download from the Windows App Store on both their PC and iPhone, Phone Link is embedded in this new preview build of Windows 11. The app connects Windows machines to iPhones via Bluetooth, sending instructions and messages. iMessage App.

microsoft phone link app messaging

Phone Link (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Sadly, Phone Link has the same limitations that plague the Intel Unison app. You can communicate directly from your PC with contacts who also have iPhones. However, you will not be able to participate in group messages or send pictures in communications. PC users will see their iMessage conversations in truncated form.

limits, limits, more limits

Only messages sent or received through the phone link are shown in discussions, so you won’t be able to see the entire communication history with the other party. This Microsoft app cannot differentiate between a text message received via iMessage and a regular SMS message; Phone Link uses neither a blue nor a green bubble, which is a significant text messaging experience concession compared to using an iPhone with a macOS device.

Since Phone Link can only display photographs on your phone, the app lags a lot when using a macOS device. The image limit is only 2,000 of your recent pictures; Neither video files nor albums are supported. Also, you can’t transfer files and images from your computer to the phone, and there’s no way to transfer files from phone to computer. These limits are almost laughable compared to using a macOS device with an iPhone.

on the bright side

Microsoft has never enabled calls or messaging for iPhone users until now, and iPhone integration for Windows still isn’t comparable to what’s offered for Android. In addition to being native, Phone Link is part of Windows 11, unlike previous PC Link apps from Intel, Dell, and other companies that provided a basic level of iPhone integration.

It looks like with Phone Link, Microsoft seeks to provide the same positive Android phone experience that Windows users now have for iPhone users. In that regard, Microsoft’s heart seems to be in the right place, although its execution with Phone Link falls short.

While the Phone Link doesn’t have any Photos connectivity, I should point out that Microsoft’s Windows 11 Photos app already has iCloud Photos integration. Eventually, this capability may appear in PhoneLink as well. In addition to this new Phone Link capability, other important new features in the Windows 11 Preview update include AI-powered Bing on the taskbar, a screen recording tool, and advanced touch customization.

Microsoft began testing this week with a “limited number” of testers. If interested, you can try out the new Phone Link functionality for iOS via the Dev, Beta, and Release Preview channels for Windows Insiders. Microsoft’s Windows team has indicated that it will broaden the preview’s availability to additional Insiders over time based on the feedback the company gathers with this first set of Insiders.

same old ecosystem story

I’ve mentioned this repeatedly in previous analyses, but the lack of tight integration between the iPhone and Windows is a significant problem for the industry.

Solutions like Microsoft Phone Link, Intel Unison, and Dell and others are all workarounds that feel gimmicky and patchwork-like, especially for users who have played in Apple’s ecosystem for a limited amount of time.

While I give credit to Intel and Microsoft for trying to solve the problem, both companies’ hands are tied until Apple fully supports the iPhone in Windows.

With the overall PC market returning to its pre-pandemic flat (or even contracting) levels this year, perhaps coupled with recessionary conditions that will lengthen the PC buying cycle, there will be real growth in the Windows ecosystem. The lack of iPhone integration is hard for both the consumers. and business.

windows 11 high points

Keeping the iPhone integration issue aside, there’s a lot to like in Windows 11, which has turned into a compelling alternative to macOS.

Compared to Windows 10 and earlier versions, Windows 11 offers faster startup times, better resource management, and better laptop battery life. In the user interface area, Windows 11 features a redesigned UI with new animations and visual effects. It also introduces a new Start menu design that places app icons at the center of the screen, which promises usability benefits.

Windows 11 also sports new productivity enhancements with a new feature called Snap Layouts, which allows users to keep multiple apps side-by-side with predefined layouts.

A new virtual desktop feature in the latest Windows 11 lets users create multiple desktops for different tasks and several new security features, such as a built-in ransomware protection tool, hardware-based isolation for sensitive processes, and better security for remote working scenarios. make capable. ,

Finally, Windows 11 is designed to be backward-compatible (a historical Windows strength) with most Windows 10 applications and hardware.

While Windows’ lack of iPhone integration ultimately doesn’t undermine Windows 11’s value proposition, iPhone integration is a missed opportunity for Microsoft that may never be resolved.

Cross-platform interoperability is a critical element of the Apple ecosystem, and it’s hard to imagine any scenario where Apple hands Intel or Microsoft the “keys to the kingdom” because there’s no business upside for Apple.

The losers, of course, are the millions of Windows users who own iPhones and have to sub-optimize their overall productivity.

Last week Apple launched new iPhones with many interesting new features. One feature reports if you’ve been in an accident (assuming your phone can connect), and the other connects the phone to satellite in a very limited way for the times when a cellular tower is out of range.

Starlink and T-Mobile are promoting a yet non-existent service that should make Apple’s satellite service look like it’s survived years of modems. All of these follow AST Spacemobile which will install its first 4/5G satellite next year to begin its coverage.

Let’s talk about our future of satellite cellular services this week. Then we’ll close with our product of the week: a very affordable pair of active noise-canceling headphones that could be perfect for those who take long trips and need to sleep with them.

apple fills a need

Apple’s emergency SOS via satellite service, which will be the first for these next-generation services, is very limited. One big advantage of this is that it will work long before the others reach critical mass.

If you’re in the middle of nowhere and need help, it won’t do any good to have a service that doesn’t work yet, so Apple service limitations only become a problem for Apple when other services become critical. Mass. Look for it in or around 2025.

This service only works in open areas that have a clear view to the sky and, I expect, you may have to do a little dancing sometimes to get enough signal. It won’t work if you fall into a ravine, get stuck in a cave, or are in a bunker.

Yet, every year there are a ton of people who get stuck at my place of residence. What they don’t realize is that the weather here can change very quickly, and that if you’re too far from your car or civilization in only shorts and a T-shirt, you’ll need help if this happens, or you’re likely to lose. Chances are anything from a few fingers to your life.

The app helps you find a satellite and then, through menus, uses the phone’s intelligence to narrow down the message and pass it on to someone who can help you. However, it can take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes for the satellite to get a clean line for this to work. So, if you have a broken leg, or are otherwise handicapped, you may still be out of luck.

Apple is working with Globalstar for this feature. iPhone 14 users, who initially got this facility, will get two years of this service for free. Until then, there will likely be alternatives available, and this initial offering will undoubtedly be even better.

The service is better than nothing and right now, unless you want to invest in an expensive Iridium (or other satellite) phone, it’s your only choice. Iridium’s service, while expensive, I remember it being much less expensive than traditional cellular, but still more expensive.

Starlink and T-Mobile

Elon Musk has an idea of ​​a minute and many are surprisingly good. Although I’ve worked with a guy like Musk and know it’s a nightmare to work for or with someone like this because not every idea is good and generally, people like this can’t tell the difference Huh.

Having said that, the idea of ​​turning Starlink satellites into a telephone solution is interesting. However, given that Starlink is already experiencing bandwidth issues, this service could make Starlink less attractive if it reduces bandwidth for existing Starlink customers.

Musk also tends to overpromise and underdeliver, miss announced delivery dates, and cause a fair number of problems for his companies. Still, SpaceX is the cheapest launch platform currently in service, surprisingly reliable, and most Starlink reviews I’ve seen have been impressively positive.

Personally, I would have waited until Starlink was profitable and performing extensively before offering another service on the network, but that’s not Musk’s way. So far, their big, risky bets have mostly worked out. But he and his companies remain a big mistake away from the crisis. Given the complexity of his companies, it looks like he’ll eventually hit a bad wall.

The service will initially be more capable than Apple’s satellite offering but will not be true cellular, and will require upgrades to the Starlink satellites. A beta of this service is rumored to last until the end of 2023, with full service expected within the next year in areas where there is a significant mass of new satellites. If it doesn’t reach critical mass, T-Mobile and Starlink are in an interesting position to be the first to succeed with a satellite-based smartphone solution.

AST Spacemobile

AST Spacemobile, which is set to launch its Low Earth satellite in 2023, has partnered with companies such as Vodafone and AT&T to provide a robust route to early worldwide coverage. They would need between 45 and 65 satellites to reach critical mass, assuming no major market changes or the emergence of largely better competitive technology, before the end of 2025.

The company is wrapped up with 2,400 patents and should be able to provide good 4/5G coverage once critical mass is achieved. The service will be treated like international travel or on-plane service to areas that have cellular options, so your phone will work where it currently doesn’t. Or as primary phone service for people who are outside cellular coverage areas, such as remote land or sea locations.

This will certainly improve ship-to-shore and most radio solutions for police and first responders are operating in areas where there is either no cellular service or where cellular service has been disrupted. Unlike the other two services, AST SpaceMobile will be like regular cellular in that it will support both voice and data and will not have the limitations of the other two services. But its quality and data throughput will surpass terrestrial cellular services indefinitely.

This service should work on planes as well and be better than what you currently get on airplanes. It will support both voice and data whereas planes currently only support data (people are against getting cellular coverage on planes for fear that those using it will drive them crazy with loud incessant phone calls).

wrapping up

With Apple’s announcement last week, we are now in the world of consumer satellite cellular communications and the growing potential to be able to call for help from anywhere in the world, regardless of where the cell tower is located.

This can be huge for those who find themselves in trouble or lost in remote areas and provides peace of mind for parents who can’t locate their children.

Apple is just the beginning. Companies like Starlink and T-Mobile promise far better data bandwidth than Apple, and AST Spacemobile promises global general-purpose 4/5G cellular service that includes both voice and data in the same general time frame. .

By the latter part of this decade, the idea of ​​going out of service may be as obsolete as the need to find a phone booth was in the 1990s. That, my friends, is something worth looking forward to.

Technical Product of the Week

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

I travel a lot, so I have a lot of noise-canceling headphones with me.

Most headphones are not only very expensive, they are also not comfortable to sleep on a plane. Many are in the $250+ range, which is way too expensive for kids and, considering I leave these on airplanes, they add up for me too. Also, I don’t like earbuds or earplugs because they make my ears itch, which makes it difficult to sleep.

Well, I may have found the perfect solution in a set of headphones you can sleep in: the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Adaptive Noise Canceling Headphones. At a retail price of around $150 on Amazon, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but they’re a ton less expensive than most of the headphones I currently own.

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones (Images Credit: Soundcore)

These are an over-the-ear design with very soft pads, which make them much easier to sleep than my Bose and Sony headphones, and far more comfortable long-term for me than earbuds or on-ear products.

The Space Q45 headphones offer 50-hour battery life (I haven’t tested it), support Bluetooth 5.3, and have one of the most robust noise cancellation solutions I’ve tested—including five levels of noise cancellation Which are either turned off automatically or can be controlled by an app. If someone wants to chat with you – and you want to listen – they have a voice passthrough button.

These headphones have big 40mm drivers that lend themselves to decent lows and the sound quality was pretty good, to my ears, with significant range. For those who need an over-the-ear, affordable, noise-canceling solution they can sleep with, the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Headphones may be the ideal solution—and it’s my product of the week .

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Unless you’re one of those rare people who shy away from cell phone use, you’re walking around with a cyber bomb in your pocket.

Smartphone malware is an ever-increasing threat. More than 5 billion people use mobile phones worldwide. More than 90% of those individuals rely on smart- or Internet-enabled phones, with an average of 40 installed apps on each phone.

By the end of this year, more than 200 billion apps will have been downloaded from the virtual app store. Therein lies the danger.

Official Apple and Google-controlled software stores are cautious in weeding out unsafe apps. But many cell phone users rely on rogue and third-party download repositories that become overrun with infectious malware.

The danger doesn’t end there at App Stores. Cybercriminals have a toolbox full of ways to slip malicious mobile malware onto your phone. All you have to do is visit the wrong website, click on a link embedded in an email or text message, or open an attached document to enable Cyber ​​Trap.

know the risks

Mobile malware is a growing cyber security concern. This may result in the theft and subsequent sale of your personal data.

Adware is now the cause of 42% of new mobile malware worldwide. Banking malware threats, especially on Android devices, have increased by up to 80%.

According to the latest reports regarding enterprise security, having most of the free or even paid antivirus apps on your phone does little to help detect or prevent sophisticated cyber attacks. About half of free Android antivirus programs do not detect malware effectively.

iPhone security isn’t impenetrable either. Although Android malware is much more prevalent than iOS infections, cybercriminals are getting better access to iPhones. Both platforms are susceptible to malware that opens backdoors into phones through text messaging and other shared file exchanges.

Cybercriminals want your data. Most mobile malware is designed to peer into your digital data to steal your various usernames and passwords. This moves them to your bank accounts.

But cyber thieves do not stop here. They also have invasive software that lets them view your audio and video and track your locations.

What to do

Start by fixing some of the shortcomings in the way you use your smartphone. You want to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to take advantage of you. Taking stock of your installed apps is a great start.

android phone

Go to the Settings panel and open the Permissions section. Its exact location will vary depending on the Android version installed and whatever user interface (UI) is used by the phone’s manufacturer.

Normally, you can go to Settings > Apps > View All Apps. Then tap on an app’s name and scroll down the list to tap Permissions.

Check each app for permissions granted by default. Remove all that the app needs. Question why access to the camera, microphone, documents and photos is needed. These are the ways app developers collect your data in order to monetize the software.

Be sure to toggle on the option to remove permissions and free up space for unused apps. Even better, long press on the app name to uninstall the apps you don’t use.


Go to Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security

Work your way through the menu items to set your preferred options. Pay particular attention to the Apps using Apple ID section. This is where you can find third-party apps, such as fitness or email apps, associated with your accounts.

Keep this list short. Be sure to remove apps you no longer use by touching the Edit button and the red “Remove” icon.

Got Malware?

Be suspicious at the first sign of your phone behaving strangely. Both Android and Apple smartphone platforms offer the same set of common symptoms that indicate that malware may be running inside your device.

It helps if you know the most recent apps you’ve installed and the documents or text links you have open. This knowledge can help you troubleshoot a potential malware issue.

If your phone has one or more of these six symptoms, it may be caused by malware:

1. Unusual messages and pop-ups
Inappropriate messages or unwanted advertising pop-ups are sure signs of mobile malware or spyware.

2. Titles in your app drawer or library that you don’t recognize
Search the Internet for the title. This can indicate whether the app is secure or not. Delete all unknown app titles.

3. Slow Performance
This could mean that you have almost maxed out on your available RAM (Random Access Memory). Remove unused apps and restart your phone. If the slowness persists, suspect malware.

4. High Internet usage and/or increased battery consumption
These two symptoms often go hand in hand when malware runs on a device. See below for how to perform a system reset to clear your memory and storage, as well as remove malware.

5. Unusual noise or static on your phone connection
This is a telltale sign that a surveillance app is spying on your phone conversations.

6. Funny Voicemail Messages or Text Messages
Receiving messages and calls from unknown parties are major indicators that access to your phone has been compromised.

remove malware

Resetting or restoring your smartphone is one of the most effective ways to remove suspected malware. Before you waste time and money buying and downloading so called mobile security solutions, do this. Like most battery saver and memory clearing apps, they are pretty much useless.

When finished with these steps you will need to set up your phone again.

Follow these steps to reset your Android smartphone:

Make sure your data is backed up to Google Drive or a comparable solution (see below). Backing up to Google Drive isn’t a requirement, but it’s an easy way to proceed. You need to at least make a backup of your personal data. Otherwise, a copy of your data that was on the device prior to resetting will no longer exist.

  • Open Settings and select System
  • choose reset option
  • Select Erase All Data (Factory Reset)
  • Select reset phone at the bottom
  • When prompted to confirm that you want to do a factory reset, tap Erase Everything.
  • Re-download and install your apps from Google Play

Follow these steps to reset your iPhone:

Back up your data using iCloud or any of the other solutions listed below. However, make sure that your stored iCloud data is not infected.

  • Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Tap “Erase All Content and Settings” to clear all apps and data – again, make sure you back up your data to iCloud or to a local drive!
  • Restart your iPhone and set it up again
  • Re-download and install your apps from the App Store

We cannot stress enough to make a backup copy of your data.

You will not have access to the data on your device before the reset. So please understand that backing up your data is your only defense against losing it.

Alternative backup locations not mentioned above are Microsoft’s OneDrive or other cloud storage service you use, an XD card in the device, your local computer, or external media such as a USB drive.