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How to enable Android notifications on the Windows 10 preview

Derek Walter | June 21, 2016
The feature is a work in progress, but it offers a hint at how your PC might integrate more deeply with an Android phone.

When you’re tapping away at the computer it’s quite a nuisance to stop what you’re doing for the buzzing, ringing nag of a smartphone that’s on your desk. Each vibration or bing usually means another text message, email, sports score, or gaming update that distracts from what’re doing.

It may not be that way for long. After teasing that Android notifications would come to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer, the feature is already available if you’re on a Windows Insider build—and you’re willing to share some data with Cortana and put up with the usual bugs that come with unfinished software.

android notifications
Leave your phone on the desk and let Android notifications come to you.

It’s very much a beta, with lots of limitations as to how deeply the notifications interact with the apps they’re coming from. But if you like to live somewhat dangerously, it’s a worthwhile exercise to see what Microsoft is up to, and could prove to be a compelling reason for Android users to align themselves with Windows 10.

Jump to the edge

As mentioned, you’ll need to run the Windows 10 preview build in order to get your hands on the feature. The caveat is that things can get unstable and buggy, and you could be inundated with frequent updates.

That said, I’ve been running this version of Windows on a Surface Pro 4 without any major issues. (Furthermore, the Ink Center is pretty useful if you’re on a pen-friendly machine and want to check out another prerelease feature.)

Most importantly you’ll need to have enabled Cortana in Windows and then download and install the Android app on your phone. Sign in to the app with your Microsoft account and then choose Settings > Sync Notifications and select which type of information you’d like to get pinged about on the desktop.

cortana sync notifications
Cortana can sync missed calls, app notifications, and other content to your Windows 10 PC. 

Touch App notifications sync to choose which applications will ping you on your PC. By default third-party applications are turned off. Depending on how many apps you have on this list, toggling them on one at a time could take a while, but you’ll be able to have direct control over what gets mirrored to your PC. Besides, you won’t want to select all of them, because it’s not like you need more Clash of Clan updates on another device.

Another control panel you need to visit is found in Windows under Cortana > Settings > Manage Notifications. Then make sure that Send Notifications between devices is turned on.


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