Cortana for Android syncs notifications, lets you leave your phone in your pocket

windows 10 free update promotion file removal dark
At Microsoft’s Build conference this year, the Redmond-based company announced new “cloud notification” integration that’ll see Android phones gain the ability to mirror incoming messages, calls, and texts to a paired Windows 10 PC’s tray. It didn’t take long for the feature to appear in an updated Cortana app for Android and a beta build of Windows 10 in early April, but it appeared unfinished; only battery and missed call notifications could be enabled. A new version of the Android Cortana client released on Thursday, though, is significantly more robust.

Most notably, the latest Cortana app for Android adds several toggles to the “Sync notifications” tab within its Settings menu. In addition to familiar options for mirroring notifications about your phone’s battery level and incoming phone calls, it’s gained a setting to mirror notifications to a Windows 10 PC on a per-app basis. Enabling the new setting requires a few steps, including updating your PC to Windows 10 Insider build 14342 or newer, associating your handset with the Microsoft you use to sign into your PC, granting the Cortana app access to your phone’s notifications, and enabling notification syncing on PC. But once the prerequisites are met, getting phone notifications through your PC’s a seamless, hands-off affair: they appear in your notification drawer as a native app would.

Notifications come in relatively quickly — in a manner of seconds, on average — and convey the gist of your Android phone’s messages, but they aren’t perfect. None of the notifications are actionable, which is to say you can’t reply to e-mails or dismiss bothersome Facebook app pop-ups from your computer — those sorts of tasks have to be performed on your phone. And many apps, including Gmail and the organizational app Trello, mirror only bits and pieces of messages: Gmail, for example, indicates the number of unread e-mails in your Inbox (e.g., “3 new messages”) in mirrored Windows 10 notifications, but doesn’t provide a preview of those messages.

It’s the early days, of course — Android notification integration’s not slated to hit stable builds of Windows 10 until this summer, likely to coincide with the firm’s Anniversary Update. But the feature’s nowhere near as robust as the sort of mirroring enabled by apps like Pushbullet and AirDroid, both of which allow you to dismiss notifications. Still, if native, if you’ve got an Android phone and native, free notification mirroring’s a must, Microsoft’s solution represents the cream of the crop.


Tips and tricks to get you started with your new Fitbit Inspire HR

The Inspire HR may be an entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit's lineup, but the device still has plenty of features to explore. These are our favorite tips and tricks to help you use the Inspire HR to its fullest potential.

Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks to get started with your new smartwatch

Got your hands on a Fitbit Versa Lite? The smartwatch may be the pared down version of the more expensive Fitbit Versa, but there's still plenty for you to tweak in the settings. Here are our Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks.

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.