Soon, you'll be able to stream Windows through a Microsoft app on iPad, Mac, and iPhone

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Microsoft's new Windows App aims to let users run Windows apps and devices on platforms from Mac to smartphones, and all without requiring a local PC to act as a host.

Microsoft is releasing Windows App for the Mac as well as <a href=iOS and web browsers" height="720" >
Microsoft is releasing Windows App for the Mac as well as iOS and web browsers



The new Windows App is partly a rebrand of the company's longstanding Microsoft Remote Desktop, which saw a significant update on the Mac in 2021. That app is still available while the Windows App is in a beta test, but Microsoft is at least deprecating some of its features, if not the whole service.

"Windows App is your gateway to Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365, Microsoft Dev Box, Remote Desktop Services, and remote PCs," says Microsoft in a new blog post, "securely connecting you to Windows devices and apps."

"You can use Windows App on many different types of devices on different platforms and form factors, such as desktops and laptops, tablets, smartphones, and through a web browser," it continues. "When using a web browser on a desktop or laptop, you can connect without having to download and install any software."

Currently available for the Mac only via TestFlight, the Windows App requires macOS Monterey or later. For the iPhone and iPad, it requires iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or later.

Windows App running on Mac
Windows App running on Mac



Windows App is also available to use via a web browser, though Microsoft notes that it "doesn't support mobile web browsers." It does, though, support Safari version 11 (from 2017) or later, plus Firefox 55, Chrome 57, or Microsoft Edge 79 or later.

This means that Windows will effectively be able to run on many devices that it currently does not support. Although at present that list does not appear to include Android.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    And why would I want to do this?
    lordjohnwhorfinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    My thought exactly!  I think I've added six or seven years to my lifespan by assiduously avoiding Microsoft products.  Why would I want to use Windows App?

    I guess I could live in hope and believe that Windows App is going to be less buggy than Windows.  I fear that the more charitable side of my nature isn't that strong.
    lordjohnwhorfinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    iOS_Guy80 said:
    And why would I want to do this?
    From the perspective of a home user, I agree.  If you're a software developer or using Macs in an enterprise setting where Microsoft 365 is prevalent then this service may come in handy.
    auxioCurtisHightentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    Use case for me; I use a MOTU 828x for audio I/O, and they never moved the firmware updater past MacOS 10. I used a Macintel MacBook Pro and Bootcamp to do the job, but this would be useful for one-off jobs like this.
    roundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,707member
    Tried it out. Since I don't have any cloud PCs set up on Azure, it's basically just Microsoft Remote Desktop. I could see this being useful for organizations who want to provide cloud access to internally configured PCs, and it looks like there are ways to create virtual PCs on Azure servers, but otherwise it's the same ole remote desktop technology that's been around for ages.
    roundaboutnowdewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    DoctorQ said:
    Use case for me; I use a MOTU 828x for audio I/O, and they never moved the firmware updater past MacOS 10. I used a Macintel MacBook Pro and Bootcamp to do the job, but this would be useful for one-off jobs like this.
    Don’t you still need a PC to stream? They’re not providing it, are they?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    anomeanome Posts: 1,531member
    I've had no end of problems getting RDP to work from my Mac to my Windows box, so I'll have to see if this works better. And whether it runs fast enough for games.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    And the elephant in the room of that main image!? What a rough mock-up! Was that AI generated?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    OnLive could do this on the console and in a browser.  

    They had to quickly change the instance from retail Win to Server, as they only had the rights to Server for distribution.

    Can't entirely remember how/where you saved, IIRC is was on a local device.  

    It was still pretty cool.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    I just don't see the point.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,284member
    anome said:
    I've had no end of problems getting RDP to work from my Mac to my Windows box, so I'll have to see if this works better. And whether it runs fast enough for games.
    Hmmm. I've been using Microsoft Remote Desktop from iPad and Mac on several different Macs for several years on my private local network. It's worked remarkably well on everything from a late 2012 iMac to Mac Studio to M2 MacBook Air to iPad Pro. 

    The Windows machine must be Windows Pro, not Windows Home, and remote desktop must be enabled on the Windows machine. The Windows machine must be configured to accept username+password login even if you normally log in using a PIN or Windows Hello. The login credentials for the PC are saved in the settings associated with the thumbnail launcher in the RD app. Do not select the "Optimize for Retina displays" if you are using a Mac client, even with a 5K display on the client. Other than the login credentials and PC name, which you can get from Finder under Network, I leave everything else at the defaults.

    You will get a certificate warning when it is trying to connect but you can just hit continue. One oddity of late is that connecting from a M1/M2 Mac to a Windows machine using RDP takes much longer to connect than it does from an Intel Mac. The Remote Desktop app on Mac is supposedly running natively on Apple Silicon so I don't know why it takes significantly longer to connect. On my old iMac it connects nearly instantaneously. Immediately prior to writing this comment I installed Remote Desktop on my new M2 MacBook Air, created a PC launcher, put in my PC login credentials and target PC name, and it connected (with the certificate warning) on the very first try.

    Gaming? I've never tried gaming with RDP. 
    roundaboutnowmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Is this somewhat the same as running Windows via RealVNC?
  • Reply 13 of 15
    Here's a potential scenario: I used to work at an educational institution that had a specialized, Windows-only, DRM-protected, hard-drive based digital research library that only ran on the one PC where it had been installed. The only way to use it without walking over to that PC was via Remote Desktop over Wi-Fi. I can see this filling a similar need.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,284member
    Is this somewhat the same as running Windows via RealVNC?
    Functionality, pretty similar, but Remote Desktop runs in a separate Windows session on the server side and only renders the interactive desktop on the remote terminal/app/client side. Thus the remote terminal is interacting with the server at a function call level. The server side does not show a local desktop session and appears to be logged out. 

    All of the VNC apps that I’ve used still run the full desktop on the server side and basically replicate the remoted machine, I.e. server, side desktop on the client side. If a user is sitting in front of the server side desktop they will see everything the remote user is doing and continue to have control of the remoted machine. 

    Each protocol has its pros and cons. The RDP style is better if you want to take exclusive control of the remote machine without the remote machine showing what you are doing. This is important if, for example, you’re remotng into your desktop at work from your home computer.

    The VNC style is better if you want to have shared control of the remote machine with the remote user still at the remote machine, which is nice for supporting remote users. The VNC method is also good for monitoring or observing a remote machine without trying to control it so you don’t have two users trying to control the same machine at the same time. 

    I’ve found that the RDP style has always been the faster way to go with minimal lag and more flexible with respect to video resolution, but Apple’s screen sharing is pretty darn fast for Mac to Mac remote access considering it’s a shared control model. 
    edited November 2023
  • Reply 15 of 15
    anomeanome Posts: 1,531member
    dewme said:
    anome said:
    I've had no end of problems getting RDP to work from my Mac to my Windows box, so I'll have to see if this works better. And whether it runs fast enough for games.
    Hmmm. I've been using Microsoft Remote Desktop from iPad and Mac on several different Macs for several years on my private local network. It's worked remarkably well on everything from a late 2012 iMac to Mac Studio to M2 MacBook Air to iPad Pro. 

    The Windows machine must be Windows Pro, not Windows Home, and remote desktop must be enabled on the Windows machine. The Windows machine must be configured to accept username+password login even if you normally log in using a PIN or Windows Hello. The login credentials for the PC are saved in the settings associated with the thumbnail launcher in the RD app. Do not select the "Optimize for Retina displays" if you are using a Mac client, even with a 5K display on the client. Other than the login credentials and PC name, which you can get from Finder under Network, I leave everything else at the defaults.

    You will get a certificate warning when it is trying to connect but you can just hit continue. One oddity of late is that connecting from a M1/M2 Mac to a Windows machine using RDP takes much longer to connect than it does from an Intel Mac. The Remote Desktop app on Mac is supposedly running natively on Apple Silicon so I don't know why it takes significantly longer to connect. On my old iMac it connects nearly instantaneously. Immediately prior to writing this comment I installed Remote Desktop on my new M2 MacBook Air, created a PC launcher, put in my PC login credentials and target PC name, and it connected (with the certificate warning) on the very first try.

    Gaming? I've never tried gaming with RDP. 
    Apparently there's a bit of a problem with using Microsoft IDs for RDP in general, not just for connections from Mac to Windows. I've been working through some of the solutions for that, but still not working yet. (Some of the solutions are bit more fiddly than I was prepared to do last night when I was messing about with it.)

    And, yes, it's running Windows Pro, and RDP is enabled, etc, etc, etc...

    As for gaming, it would just be handy to not have to switch machines if I could run the games via RDP, but, realistically, I'm not really expecting it to be a great experience.
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