If you own an iPhone and a Mac, you don’t need to worry about making sure that your Apple devices work seamlessly together. Apple has cultivated an excellent ecosystem of products, hardware, and software over the years, allowing you to leave your iPhone sitting on the table, even if you get a text message or need to transfer files between devices. However, if you own an iPhone and a Windows PC, this hasn’t been the case, and while the iCloud for Windows app is pretty great following some recent updates, Microsoft and Intel have been implementing even more features to create a seamless ecosystem.
What Is Intel Unison?
Intel Unison isn’t the catchiest name out there, but it’s a new app that was released before the end of 2022 with the main goal of allowing users to connect their smartphones to select Windows 11 devices. By doing so, you’ll be able to respond to text messages, answer phone calls, and even transfer files between your smartphone and Windows 11 computer. This is the official description from Intel:
“Unlock your connected world and multi-device experience to enjoy the freedom to work across operating systems. Intel Unison seamlessly connects your PC and devices for a universal, easy-to-use experience. Intel Unison enables users to connect Android/iOS mobile phones to PC by creating one integrated experience. Users can work on the PC while also answering calls, sending text messages, viewing missed calls, and interacting with notifications using a PC keyboard, mouse, touch screen, PC’s high-quality microphone, and speakers for calls.”
Android users have been able to do this for quite some time, especially owners of Samsung phones, thanks in part to Phone Link. This is a feature built into Windows, allowing you to essentially use your smartphone from your computer. The app has even been updated with the ability to actually use and open apps from your Android phone on your Windows computer, without needing to pick up your phone. While Intel Unison doesn’t go that far, at least not yet, it’s a big step in the right direction, especially for iPhone users. There are a few requirements for those who want to connect iPhone to Windows using the new Intel Unison app:
- iOS 15 or above
- Android 9 and above
- Microsoft Windows 11 SV2
When the app was originally announced, it was originally expected to only be available “on eligible Intel Evo designs”. However, according to Windows Central, Intel Unison is working a wide variety of devices, including those powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 ARM processor. That being said, it’s entirely possible that Intel could end up limiting compatibility in a future update. Additionally, we tried to install the Intel Unison app on our 2021 MacBook Pro through Parallels Desktop, but the app was not available. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise given that this is powered by Apple Silicon, but it’s still worth pointing out.
Set Up Your iPhone and Windows PC
As expected, in order to connect iPhone to Windows, you’ll first need to download and set up Intel Unison on both your iPhone and Windows PC. Thankfully, the Intel Unison app is already available in the App Store and in the Microsoft Store, so you won’t need to go diving for a specific file or sketchy website to get things up and running.
- From your Windows PC, open the Microsoft Store.
- Search for Intel Unison.
- Select the appropriate listing from the results shown.
- Click the Install button.
- Once installed, open the Intel Unison app on your Windows PC.
- Open the App Store on your iPhone that you want to connect to Windows.
- Tap the Search icon in the bottom right corner.
- Search for and select Intel Unison.
- Tap the Get button.
- Once installed, open the Intel Unison app on your iPhone.
Now that the Intel Unison app has been downloaded and installed on both your iPhone and your Windows PC, you’ll need to make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on both devices. This is how the Unison app is capable of connecting the devices, while also being able to show your incoming notifications and other features.
In order to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your Windows PC:
- In the bottom right corner of the taskbar, click the Wi-Fi/Volume/Battery indicators next to the Time and Date.
- Click the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons to ensure that they are highlighted, indicating that these features are turned on.
In order to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your iPhone:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap Wi-Fi.
- At the top of the page, tap the toggle next to Wi-Fi to the On position.
- In the top left corner, tap < Settings.
- Tap Bluetooth.
- At the top of the page, tap the toggle next to Bluetooth to the On position.
With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled on both devices, you can now proceed with the steps to set up and use Intel Unison to connect iPhone to Windows.
How to Use Intel Unison to Connect iPhone to Windows
Now that you have finished installing Intel Unison on both your iPhone and Windows, you’ll need to follow a few more steps to get your devices working and syncing appropriately. Here’s what you need to do:
- With the Intel Unison app open on your Windows PC, open the Unison app on your iPhone.
- From the Welcome to Intel Unison landing page, tap the Accept & Continue button.
- When prompted, tap the Allow button to provide Intel Unison access to your contacts.
- Tap the Allow button when prompted to allow Intel Unison access to the photos and other media on your device.
- Tap the Scan QR code button.
- Point your iPhone’s camera at the QR code that appears in the Intel Unison app on your Windows PC.
- After the QR code is recognized, a verification code will be shown on both devices.
- Verify the code is the same on both devices, and click the Confirm button on your Windows PC.
After a few moments, you’ll see the name of your iPhone appear in the top left corner of the Intel Unison app on your Windows PC. From here, there are a few different options that you can access from your PC, which include the following:
- File transfer
With the Intel Unison app open on your iPhone, there aren’t as many options available. At the top of the page, you’ll be able to see whether your iPhone and Windows PC are connected, along with tabs for Received and Sent. In the top right corner, there’s a Settings (gear) icon that allows you to clear any of your transfer history along with changing the permission settings for your device.
Using Intel Unison on Windows with iPhone Connected
As we mentioned in the previous section, there are several different options that you have if you want to interact with your iPhone from your Windows PC. For one, thanks to the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection between the two devices, any notifications that arrive on your iPhone will now also appear in the Notifications section of your Windows PC. But there is also a dedicated Notifications section if you would prefer to view and manage those from within the Intel Unison app.
There are a couple of extremely useful features that Intel has built into its Unison app, such as the ability to easily transfer files between Windows and iPhone. And you’ll finally be able to respond to text messages that arrive on your iPhone, from your Windows PC. This is something that iPhone users have been wanting for years, as it’s already possible if you use Android with Windows thanks to the Google Messages Web App or making use of Phone Link.
Easily one of the most frustrating aspects of using an iPhone with a Windows PC has been when you try to transfer files between your devices. When it comes to using an iPhone and a Mac, this obviously isn’t as much of an issue, as you can simply use AirDrop, but this is not available on Windows.
Intel Unison solves this problem, providing an AirDrop-like experience, and it’s not even a “one way only” approach. If you want to send files from your iPhone to your Windows PC, here’s how:
- Open the Intel Unison app on both your iPhone and Windows PC.
- From your iPhone, tap the Received tab at the top of the app.
- In the bottom right corner, tap the Send button.
- Select one of the following:
- Use Camera
- Choose a file, document, image, or snap a picture based on the selection that you made.
Once you make your selection, a preview of what you are transferring will appear in the Sent tab of the Unison app on your iPhone. Depending on the size of what you are trying to transfer, a progress bar will also be shown, giving you an idea as to how long it will take to transfer the file from your iPhone to your Windows PC.
From your Windows PC, the Intel Unison app will also show a progress bar, along with providing a notification letting you know when the file transfer is complete. As for accessing the files that you transfer, that’s where the Downloads button in the sidebar comes in handy. Just click the Downloads button on your Windows PC, and you’ll be taken to the corresponding folder within File Explorer.
But if you’re simply transferring pictures from your iPhone’s camera gallery, you don’t actually need to manually transfer them. That’s because you can access your iPhone’s gallery right from the Unison app on your Windows PC. Just click the Gallery button in the sidebar, and you’ll be presented with your iPhone’s entire photo library. There are buttons at the top to view Photos, Videos, or Albums, and you can change the way that these images are presented with the View button in the top right corner.
Tap any of the images or videos within the Gallery tab of the Intel Unison app on your Windows PC, and you’ll be able to view them in their full-size. Then, you’ll see buttons to perform the following tasks:
- Save As
- Open with…
One thing to note is that if you are trying to delete content from your iPhone’s photo gallery using the Intel Unison app, it is possible. However, after clicking the Delete button, you’ll need to confirm that you want to delete the image from your iPhone. This doesn’t work the same way that deleting photos or videos from the Photos app on your Mac works, as Intel Unison isn’t relying on iCloud to keep your Photos library in sync.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.