Windows has today announced an early preview of Phone Link for iOS on Windows 11 that will let users link their iPhone to their Windows PC and use features including iMessage.
"We are beginning an early preview of Phone Link for iOS on Windows 11 with Windows Insiders," the company stated, with a preview rolling out to Insiders this week.
Users on the Preview will be able to pick "iPhone" as an option on the Phone Link homepage (where you can already link your Android device). "We are beginning this preview with a small percentage of Insiders at first throughout this week, which means not all Insiders will see the preview right away," Microsoft stated in a press release Tuesday.
Using iMessage on Windows 11
You'll then get a series of steps to help you pair your iPhone and your PC over Bluetooth, including giving permission to access your notifications and contacts. Once completed, you'll be able to use "basic" iOS functions including calls, messages, and contacts, with notifications coming directly through your Windows notifications. However, there are a couple of big limitations. This won't support group messages or sending media, so no gifs, images, or videos. It's a pretty heavy shortcoming, but this is a very early beta feature for Windows users.
Still, it's nice to know that Windows users have something in the pipeline for better iPhone support and integration. Apple has previously rolled out new versions of Apple Music and Apple TV for Windows, all signs that cross-platform integration and interoperability are improving. However, we've got a long way to go before everyone on Windows can get fully functioning iOS and iPhone integration and support.
Users will need Phone Link app version 1.23012.169.0 and higher, but the preview itself will be controlled via the cloud. Microsoft plans to roll out increased availability over time based on feedback from the first set of insiders.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9