Thanks to the huge collection of apps from Apple’s App Store an iPad can do most of what average computer users want to do. But sometimes there’s a special Windows PC program that does something not possible on an iPad.
The newly updated Parallels Access lets users run specialized piece Windows software from an iPad, iPad mini or iPhone. The program stays on the Windows PC, which runs the Parallels Access client. The user controls the PC to run the special application while away from the computer.
Take a look at our other uses for Parallels Access including …
How Does Parallels Access Work?
To get started, sign up for an account with Parallels. This is the company that produces Parallels Desktop, the software that runs Windows, or other operating systems, on a Mac. Parallels Access costs $19.99/year with a one month free trial.
The subscriber installs the Windows PC client app on up to five computers. It also works on a Mac. You can also install an iOS or Android app on an unlimited number of tablets or smartphones. The service also works with Parallels Desktop, so users can run programs installed inside a virtual version of OSX or Windows running inside Parallels Desktop, which loads on the Mac.
Parallels Access presents the software installed on the computer like they’re iPad apps, with their icons in the same iOS-style grid.
A Demo Video of Parallels Access
Here’s the company’s demo video that shows using Parallels Access on an iPad controlling Mac programs. It works the same way with Windows.
How to Set Up Parallels Access
Get the Windows client software from Parallels after signing up for the account. Install it, log into the program, and set it to always run. Do this from within the Parallels Access client running on Windows by clicking on the Advanced tab (see below).
Get the free Parallels Access app from the iPad App Store. Log in and the app will show the computers set up in the previous step.
Running Software on the Remote Windows PC
Tap on the computer running the app you want to control on the iPad and it will connect, so long as the computer is running the client software and is connected to the Internet. A grid of icons will show up that. It looks a lot like the iPad’s home screen. Tap on a program icon to run it.
The app lets users add or remove program icons to the app’s home screen. Tap on Edit in the upper right corner.
Go through the list and tap on the slider icon to change which programs show up in the Parallels Access main screen. A program icon will show up if the slider looks red. Tap to turn programs on or off and then tap on Done in the upper right corner of the dialog box. The Add button only adds programs, while Edit lets users both add and remove.
Parallels Access also lets users access the files on the Windows computer. Tap on the Files button in the upper left corner of Parallels Access home screen. A simple file explorer shows up with folders and drives listed along the right, and the files and folders in each folder or drive showing on the right, just like Finder on a Mac or Explorer on Windows.
To manipulate the files on the Windows computer tap on the Edit button in the upper right. A menu appears along the left. Tap a file to select it and then use the menu to …
- Open with
- Create folder
Parallels Access users can move files around, and even edit them, by using the Open with command.
Why Run Windows Apps on an iPad
Here’s some of the best use case scenarios for Parallels Access.
- Run software that has no iPad alternative
- Control an app remotely
- Move files around a computer remotely
- Update a system remotely
- Run full versions of apps that only include dumbed down mobile versions in the App Store
If $20/year seems like too much for this app, consider the free Teamviewer, which non-business users for can install and run for free. LogMeIn now charges more than Parallels Access. Neither of these solutions present the programs installed on the computer in the nice layout that mimics the iPad user-interface. This simplicity and elegance makes the programs low price a good value. Now if only they’d make a ChromeOS version of the client software.