Chances are that a large chunk of the people who you encounter everyday are iPhone users. Having revolutionized the smartphone at just the right time, Apple controls the destiny of the smartphone, essentially. Millions more may have Android devices, but it’s the iPhone that sets the agenda and Apple that gets all the profits from smartphones sold. It’s a given that most of the people whom you see on every street corner with their iPhone 6s or later are also Windows users.
Owning an iPhone and having Windows as your primary PC is a delicate balance. On one hand, you definitely want to use the iPhone’s App Store and Microsoft’s slew of apps to bring your favorite Windows experiences over to your iPhone. On the other hand, you want to mix in all the things that you like about your iPhone and bring those things over to your Windows PC if you can.
You Can Get Away With Not Installing iTunes
Striking the delicate balance between your Windows PC and your iPhone starts with picking and choosing the services that you like the best. Microsoft and Apple offer an enormous line-up of apps and services that do everything from sync your contacts to provide streaming music.
To get the best experience with your iPhone and Windows you’ll need some services to sync and be available to you on both devices. Other services are specific to one platform or another. Here’s a quick primer on which to embrace and which not to.
- iCloud or OneDrive Whether you should choose iCloud or OneDrive comes down to how long you’ve had your iPhone and what you have stored where. Chances are that if you’ve had an iPhone for a very long time, you’re already counting on iCloud to backup your photos, store your contacts and manage your email. If that’s the case, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a OneDrive user already, download the app to your iPhone and be sure to setup camera backups.
- Apple Music or Xbox Music & Groove This is one of the many situations where Microsoft barely puts up a fight. Ideally, you want the music service that’ll be available everywhere and do the most. If you should ever leave iPhone, there’s an Apple Music app on Android. Also, Apple Music has way more features. Note that Xbox Music & Groove Music are only available on once you’ve downloaded the Windows 10 update to your PC anyway. Go with Apple Music and be sure to install iTunes on your PC.
- Cortana or Siri Another feature of Windows 10 is the new Cortana personal assistant. Microsoft makes a Cortana app for iPhone that the company hopes will entice you away from Siri. Unfortunately, Cortana on iPhone won’t allow you to change settings with a voice command and can’t be triggered without opening the app. Definitely go with Siri and maybe install the Cortana app as a backup for reminders you need to see everywhere, not just on your phone.
- Mail or Outlook Many have made the argument that Microsoft’s Outlook app for iPhone is better than the Mail app that Apple includes with iTunes. That’s for you to decide. Outlook does include syncing for mail, contacts and calendar. What’s more, the app works with iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Office 365, Outlook.com and Exchange. Focused Inboxs let you see the emails that are important and the emails that aren’t. Swiping on email in either app allow you to quickly schedule it or trash it. Outlook comes out ahead feature wise, but know that it’s a replacement for more than just the iPhone Mail app. You really won’t need Apple’s Contacts or Calendar apps if you choose to go with the Outlook app.
- OneNote or Notes This one isn’t even a fair contest. OneNote is available everywhere and syncs back to your other devices. What’s more, Microsoft has adopted a freemium approach for OneNote everywhere else. OneNote is practically free on everything from Macs to Windows PCs.
Download These Microsoft Apps to Your iPhone
Here are all the apps that Microsoft makes available to iPhone owners through the iTunes Store that directly integrate with Windows and the Windows experience in some way. Definitely download the ones that you use on your PC already. Skip the Microsoft-made iPhone apps that you’ve already decided to use Apple’s apps over.
- Word, PowerPoint, Excel & OneNote
- SmartGlass (Only if you have an Xbox One)
Outside of these apps, be sure to use services that are available in some form on both. For example, avoid the Reading List in Safari on iPhone and use an app like Pocket, which is available on both iPhone and the web. Consider using Kindle instead of iBooks too, unless you have an iPad that you already read books on or a heavy investment in the iBooks ecosystem already.
Sync Your Contacts With the Outlook App
One of the more confusing things about using an iPhone with a Outlook.com, Gmail or Windows is how you get your email and contacts loaded and syncing correctly. If you’re going to skip the Outlook iPhone app, you’re all set. Connect your Outlook.com, Yahoo or Gmail account to your iPhone let those services and the iPhone handle all that syncing for you.
Make sure that every email account you check online or through Microsoft’s mail apps is available in your iPhone. Again, you can choose to throw the built-in iPhone Mail, Contacts and Calendar apps by the wayside and use the Outlook app if you’d like.
Download iCloud for Windows
Counting on OneDrive to sync all of your content is ok. Just know that the app isn’t able to back up the photos or Live Photos that you take reliably without being opened. If you’re partial to iCloud go ahead and download the iCloud for Windows syncing tool to your Windows PC.
Keep Everything in Your iTunes Folder
It sounds basic, but it’s not. Apple’s iTunes for Windows program likes to know where everything is – your music, pictures and more, so that it can sync that content whenever you plug-in your iPhone. As iTunes is also a great media manager in general, don’t hesitate to copy all of your media to the iTunes folder. It’s a lot easier than managing duplicates or losing track of a song you wanted to listen to because you forgot it.
Good luck with your iPhone and its Windows counterpart. The two can work seamlessly together, just make sure that you put in the time now to get everything running the way you want.