Feature Article

July 11, 2013

TeamViewer Provides Remote Access to Mobile Devices

As the rest of the app world endeavors to go completely mobile, TeamViewer seems to be following suit. Users of the Quick Support application are now able to remotely connect to their mobile devices from personal computers.

The TeamViewer app for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Windows RT, and now iOS and Android, is a software package that allows users to share desktops and files during Web conferences and online meetings. TeamViewer, which can be downloaded for free, is opened in a Web browser and facilitates the presentation of information across remotely controlled computers. While TeamViewer was previously meant only for communication between two PCs, new software has been developed that gives the PC application access to a selected mobile phone after co-entering an ID number on both devices.

In a rapidly mobilizing world, the new capability is a step in the right direction. Hold on to your hats, though—the remote capabilities from PC-to-mobile are not quite as extensive as the PC-to-PC connection. While the “Processes” offered by remote mobile connection include e-mail configuration, Exchange, Wi-Fi settings, CPU, RAM and battery summary, the TeamViewer engineers have not yet perfected the mobile app’s screensharing capacity. In short, a PC user is able to push local e-mails and check various settings on the mobile device, but cannot view what is happening on the phone screen. Although users can take a “screenshot” on the phone—basically, a snapshot photo of a desktop moment— the inability to screenshare between a PC and mobile device puts the mobile a step behind its PC counterpart.

One of the largest questions facing users interested in the mobile app is: How much privacy does this new mobility allow? Can PC-users access the mobile device at any time, or take a secret screenshot? Fortunately, the answer is no. Or at least not without a considerable amount of high-tech brunt work. The connection between the devices is protected by RSA private and public key exchange and 256-bit AES encoding. Thus, any covert access is highly unlikely.

TeamViewer’s success has, thus far, been highly dependent on the advantages it offers to the business community. The new mobility may attract more students and personal users to try the app. However, until the mobile app starts to measure up to its complement, we don’t anticipate much change in the user base.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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