iMessage is finally coming to Windows. Microsoft announced today that Phone Link for iOS is now rolling out to all Windows 11 customers, allowing iPhone users to make and receive calls, send and receive messages via iMessage, access their contacts and their phone’s notifications directly on their Windows PC. The feature was previously available in early preview to Windows Insiders.
Now Microsoft says Phone Link for iOS on Windows 11 will roll out to its global customer base in 39 languages in 85 markets. While the rollout begins today, it could take several weeks to reach the full customer base, the company noted.
Despite being available for Android users for some time now, iPhone users have not had a similar option to stay in touch with their friends and family through their PC. The lack of support for Windows likely deterred some consumers from exploring the Windows PC ecosystem, wanting a more seamless experience when switching between their devices.
But since the use of Windows is so widespread in the business and personal computing world, it also meant that both Apple and Microsoft massively underestimated their respective – and overlapping – customer bases.
For business professionals, one benefit of Phone Link is that they can now more discreetly respond to text messages, track calls, and view incoming notifications, such as during a meeting where your iPhone feels unprofessional.
Other times, iPhone owners want to charge their phone before heading out, but still manage to keep track of their calls, texts, and notifications while the phone is plugged in elsewhere.
To get started with Phone Link, users are guided through a setup process that links their iPhone to their PC via Bluetooth.
This involves scanning a QR code seeded on the screen and confirming the phone by matching a code displayed on the iPhone with the code displayed in Phone Link. When pairing is complete, users are prompted to grant a set of permissions that will allow content to be synced to their PC.
As a final step, Phone Link will instruct users to grant permissions on their iPhone within the phone’s Bluetooth settings, which will allow them to receive their phone’s notifications on their PC and access their contacts.
When the installation is complete, Phone Link will provide basic support for calls, messages, and contacts, but there are some limitations. For example, it does not support replying to group messages or sending media in messages. And because the messages are session-based, they only get through when the phone is connected directly to the PC.
Notifications, meanwhile, are delivered to the PC via Windows notifications. That means users can check, pin and remove them from the Windows interface.
Phone Link requires an iPhone with iOS 14 or later, Windows 11, a Bluetooth connection, and the latest version of the Phone Link app, which comes pre-installed with Windows 11. Support is not currently available for iPad (iPadOS) or MacOS.