Microsoft updates its free remote desktop apps for iOS, Mac, Android

Microsoft is updating its remote desktop applications for non-Windows platforms, but still has yet to make available a Microsoft-developed version for Windows Phone.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has updated its free remote desktop apps for iOS, Mac OS X and Android, but still has no remote desktop app available on Windows Phone.


Microsoft updated its Microsoft Remote Desktop app to version 8.0.5 on iOS on March 15; on Mac OS X on March 12; and on Android on March 16. Microsoft introduced the new Remote Desktop clients for iOSand Android last fall. It also overhauled its Mac OS X remote client at that time. Since then, Microsoft has been providing incremental updates to all three clients.

Remote Desktop allows users to connect to remote Windows PCs and access resources from those machines. Remote Desktop has been one of the most popular Windows Store apps among Windows 8 and Windows RT users. The licensing requirements for these apps are complex. Client-access licenses and supporting back-end infrastructure are required to make Remote Desktop work on Windows and non-Windows devices.

On Android, the 8.0.5 update includes a number of bug fixes, plus optimization for remote experiences on high-resolution displays. The app requires Android 2.2 or higher. On Mac OS X, the 8.0.5 update fixes an issue where "Access Denied" was returned during Windows logon even though credentials were correct. It fixes a number of other unspecified bugs, as well. It requires OS X 10.6.0 or later. On iOS, the 8.0.5 update adds audio quality improvements, as well as unspecified bug fixes. It requires iOS 6.0 or later.

Microsoft officials have said that a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone is coming, but haven't said when. I asked today if there was any new information to share on that and a spokesperson said there was not.

Microsoft is expected to make available a number of enterprise-focused features for Windows Phone as part of its Windows Phone 8.1 release. But no one from Microsoft has said publicly whether a remote desktop capability will be among those features or delivered some time after Windows Phone 8.1 is available commercially.

Microsoft updated its the Windows client version of its Remote Desktop app last year to support Windows 8.1.

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