Apple’s Most Exclusive iPhone Feature Is Coming to Windows, With a Caveat

A laptop running Windows 11.

The latest Windows 11 Insider update lets iPhone owners call or text from their PC. Before now, this handy feature was exclusive to Mac computers. But don’t get too hyped, as Microsoft’s implementation of iMessage isn’t perfect.

You know how Fitbit trackers and car stereos can display iPhone messages over Bluetooth? That’s essentially how Microsoft’s iMessage feature works. You pair your iPhone with the Windows Phone Link app over Bluetooth—from there, Phone Link can access your contacts and give you some basic call and text features.

The new iPhone option in the Windows 11 Phone Link app.
Linking an iPhone with a Windows 11 PC.
Using iMessage in Phone Link on Windows 11.

When I say “basic,” I really mean it. Photos, videos, and group chats don’t work over Phone Link. And any messages that you send or receive while disconnected from Phone Link won’t show up on your PC; you may be able to get around this problem by leaving an iPad at your desk, but Microsoft hasn’t mentioned iPad support, so I’m not too optimistic.

Still, this is an impressive feature. And it’s much easier to set up than a third-party solution like BlueBubbles (although BlueBubbles give you a bit more functionality).

I should note that Phone Link was originally designed for Android. And it offers a much more impressive suite of features for Android users, including access to photos. (That said, Windows 11 officially supports Apple’s iCloud. If you need to quickly transfer images from your iPhone to your PC, I strongly suggest linking your PC with iCloud.)

Microsoft is slowly rolling out this feature in the Windows 11 Insider, Dev, and Beta builds. It will eventually reach all Windows 11 users in a future update. Note that iMessage support probably won’t come to Windows 10.

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