You can download and install apps to your iPhone and Android phone without being anywhere near it. That sorcery is this? It isn’t sorcery. It’s the internet. And it takes almost no effort to set up.
If you have an Android phone, you can quickly and easily remotely install apps to your phone without having to tinker with any settings. Visit the Google Play store from your computer and log in using the Google account that’s associated with your phone. Next, find the app that you want to install and go to its information page, then press the Install button for that app.
Once you click Install, you’ll be presented with a box that tells you which permissions the app needs (whether it needs to access your contacts or connect to the Internet, for instance), as well as a drop-down list of the devices associated with your Google account. Select the phone or tablet you want to install the app on from this list, then press Install. After a few moments, your phone will begin installing the app.
Pretty easy, right? You betcha.
iOS 7 comes with a similar feature, but you need to make sure it’s switched on first. To check, open the Settings app, scroll down, then tap iTunes & App Store. From here, look for the Automatic Downloads section, then toggle the Apps slider to the on position (the toggle switch will turn green). If you want to have updates downloaded to your phone automatically, switch the Updates toggle to the on position as well.
Next, open iTunes on your Mac or PC, then go to the iTunes Store, and sign in using the Apple ID associated with your phone. Go to the App Store, then find an app you want to download. Press the Download buttom—it will be labelled with the app’s price—and after a few moments it will be downloaded to both your computer and your phone.
On Windows Phone 8
Setting up your Windows phone for remote app installation is similar to the process for iOS. Start by going to the Settings app on your phone and then select Find My Phone from the list. Next, look for the checkbox labelled Send apps to my phone using push notifications (not SMS) and tap it if it isn’t checked already.
Now go to the Windows Phone store, then mouse over Explore My Phone in the upper-right corner and sign in with the Microsoft account associated with your phone. Find the app you want to install, and press the Buy or Install button (which button label you see will depend on whether the the app is paid or free).
Once you do that, the Windows Phone store will pick your default device and install that app to it after a few moments.
Nick is a freelance contributor and a former editor for TechHive and PCWorld. He likes puns and the color yellow.