Best Apps: Remote Desktop & VNC for iPhone, iPod & iPad

Problem

  • How to display/use Windows on iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad?
  • How to access computer from the Internet or LAN on iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad?
  • Which remote desktop app is the best?

Solution

Just type RDP or Remote Desktop, or VNC in iTunes. There are many apps, but the only below I’ve found most usable on Apple devices. I was looking for apps in the following context:

  • I use RDP for home (LAN) purposes like working on old IBM USFF Windows 7 PC without monitor as an application host and Internet access machine.
  • VNC I use for controlling my Windows 7 Media Center HTPC (touchpad, keyboard) sitting before TV LCD. Although Mobile Mouse (Lite is for free on iTunes) could be more suitable for that purpose, VNC gives you extra desktop view functionality.

Apps presented here are the most usable I have ever seen, because of:

  • full screen view without any additional controls (controls obtained by multi-touch gestures not icons),
  • Windows operability (easy access to context menu, pointer maneuver and actions),
  • rich screen depth, resolution and Windows effects options,
  • the speed.

Summary

The best remote desktop app for me at the moment is Jump (Remote Desktop), because for $14,99 you get app for all Apple devices and both RDP and VNC protocols. Better usability on iPhone and iPod Touch has Jaaduu RDP for Windows, but it’s not worth of the money compared to Jump functionality. For more info go further.
If you have found another similar app worth of interest, leave your feedback in comment.

Click on app icon to get to the iTunes.

Jump Desktop (Remote Desktop)

By Phase Five Systems

  • Price: $14,99
  • Platform: iPhone, iPod, iPad
  • Protocols: RDP or VNC (RFB)
  • Windows client server: Not needed for RDP, VNC (e.g. UltraVNC) or Jump Desktop for Windows to reach PC from the Internet using Gmail account
  • Mac/Linux: Not needed (native VNC) or Jump Desktop for Mac
  • More on: jumpdesktop.com

iTeleport: VNC

By iTeleport Inc.

  • Price: $24,99
  • Platform: iPhone, iPod, iPad
  • Protocols: VNC only
  • Windows client server: VNC (e.g. UltraVNC) or iTeleport Connect to reach PC from the Internet using Gmail account
  • Linux/Mac client server: Not needed (native VNC) or iTeleport Connect
  • More on: iteleportmobile.com
  • Hints: Do not buy iTeleport for iPad. Buying iTeleport: VNC you get the same app for all devices at once.

Jaadu Remote Desktop for Windows

By iTeleport Inc.

  • Price: $24,99
  • Platform: iPhone & iPod only
  • Protocols: RDP
  • Windows client server: RDP or iTeleport Connect to reach PC from the Internet using Gmail account
  • Linux/Mac client server: Not available
  • More on: jaadurdp.com or iteleportmobile.com

Additional hints

What to choose: RDP or VNC?

There are many sites explaining RDP vs VNC:
codinghorror.comdifferencebetween.netstackoverflow.comremote-desktop-control.comfreewarereview.info.

From my (the Windows user) point of view, differences are as follows:

PC access
  • RDP is native to Windows. You have only to enable Remote Access.
  • VNC client server app must be installed on Windows and granted with appropriate access on firewall.
Display settings
  • RDP is logging at independent display resolution specified by you in RDP app not affecting original OS display settings.
  • VNC is displaying OS at its native resolution (as is).
  • In both protocols you can set display color depth independetly of OS settings. This helps speed up display response (refresh rate).
User session and control
  • RDP is logging out current user, so you always display OS screen only on RDP device. You can’t use RDP and see concurrently the same on computer monitor. But you can log on another user account not affecting your current user session, using concurrent sessions patch on downloadsquad.switched.com (for Windows 7 Home) or missingremote.com.
  • VNC is logging as a second input device and allows take alternative control over the computer, not logging out current user. Thus, you can use Apple device as a touchpad or keyboard with OS screen mirror.

Windows keyboard

If you need real Windows keyboard then touch Windows 7 Start logo and type command osk and hit Enter. On Screen Keyboard application will show up (see pic below).

Jump (Remote Desktop) screenshot - Windows On Screen Keyboard: Touch Windows 7 Start logo and type command 'osk' and hit Enter.

Discussion

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