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6 hassle-free remote desktop apps for iPad

by Derek Walter

April 30 2013

Dell's PocketCloud is one of many easy-to-use remote desktop apps for the iPad.
Dell's PocketCloud is one of many easy-to-use remote desktop apps for the iPad.

Remote desktop applications are a popular category in the App Store. Yet often many of the solutions involve confusing download instructions or a clunky interface.

For those looking for a fairly pain-free setup consider the following iPad apps. All of them are free and can have you connecting to your desktop computer with minimal hassle.

Dell offers its own ‘PocketCloud’

PocketCloud: PocketCloud Remote Desktop is one of several cloud-based business products offered by Dell’s Wyse. The company’s business credentials are clearly in play here by creating a solid remote desktop tool.

Instead of going through the highly annoying process of creating another online account, PocketCloud lets you sign in with a Google account. The app will then patiently wait while you download the desktop component. Setup for this portion is just as simple - enter your Google account and then wait for PocketCloud to connect through WiFi. The only additional step will be adding in your OS X Keychain or Windows credentials depending upon the security settings on your computer.

When using PocketCloud, free in the App Store, pinch and zoom to focus on specific aspects of the desktop screen. There is a virtual mouse button as well as a keyboard entry tool and file browser for easy transfer of data back and forth between one’s iPad and computer.

This app is part of a larger suite of remote and cloud-based solutions geared towards businesses. PocketCloud also offers a version of this app for Android devices and the iPhone for those looking to connect with an alternate device.

Splashtop is a strong cross-platform remote tool

Splashtop is one of the most recognizable names when it comes to producing cloud and remote apps for tablets, with a substantial number of apps for iOS and Android devices that enable remote connectivity.

For those who just want a simple remote connection, Splashtop 2 will do the job; it is free if all you need is to connect over your remote network. For further functionality there is a series of upgrade possibilities. An enhanced toolset of on-screen shortcuts, gamepads and hot keys can be had for $0.99 per month or $9.99 annually. Those who want to access their computer remotely from any location can opt for the Anywhere Access Pack, which is $1.99 monthly or $16.99 annually.

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LogMeIn offers cloud storage, business-friendly remote access plans

LogMeIn also offers a fairly hassle-free path to connecting to one’s computer.  However, there is a robust file storage system that allows for copying and sharing folders and files amongst computers or other connected devices (free in the App Store). The interface allows you to drag and drop multiple documents or folders and move them where you wish.

With the free version you are granted 2GB of free cloud storage, with options to upgrade to LogMeIn’s premium Cubby service. It seeks a solution that competes with DropBox, Box, and other services by offering unlimited versioning of files and “cubby locks,” which protect files with a user-held encryption key.

Additionally, LogMeIn has a Pro service which is tiered to connecting up to 25 computers or tablets within a company. Prices begin at $69.95 per device, but drop down as far as $39.96 depending on how many devices are being connected.

TeamViewer is built for collaboration

TeamViewer (free in the App Store) also offers a free software download for one’s computer and iPad to enable a quick, remote connection.

While TeamViewer HD does a solid job of connecting to the desktop with a responsive interface it contains several signature features designed to appeal to businesses. Enterprise features include remote maintenance and support along with support for file transfers and remote printing.

By granting TeamViewer access to the camera roll, you can use TeamViewer to email files or copy them to your main computer.

One nice advantage is that business plans are a one-time license, eliminating any annual or monthly fees (though they begin at $749 per device).

Doceri is an education-friendly desktop tool

While designed primarily for education, Doceri does an admirable job of enabling quick remote access for personal use or for presenting to a group of colleagues.

The free version of the application includes all the same features as the pro model, which is $29 for the lifetime license. The main advantage of the upgrade is that it eliminates the watermark which Doceri places on-screen during a presentation. For this task, however, it is ideal as Doceri has several pens, highlighters and other tools for marking and highlighting content on the screen in realtime.

For personal desktop remote use, Doceri allows quick connection by generating an on-screen QR code. Just hold up the iPad and Doceri will then connect to your device. The Doceri team is very active on social media, so connecting with them for support can be as simple as pinging the @TeamDoceri Twitter account.

GoToMyPC brings remote strength to iPad

GoToMyPC is almost synonymous with networking in to one’s computer. Widespread marketing in the pre-iPad era introduced consumers to the potential wonders of remotely accessing one’s desktop on their notebook computer. 

GoToMyPC seeks to bring that same kind of connectivity to your iPad. In order to account for the limited preciseness involved in navigating a desktop screen with one’s fingers, the app promises up to 300 percent zooming capability.

Those who want to sample the solution from Citrix get a 30 day trial with the app (free in the App Store); regular access is then $9.95 per month.

Ultimately, trying out all of these options and finding what best fits your workflow patterns will be the best solution. Nonetheless all of these options offer a very straightforward way to connect to the desktop remotely.

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Comments

 
  • edehoratius
    11 months 3 weeks ago

    I'm a teacher who has used Splashtop and Doceri fairly extensively (I've played around with LogMeIn but not much). I've blogged about both Splashtop and Doceri, if you want to read on. Here are the search results for Splashtop: http://whsipadpilot.wordpress.com/?s=splashtop and for Doceri: http://whsipadpilot.wordpress.com/?s=doceri. I'll say briefly here that right now I favor Doceri, largely because of their recent update, but initially I preferred Splashtop.

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