AirDroid is one of those rare tools that manages to turn complexity into simplicity. The app does one thing- lets you manage your Android device from any web browser- and does it simply and elegantly. Here’s how it works.
There are two ways to log in: launch the app from your phone, then visit web.airdroid.com (or a local IP address), or visit the site and scan the given QR code with your device. Once you’re connected, you’re presented with the AirDroid desktop.
Your phone’s stats are presented in the upper right corner- your device name, Android version, and internal and external memory usage. You can also click on “details” to see more.
At the top is a search bar, allowing you to search the Google Play store for movies, music, apps, and books. There are also shortcuts to send a message, quickly upload a file, install an app from your PC, or show the main AirDroid desktop.
From the desktop view, you can do almost anything you can do with your device. In the left column, you’ll see shortcuts to access anything that’s on your device- your pictures, ringtones, videos, files, music, call logs, apps, messages, and contacts. Clicking on any of these will open a new window on the desktop, each providing different functionality.
From the messaging window, you can view or delete messages, and start a new conversation:
From the photos, videos, ringtones, and files window, you can access any file on your device, and quickly upload them to your PC.
The frequent contacts window is especially handy- clicking it will present a pop-up of your most-used contacts, and clicking on an individual contact pulls up chat logs, contact info, and call logs.
In the desktop’s right column is a clipboard, allowing you to save items on your desktop’s clipboard directly to your device’s clipboard. You can also enter a url to open in your phone’s browser.
All of these items can be managed from multiple desktops from within AirDroid, allowing you to keep separate windows open indefinitely, and come back to them later. The bottom of the screen holds a taskbar similar to its Windows counterpart- open windows can be minimized to the tray, and the right-most section is a notification area of sorts, with battery life and network information.
One of the most handy features of AirDroid is the ability to drag and drop files from your PC to your device, and vice versa, although, for now, this feature only works with the Google Chrome browser.
There are a few features I haven’t covered here, some of which require root permissions on your phone, such as taking device screenshots directly from your web browser. You can dive in a bit more to see what else the app can do.
All told, AirDroid is the easiest way to manage your device without actually touching your device. Every feature described works without fail, making it a breeze- and a pleasure- to use. The ability to seamlessly and quickly move files back and forth between your computer and phone is, alone, worth the effort required to install the app. The developers have managed to weave complexity and simplicity into into one extremely useful- and completely free- package.