How to Control Your PC From Your iPad

Take control of your PC using Parallels Access or VNC Viewer

What to Know

  • Parallels Access: Create account and install Parallels Access on PC. Download Parallels Access iPad app. Sign into account and tap PC.
  • VNC Viewer: Install VNC Viewer on PC. Record the iP address. Download VNC app on iPad. Set up the PC and enter the IP address.

This article explains two methods for controlling your PC from your iPad: Parallels Access and VNC Viewer.

How to Set Up and Use Parallels Access to Control Your PC

Parallels Access costs $19.99 a year, but if you plan to control your PC from an iPad on a regular basis, the cost is worth it. You can sign in to your PC remotely using a 4G connection or a remote Wi-Fi.

Instead of taking control of the mouse, Parallels Access transforms your PC into what is essentially an app server. Your iPad launches apps through a special menu system, with each piece of software running in full-screen mode on your iPad.

You can interact with the apps, much like they were an app. This interaction includes tapping menus and buttons with your finger to activate apps without dragging the mouse pointer over to the apps.

Follow these steps to control your computer with an iPad using Parallels Access:

Parallels Access works on Windows and macOS.

  1. Go to the Parallels website and register an account.

    You need to register for an account to use the product once downloaded.

  2. Select Buy Now or Download Free Trial to download a version of the software for Mac or Windows.

  3. After the download, select the downloaded file to install the software. Like most software, you are asked where to install the application and agree to the terms of service. After installing, launch the software for the first time and, when prompted, enter the email address and password you used to create your account.

  4. On your iPad, download the Parallels Access app from the App Store.

  5. After the download is finished, launch the app. You are asked to sign in to the account you created. Once this is done, you will see the computers that currently run the Parallels Access software. Tap the computer you want to control, and a short video shows, giving you a tutorial on the basics.

You must run the Parallels Access software on your PC before you can access it on your iPad.

Drawbacks of Using Parallels Access

Parallels Access takes away the precision sometimes needed to control a PC, translating near misses on a button to a correct button press.

Another drawback to Parallels Access is that your PC isn't as usable while being remotely controlled. If you want to guide someone through a task remotely by taking over their computer to show them how to do something, for example, Parallels Access isn't the best solution.

For most other reasons to control a PC through an iPad, Parallels Access is the best solution available.

How to Set Up and Use VNC Viewer to Control Your PC

VNC Viewer is a free iPad control solution that's ideal for personal use. The free version doesn't include remote printing or advanced security features. Still, for the basic act of controlling a PC from an iPad, it's up to the task. It also includes 128-bit AES encryption to protect your data.

Follow these steps to control your computer with an iPad using VNC Viewer:

  1. Navigate to the RealVNC website and download VNC Viewer for your PC. You'll find the latest versions of the software available for Windows and macOS.

  2. After the download finishes, select the file to start the install. You're prompted for a location and to agree to the terms of service.

    You may be prompted to set an exception for your firewall. This allows the iPad app to communicate with your PC without the firewall blocking it.

  3. When the VNC software first launches, you are asked to create a password. This password will be used when connecting to the PC.

  4. Once the password is set, you'll see a window titled Get Started. This gives you the IP address needed to connect with the software.

  5. On your iPad, download the VNC Viewer app from the App Store.

  6. After you launch the app, set up the PC you want to control. Enter the IP address from above and give the PC a name, such as My PC.

Once connected, control the mouse pointer by moving your finger around the screen.

Like many remote-control packages, you control the mouse button with your finger.

  • A single tap on the iPad screen functions as a click of the mouse button.
  • A double-tap works as a double-click.
  • Tapping two fingers translates to clicking the right mouse button.

You also have access to various touch gestures, such as swiping for scrolling down a list or pinch-zooming for apps that support zooming.

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