Microsoft launches Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop apps for Mac, iOS and Android

The Android Remote Desktop app for Windows Server 2012 R2 was released today.

Last week, Microsoft quietly revealed plans to launch new Remote Desktop apps for iOS, Android and Mac OS X device that would connect to Windows Server 2012 R2. Today, Microsoft released those apps to the public, allowing a ton of smartphones and tablets to access a Windows PC remotely for free.

The apps can be downloaded on the iOS App Store, Mac App Store and Google Play storefront. Microsoft released a Remote Desktop app for Windows 8 several months ago. These new apps have been offered by the company in part because Microsoft recently acquired certain assets of HLW Software, which had launched its own iTap Remote Desktop software for Windows for iOS, Android and Mac platforms. HLW Software has since removed those iTap apps from those download stores.

As we reported last week, these new Remote Desktop launches don't include a Windows Phone port. In a statement sent to Neowin last week, Microsoft said, "We are always looking at additional services based on what we hear from our customers. We have nothing to share at this time."

Source: iOS App Store, Mac App Store and Google Play | Image via Microsoft

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30 Comments

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All due respect but realistically speaking what would you do with a remote desktop app on a tiny 4" screen anyways? Never got the point of it all. Even if I just need to reboot a server (like once maybe) I have still opened up my laptop. I would never in a million years try to do any remote desktop administration through my phone - that's just silly.

Obry said,
All due respect but realistically speaking what would you do with a remote desktop app on a tiny 4" screen anyways? Never got the point of it all. Even if I just need to reboot a server (like once maybe) I have still opened up my laptop. I would never in a million years try to do any remote desktop administration through my phone - that's just silly.

I don't think anyone's suggesting it's the best thing ever. I'd think if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere with only your phone and you need to do something to a server, you'd be pretty grateful to have it.

_dandy_ said,

I don't think anyone's suggesting it's the best thing ever. I'd think if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere with only your phone and you need to do something to a server, you'd be pretty grateful to have it.

I can see that I guess. Still though the odds of having to do something on a server so bad while in the middle of nowhere sound pretty slim to me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that people make the importance of such app seem so critical but in reality it is a very niche user base with very rare use cases. Certainly not something so critical to the future of Windows Phone like some seem to make it out to be by reading their comments and reactions

Obry said,
I can see that I guess. Still though the odds of having to do something on a server so bad while in the middle of nowhere sound pretty slim to me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that people make the importance of such app seem so critical but in reality it is a very niche user base with very rare use cases. Certainly not something so critical to the future of Windows Phone like some seem to make it out to be by reading their comments and reactions

You only need to use it once for something critical to think of it as essential. It has nothing to do with how often you use it. :-)

_dandy_ said,

You only need to use it once for something critical to think of it as essential. It has nothing to do with how often you use it. :-)

I hear you man and don't disagree. Just trying to put it in the perspective of a large company like Microsoft. For the vast majority of their user base (and the users they are trying to go after) it isn't as essential - this is all I'm trying to say. For the likes of us (I'm a developer, not a sys admin but I get it) I see the importance but certainly nothing very high on their list...

snuffy said,
as previously reported, its iTAP but badged as a MS Product. Hence no WP app as they don't make one

Not because they don't make one..they have a remote desktop app on the Windows Store. It might just be easier to port these core Windows apps to Windows Phone 8.1 when it comes out.

A couple of bugs in it for Android, but a good first effort. Mix of pros and cons against the 2x client for Android. Good to see it though

Same here, as soon as it crashes Android tells me an app tried to access an unauthorised part of system.

Anyone else having problems?

I'm very glad they updated the mac client.

The official client was awful and Chrome RDP had limitations like not mapping uk keyboards correctly.

The Android version at least lacks pinch to zoom. The app seems a bit basic, however for free I guess you can't complain.

I've been using the RDP app by Xtralogic since I got an Android device 3-4 years ago.

Looks like they've yanked the resolution adjustment feature on Android at least - iTap had that option. This is an unfortunate removal as high DPI devices are really common on mobile while terminal servers are really miserable about DPI scaling and the extra data just hits the connection unnecessarily.

Pan and zoom is functional, but really, nobody needs a two-millimeter Start button.

Works pretty well on Android and OS X 10.9.

The Mac client was very dated, and didn't work with Windows 8.1. It's a step in the right direction.
There was alternatives on Mac like "iTeleport" that supported the Remote Desktop Connection or VNC protocols, but it was generally very slow. This net client is lighting fast in comparison

The Android client lacks some basic features/settings in my opinion, but it works well.

Good job Microsoft.

I agree. This was a necessary, and very welcome update on Mac.

I was actually just two days ago trialling Jump Desktop, but this one works even better for me and my Swedish keyboard layout which for some reason often has problems with the pipe character in RDP clients. Kind of problematic if you do software development...

So... Thank you Microsoft for producing a quality product for free and continued support for OS X.

It sure would be nice if Microsoft released a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone.

I know there are some decent RDP apps on WP, but a free Microsoft app sure would be nice

NoClipMode said,
It's ridiculous they have a RDP app for all other platforms but not their own WP.

Absolutely, especially considering the RDP apps for WP aren't as good as the MS app, and they're relatively expensive at $10-15 for a decent one.

It's because MS knows just as well as everyone else, developing for WP is not worth the investment in developers. Developing for WP has got to be the last on the list.

thomastmc said,
It sure would be nice if Microsoft released a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone.

I can't believe this. I remember back in the Windows Mobile 5 and 6 days, Microsoft had a Remote Desktop app. And back in the Windows 8 betas they had a goofy Metro-based Remote Desktop app... I thought that was still in use on their phones and tablets.

I've been using the Android-based Remote Desktop app from Xtralogic for nearly all the time I've been using Android (since the Droid 1). It's very well-made and one of my most commonly used apps. I'll give this one from Microsoft a try, though I'm not really expecting its quality to exceed the Xtralogic app.

NoClipMode said,
It's ridiculous they have a RDP app for all other platforms but not their own WP.

they bought the code from that other company(who didn't have a wp version),made some tweaks,and released these apps. if they wrote these apps from scratch,and excluded windows phone,then theres absolutely a reason to be outraged. I just don't see a need to be though. im sure they're building an rdp client for 8.1, or maybe even baking it in the os.

thomastmc said,
It sure would be nice if Microsoft released a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone.

I know there are some decent RDP apps on WP, but a free Microsoft app sure would be nice

It won't be coming for a while... Maybe WP 8.1 or maybe WP9 (or whatever they call it after 8.1)... The reason it is missing from WP is mainly due to a lack of VPN support. Without VPN support in the OS the application becomes very limited in scope. Not many are opening their RDP port to the wider Internet.

Keep in mind, Microsoft's official stance is VPN is useless so it hasn't been added to WP even though it has been requested since its launch in 2010...

vcfan said,

they bought the code from that other company(who didn't have a wp version),made some tweaks,and released these apps. if they wrote these apps from scratch,and excluded windows phone,then theres absolutely a reason to be outraged. I just don't see a need to be though. im sure they're building an rdp client for 8.1, or maybe even baking it in the os.

Oooooohhh look at you with all your sense and logic, don't you know its not welcome here - we want instant outrage and blind fury! please change your ways

mog0 said,
No Microsoft's official stance is that VPN is being added to Windows Phone as part of an Enterprise feature pack to be released in the 1st half of next year.

http://blogs.windows.com/windo...er-choice-for-business.aspx

Not really. If memory serves me correctly on this addition... It requires that the app itself be coded to initiate the VPN directly. You can't, for instance, setup a VPN connection in settings then open IE and enter an LAN facing web address.

VPN support needs to be system wide and work like every other OS on the desktop and mobile side does... But MS is against that for reasons I don't get except that it hurts them.

LogicalApex said,

Not really. If memory serves me correctly on this addition... It requires that the app itself be coded to initiate the VPN directly. You can't, for instance, setup a VPN connection in settings then open IE and enter an LAN facing web address.

VPN support needs to be system wide and work like every other OS on the desktop and mobile side does... But MS is against that for reasons I don't get except that it hurts them.

that's a bunch of BS you're peddling. auto triggered VPN means that it will ask you to connect to the VPN, which would already be setup, if the required application requires it,and if you are not already connected to the VPN. VPN is always system wide. this was also added to windows 8.1. please don't make stuff up based on your lack of knowledge about the facts on such features.

LogicalApex said,

It won't be coming for a while... Maybe WP 8.1 or maybe WP9 (or whatever they call it after 8.1)... The reason it is missing from WP is mainly due to a lack of VPN support. Without VPN support in the OS the application becomes very limited in scope. Not many are opening their RDP port to the wider Internet.

Keep in mind, Microsoft's official stance is VPN is useless so it hasn't been added to WP even though it has been requested since its launch in 2010...

Spicoli said,
The RDP apps are designed for the tablets and not the phones which is why there isn't much point In WP8. It is available on the Windows tablets.

I'm not caught up on RDP and a VPN requirement...

There are already decent RDP apps on WP, so what is preventing MS from creating their own RDP app for WP again?

One would think that if 3rd parties are capable of creating an RDP app, MS would be capable of it as well.

vcfan said,

that's a bunch of BS you're peddling. auto triggered VPN means that it will ask you to connect to the VPN, which would already be setup, if the required application requires it,and if you are not already connected to the VPN. VPN is always system wide. this was also added to windows 8.1. please don't make stuff up based on your lack of knowledge about the facts on such features.

You're assuming that the Auto-Triggered VPN feature will work as it does on Windows 8.1. I highly doubt this will be the case due to the way Auto-Triggered VPN is configured on Windows 8.1 and those same options not existing on Windows Phone.


The update will include some form of VPN support, with app aware "auto-triggered" VPN according to Mestres. It's not clear if apps will need to support this functionality, or if it's system wide, but Windows Phone appears to be finally getting VPN support.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7...n-support-feature-pack-2014

Of course, until the feature is officially launched we're both just speculating. The only good news is to see they are adding VPN at all. It was a major reason I dumped Windows Phone. I was shocked that it wasn't in Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft officials said last year that the company had decided to rely on Secure SSL rather than support VPN with Windows Phone 8. One Windows Phone official told me Microsoft considered Secure SSL "a better, light-weight approach" to providing this kind of functionality in the new BYOD (bring your own device) world that is adopting Web servcies.

http://www.zdnet.com/theres-go...-business-users-7000015563/