Microsoft just found another way to connect your phone and your PC, but you can't try it yet

 Microsoft Edge Canary on Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Microsoft Edge Canary on Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is working on a feature that will allow your smartphone to appear within File Explorer on a PC.

  • A toggle for this feature has been in Windows 11 for "some time" according to the person who leaked images of the option, but the toggle has been hidden.

  • The feature will let you navigate the files on your phone through File Explorer without having to connect your phone to your PC with a wire.

Connecting your phone and your computer has gotten much easier over the last few years. In addition to many services and apps extending across various form factors, there are several apps to connect a smartphone and a computer in 2024. Microsoft is among the tech giants pushing PC/phone connectivity on the Windows side of things. Soon, Windows 11 will have yet another way to make your phone and PC feel like one device.

According to a leak by PhantomOcean3 on X (formerly Twitter), Windows will soon support showing a mobile device in File Explorer. Of course, it's already possible to make a phone appear in File Explorer, but it requires a wired connection. Being able to transfer files wirelessly by using File Explorer would be a more seamless experience than what's currently available on Windows.

Microsoft has similar functionality when it comes to viewing photos from your mobile device on your PC. That should soon extend to other types of files, assuming the feature rolls out to general users.

"Looks like the Cross Device Experience Host will let you make your device show up in File Explorer in a future update, a toggle for this has been hidden in the app for some time," said PhantomOcean3.

A follow-up post shows the permission request dialog that will appear when you try to enable the feature.

Microsoft hasn't discussed this feature publicly, but it seems likely that it will make its way through Insider channels in the future. There's always a chance that the company will change its plans, but having a toggle for the feature hidden for a while suggests plans to roll out the option are moving forward.

The new feature for Windows 11 is part of a new "manage mobile devices" app that is available starting with Windows 11 version 24H2. That app lets you connect your smartphone to your PC outside of the Phone Link app for certain functionality, such as seeing notifications about photos. You can also set up a smartphone's webcam to connect to your PC wirelessly through this experience. Phone Link remains available and provides different ways to sync your PC and phone, such as syncing text messages and notifications.