Put Windows on Your iPhone or iPad With Parallels Mobile


Parallels Desktop 6 recently launched, and we were all over that with a review. Today, Parallels Mobile is live for the iPad/ iPhone/ iPod touch (s aapl). Parallels Mobile lets you access any virtual machine running on your Mac with Parallels Desktop 6 over Wi-Fi or 3G. The app is free for the taking, but you need the desktop program for it to be of any use. The Parallels Mobile connection takes place using the Parallels server, with login required using the credentials used to register Parallels Desktop 6.

Accessing remote desktop sessions from the iPad has been possible since day one with apps such as LogMeIn Ignition. I’ve been using Parallels Mobile for a solid day, and the draw is that no other app is required. You already have Parallels Desktop 6, and working with the free Mobile version, the two work together to make the connection happen. Parallels Mobile does a good job using the iPad touchscreen to full effect, even while accessing Windows 7 (s msft) as reviewed.

Getting Started

It’s easy to get going with Parallels Mobile by downloading the app from the App Store. Note that it’s available for both the iPhone and the iPad, but only the iPad version is being reviewed. Once the app is installed, go to your virtual machine running on the Mac (Windows 7 Ultimate used in the review), and go to Preferences. There’s a Mobile tab where login credentials are entered. Fire up the app on the iPad, enter the credentials, then tap to connect to the desktop. The connection takes place over the web, so the iPad and desktop can be anywhere. I’ve tested using the Mac running Windows 7 at home and the iPad connecting to it across town. The speed of the connection has a great impact on the speed of operating the desktop system, but it’s been quite usable, even with poor 3G connections.

Parallels Mobile connects to the desktop system in just a few seconds. It can be run in either portrait or landscape orientation (auto-rotation supported), but landscape gives a bigger picture of the desktop. The resolution is outstanding on the iPad, as the app automatically makes the remote desktop fit the width of the iPad screen. The image quality is configurable on the iPad with a slider, but the default setting works very well, providing the best image with good performance.

Windows 7 on the iPad

Interacting with the remote Windows 7 desktop is as simple as tapping on the screen. The system is very responsive and accurate, even while tapping small items. Two-finger scrolling works in any window with a scrollbar, both horizontal and vertical. You can use two-finger pinch/ zoom anywhere in Windows, and it works smoothly. This turns Windows 7 into a fully touch-optimized OS, and a joy to use. Tapping the keyboard icon at the top of the iPad interface pops up an onscreen keyboard that is optimized for use with Windows, including Fn keys.

Anything you can do on a Windows system, you can do in Parallels Desktop, and now that carries to the iPad. Using the program to operate Windows works well, and is even quite fun. I’ve used LogMeIn to control Windows systems in the past (no Mac involved), and the Parallels solution is better. It is as fast (or faster), easier to control, and turns using Windows into a very Mac-like experience.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Are You Empowering Your Mobile Work Force?



And just to clarify, the headline is very misleading, since you’re NOT actually “putting Windows on your iPad or iPhone” in any way by using this app, just that you’re able to remotely control/access a host Apple computer that IS running Parallels with a guest Windows install.

Oh, Remote Tap’s ability to stream audio is a big deal: putting the video aside, imagine being able to stream ANY audio from your desktop to your iPhone or iPad over 3G or wi-fi, regardless of source or DRM status (e.g. iTunes).


Dustin, if you want an iOS VNC app that streams sound, then Remote Tap is what you want. It’s the only one I know of that does audio, too.

You guys do know this doesn’t allow you to “run Windows on an iPad”, right? It seems to me this is a VNC app, only, which allows you to VIEW another computer remotely, and even control it. In fact, this is already possible with many other apps already out there, i.e. Remote Tap, iTeleport, VNC, etc.

Now granted, the Parallels folks may have customized an app (with custom keyboards, etc) to make the most of Parallels, but I just tried Remote Tap, and am able to control Parallels from my iPhone…. Strikes me as more hype than substance, esp. if you’re thinking you’ll be able to RUN Windows on an iPad: not so.


I’d say meh. I’d say meh, and that for two reasons. Firstly, it’s no secret Windows is a very bad operating system. Secondly, Windows is especially bad on touchscreens.

This app is sure nice for showing a document to a friend, remotely printing something or doing similar stuff. For serious computing, it’s awkward. There’s no hover control on touchscreens, so no Aero Peek, no taskbar thumbnail previews, etc. The list based menus are a pain to navigate on touchscreens. And a mouse pointer on a touchscreen? That’s horrible, I know it from using those information kiosk computers in shopping centers. Keyboard navigation is out of the question as well, unless you happen to have a wireless keyboard (and an appropriate surface for it) always with you, but not your MacBook. Finally, who really wants to use an operating system which isn’t as easy to use as it should and needs to be reinstalled weekly, unless you don’t install any software on it?

I can only repeat what I said before: nice for accessing stuff on your own computer, but no alternative for a real computer with a desktop OS. I’d rather go with those VNCs which let you access your Mac – still awkward, but hey – at least it’s not Windows!


OK, so “weekly” is an overstatement, I guess I was somewhere else in my thoughts when writing that part. :-) What I meant was “yearly” – that’s the average life my Windows installations had back in the day I actually used that OS. My friends have similar situations. Now I have Mac OS 10.4 on a PowerBook G4 as my own computer since last December, and I’m way more satisfied than I ever was with Windows.

Also, we have a late 2006 iMac in our household, which originally came with Tiger; it still has the same installation on it (yes, no OS reinstalls since 2006!), and has been upgraded both to 10.5 and 10.6. 10.6 did get messed up once when it wasn’t properly shut down after Flash crashed it, but the installation was fixed using the Snow Leopard DVD. This might sound offtopic, but the point I’m trying to make is that I see little use in using Windows on the iPad, when Apple gives you wonderful iOS and Mac OS.


Does anyone know if sounds view through to your iPad that is the one thing I hate about logmein


This is like figuring out how to convert a nice .308 hunting rifle to fire ball ammunition using black powder. Or how to run your Corvette on kerosene.


Simple two and a half reasons why people want to run windows on an iPad:
1. Your office runs something like OneNote, ACT!, Maximizer, Yardi, Lotus, Novel (i’m sure this list can be substantially “improved”)
2. You don’t have the laptop with you :) (or rather don’t want to have to carry the stup*d laptop with you)
3. Did I mention that the iPad will not run OneNote?


Ha, you don’t need stinkin’ Windows for Groupwise. There’s an app for that. The notify app is free the full client is $5.99.

I don’t know what this love affair is with Hospitals and Novell. Can’t they just be like everyone else and move to Exchange already.


I’m dumb. What does that mean? Can I run windows 7 on the i-Pad?
You know what’s gonna happen. When the i-Pad came out, I heard someone say, “I’ll wait for the tablet that runs Windows.”
So… MS will have a tab that runs Windows 7, and Apple can’t run OS 10, or Windows?
To some people, it’s NOT a computer yet.

I’m completely biased, but my own app is my favorite, though not yet optimized for the iPad. (free test sample available via Private Message, no purchase required)
e.g. “Top 10 Best Free iPad Apps” from iFunia ipad column.

Fabio p

Oh that’s so cool! Finally, I can have a clunky, harder to use OS running on my iPad at a resolution that’s probably too low to actually be useful.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that you can do this sort of thing for those FEW times when its absolutely necessary, but don’t kid yourselves nobody will use this on a regular basis for day-to-day stuff … if you do, maybe you should consider a netbook instead of an iPad. For most of us this is just a gimmick.



If you need Windows 7 access, you shouldn’t be using an iPad in the first place.

If you have an iPad, why do you want to run Windows on it?

Proof again that this is yet another attempt for the iPad to be useful – when it isn’t really. Not for serious work, and not for people with a bit more common sense.


Ha that’s a good one. So those people who do real estate appraisals, Insurance adjusters, healthcare providers, probation officers, social workers don’t do real work. Guess what there are apps for that and were dumping laptops and broadband cards altogether because it’s serious work to provision and support a fleet of Windows laptops out in the field. No we don’t want to deal with people whining that the can’t get on because they let their anti-virus definitions go past 30 days and can’t get past the NAC. Or deal with web portals that only run on IE6 when the schmucks get smart and load IE8. No we can run all that crappy broken legacy Windows stuff in it’s own little sand box. Braindead simple is where it’s at. It’s against common sense to think spending $629 on an oversized iPhone you can’t talk on would actually save you more money than a $629 laptop but when you look at the total cost in it’s entirety it makes a world of difference.

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” Albert Einstein


I had a eeePC but running wvdial and vpnc was too tedious to get online. I got a mini10v with always on Snow Leopard but waiting for 3G to kick in is still too long. Not to mention you can’t walk and type at the same time. I get 6 hours with the giant honking hemorrhoid of a battery pack on the thing. My iPad can go 11 and there is no wait. The only downside is AT&T’s dead zones.


Does this mean I can watch flash videos on my iPad now through the windows environment?


I use jump desktop – better than logmein (no software needed on the Mac/PC) and will do just what this does but better. Its nice they have this available and I’ll give it a try, but it won’t likely replace Jump Desktop and its functionality.


This is a serious game changer! Do you know if they have updated Parallels for Snow Leopard? VPN support for iPads is already available on Snow Leopard. No more cracking open a laptop, waiting for the broadband card to connect just instant on with an iPad this is a big time paradigm shift!

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