LogMeIn (s logm) has a nice holiday gift for iOS (s aapl) device owners this season: a new free app called simply LogMeIn (iTunes link) that provides remote viewing access and control of Macs and PCs on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It’s basically what the paid version LogMeIn Ignition provides, without ads or limitations.
Along with free remote control of an unlimited number of Macs or PCs from your iOS device with LogMeIn, LogMeIn Pro (a paid upgrade available in-app for $39.99 per year) also provides access to your computer’s entire file structure, where you can grab files and copy them to local storage, other computers, or to cloud-based storage via online services like Dropbox, Google Docs(s GOOG) or any WebDav server. You can even move or copy entire folders at once, and open a variety of file types right within LogMeIn, including audio, video, image and document files.
Getting set up is a breeze, and the LogMeIn app walks you through the process. You’ll have to sign up for an account, then download a client application on the computers you want to be able to access remotely. It’s the simplest solution I’ve seen for getting remote access set up both within and outside of your own home Wi-Fi network, and testing over 3G shows it works great even on cellular connections. By default, the app uses a somewhat strange navigation system that moves the screen instead of the cursor, but you can switch to cursor mode relatively easily if the default mode isn’t working for you.
The free version of LogMeIn is probably all most people need, especially if you just want to check on a download or video rendering progress, or control a media center PC from the comfort of the couch without the added hassle of wireless mice and keyboards. But LogMeIn has wisely thrown in a Pro trial with each new sign up, and the file management features and cloud service access are mighty tempting. Also, the Pro subscription provides HD video and audio playback from PCs, with a Mac implementation of the same feature planned for the near future.
If you’ve previously purchased LogMeIn Ignition, you’re lucky; you get grandfathered in to the new Pro features automatically. This is a smart move for LogMeIn in general, though, since it should introduce many more people to the service’s remote viewing functions, which is tempting bait for the new recurring Pro subscription.