Microsoft on Tuesday made a major announcement that will help iPhone users who also use a Windows PC as their primary computer. The latest beta of the company’s Phone Link app on Windows 11 will allow users to access iMessage on iPhone and perform basic chat functions.
Microsoft provides details on how this works on its Windows Insider Blog. The Phone Link app, which previously used Bluetooth to connect only to Android phones, has a new option for iPhone. Once a connection is established and the setup is done, users have basic support to access contacts, make calls, and use iPhone Messages for text conversations.
However, support for Messages does not go beyond one-to-one interaction. According to Microsoft’s blog post, group messaging isn’t supported, and you can’t send images, audio, or video. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi also pointed out that Phone Link can’t tell the difference between a standard text message and one sent via iMessage—hence no green or blue chat bubbles. Also, Phone Link can only see the messages it has sent and received, so it won’t show an iPhone’s entire chat history.
Microsoft hasn’t mentioned whether iMessage features like editing or unsent messages, or bubble and screen effects will be available, but it’s safe to assume they won’t be. However, for many iPhone users who also use Windows PCs as their primary computer, this is another great new feature to allow access to Apple devices and services. Last November, Microsoft added iCloud Photos access to the Windows 11 Photos app. Microsoft also has available preview versions of the Apple Music and Apple TV apps for Windows; these apps should be completed later this year.
The new version of Phone Link with iOS support is in beta and is only available through developers in the Windows Insider program. Microsoft is gradually making the app available to developers, with more developers gaining access over time. Microsoft has not announced when the app will be available to the public, but it will likely be part of a Windows 11 update.