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Skype's Latest Feature Will Help You Show Your Parents How to Use Their New Phone

Illustration for article titled Skypes Latest Feature Will Help You Show Your Parents How to Use Their New Phone

Apps like VNC or Window’s Remote Desktop Connection have long been an invaluable tool for kids tasked with remotely solving their parents’ computer woes. But Skype might soon be the new secret weapon when it comes to helping baby boomers figure out how to use their new-fangled smartphones, as it’s soon rolling out a new screen sharing feature on its iOS and Android apps.

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Microsoft’s been on an upgrade spree with Skype in recent months, bringing support for up to 50 users at a time (do you really want to chat to that many family members at once?) and a novel feature that uses artificial intelligence to automatically blur what’s in the background of your video chat. For the iOS and Android versions of the app, users will soon be able to share their smartphone screens during a call. Microsoft suggests this will be useful for sharing PowerPoint presentations, or collaborating with friends as you swipe your way through Tinder matches.

But the real power of this new feature will only be understood by anyone who’s ever had to talk an older family member or friend through their smartphone’s Settings section over the phone. Instead of having to describe what they should be seeing and where to tap, users can now just demonstrate where a certain feature or option is. It’s not quite as useful as just completely taking control of their mobile device remotely, but it’s easily the next best thing, and much easier to set up.

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Skype’s mobile screen sharing feature is currently only available in the most recent 8.3 beta version of the apps, so if you want to try it out now you’ll need to sign up for the Skype Insider Program if you’re not already a member. But a member of the Skype team has told us it should be rolled out in the official version of the app sometime this month if you can wait just a few more weeks.

[Microsoft via The Verge]

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DISCUSSION

ImALeafOnTheWind
ImALeafOnTheWind

UGH! Even the most patient person can get frustrated having to walk someone through tapping and entering stuff on the phone to do remote fixes. I’ve been using Teamviewer Quicksupport for logging in and fixing/setting up my Mom’s Android devices remotely and it works great, as it saves you from doing all of that! 

I just wish i could do the same for iOS users, but the most Apple will let you do is remotely view the screen. That also goes for any MDM that has remote support access for mobile - Apple has only ever let you view the screen remotely at the most. We’d love for them to open that up, as our work environment is 99% iOS for mobile devices and it’s just so much faster to remotely control a device rather than talk someone through actions.