What you need to know
- Intel announced its Unison application to connect Android and iPhone to computers in the fall of 2022.
- The app was supposed to appear in limited availability for some Intel Evo computers.
- Intel Unison was quietly released in late November and is now available.
- Although Intel claims that Unison is available “on qualified Intel Evo builds,” I can install it on any computer, including those based on Qualcomm ARM.
In early September, Intel announced its new application, “Unison,” which builds on technology from its purchase of Israeli startup Screenovate (read my in-depth dive and interviews on the subject). The program is similar to Microsoft Phone Link (aka Your Phone) in that it allows you to connect your smartphone to your Windows PC to receive notifications, text messages, phone calls, and more.
However, the big difference with Intel Unison is that it also runs on Apple’s iOS — something Phone Link doesn’t. In fact, all the same features work on Android, including photos, file transfers, message sending and receiving, and notifications.
Intel indicated at the time that Unison would first launch on select Intel 12th Gen Evo systems from Acer, HP, and Lenovo “this holiday season,” but we haven’t heard from Intel or any other PC manufacturer since its release.
As it turns out, it already exists and can be found in the Microsoft Store.
Referring to the reviews, the app must have been released around November 22nd, although I don’t know when exactly it was released. Users must also install the corresponding apps from Google Play and the Apple App Store, with pairing occurring via a simple QR code and permission allowances.
Perhaps most interestingly, the app works on any Windows 11 PC I’ve tried it on, despite Intel claiming it only works on “eligible Intel Evo builds.”
For example, you have successfully installed Intel Unison on a Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, running an 11th Gen Intel processor as well as a Lenovo ThinkPad X13s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 ARM processor. Of course, both should be left out, but they work flawlessly when paired with iOS or Android.
Intel Unison has also unsurprisingly worked on the latest HP Dragonfly laptops (the Elite Dragonfly G3 and Dragonfly Folio G3), based on Intel 12th Gen Evo designs, and a Core i9 13th Gen desktop PC, which is not part of the Intel Evo program.
In terms of performance, Unison is similar to Microsoft’s Phone Link but handles connections better (it’s expected to support Wi-Fi Direct rather than being on the same network). And while the current iteration lacks support for application mirroring, this feature will likely come later as Intel builds out the application experience for Unison.
However, being able to get notifications, browse photos, send files, and receive text messages on your iPhone is the real treat here. In the short time I’ve been playing with Unison on the iPhone 13 Mini, I haven’t been able to notice the difference between the experience on Android. The only change is that you need to take an extra step during setup to allow Bluetooth pairing.
The downside I noticed compared to Microsoft Phone Link is that you can only pair one computer and one smartphone at a time. I expect Intel to address this in future versions of Unison, but for now, this is a limitation for some who have multiple phones or Windows laptops.
Of course, when Dell had Mobile Connect (based on Screenovate before Intel bought the company), users could also install it on any Windows PC for a short while. Dell eventually caught up and restricted the ability to install via the Microsoft Store. I wouldn’t be surprised if Intel did the same, though the company has indicated that Unison will be open with few restrictions.
An Intel Evo feature may be in play for Unison with potential improvements around the Intel Wi-Fi 6x platform and mobile processors, as it will have better control over the entire connection packet.
Regardless, if you ever wanted to connect your iPhone to your Windows PC, now is the time to set it up, especially if you are using older hardware.
Warning: I haven’t tested it on all types of Windows computers, so your mileage may vary.
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Intel Unison lets you connect your Android or iOS smartphone to your Windows 11 PC to receive notifications and messages, transfer photos and files, make calls, and more.
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