How to mirror your Android phone screen to PC for free, with full keyboard and mouse support

How to mirror your Android phone screen to PC for free, with full keyboard and mouse support
There are a number of great reasons for why you may want to mirror your Android phone or tablet to your PC. Doing so would allow you to not only get a bigger screen for viewing the content on your phone, but you can use your computer's keyboard and mouse to respond to messages on mobile-only apps, navigate through your phone's files, edit photos and even enjoy some Android gaming with a keyboard instead of on a touch screen, where supported.

On the Google Play Store, plenty of paid apps can be found, that offer Android-to-Windows PC mirroring, of varying success. Most of them require you to download a desktop client along with their mobile app, register an account, and more things you may want to skip. So we're going to take a look at a completely free, simple Windows application that does what we're after perfectly, and requires very little tinkering with your phone.

The short version of how to mirror an Android phone's screen to a Windows PC

  1. Download and extract the scrcpy program on your Windows computer
  2. Enable USB Debugging on your Android phone, via Settings > Developer options
  3. Connect your Windows PC with the phone via a USB cable
  4. Tap "Allow USB Debugging" on your phone
  5. (Optional) On the PC, press Ctrl+F to mirror your phone in fullscreen

The detailed process

1. Getting the Windows application

The software in question is called scrcpy, which, perhaps due to its name being difficult to remember and discover, isn't as popular as it should be. After opening the linked page, and scrolling down to the "Get the app" section, click the link under "Windows" to download it on your PC. Then simply extract the downloaded archive wherever you want, and we're done with the PC part for now.

Note: Mac and Linux users can run this software too, with instructions shown on its page, but we'll focus on Windows for now.

2. Preparing your phone for mirroring by enabling USB Debugging

To use this app, your phone or tablet has to be running Android 5.0 or higher. You will need to enable Developer options in order to also enable USB Debugging on it, for this to work.

To enable Developer options, go to your phone's Settings, then to About Phone, and tap "Build number" repeatedly until a message pops up, letting you know you've enabled Developer options successfully. For a detailed walkthrough with pictures, see this article.

Now back in Settings you should be able to find "Developer options." After clicking it, you'll see yet another Developer options button, tap that to unlock the extra features, then carefully scroll down until you find the "USB debugging" option, and enable that. You can now go back to the phone's home screen.

Note: Avoid tinkering with anything else in Developer options, as it may lead to unwanted changes to your device's interface or behavior. Some phones and tablets, notably Xiaomi ones, also have an additional option that needs to be enabled, named "USB debugging (Security settings)."

3. Connecting your Android device and PC via a USB cable

Now we're ready to connect the phone to the Windows PC via USB. After doing that, on your PC, go to the folder where you extracted scrcpy and open the application of the same name. The first time you do this, your phone may request that you allow USB debugging from the connected computer, just tap OK.

Now, when you run the "scrcpy" application, you should see a window with your phone's screen, which you can move around, resize, and change to fullscreen by pressing Ctrl+F. Use your computer's keyboard and mouse to navigate through your phone, respond to text messages, edit files, and more. In addition, you can drag files from your PC to that screen, which will be transferred to the phone's Downloads folder.

And we're done! You can now see and control your smartphone from your Windows PC with minimal latency, as we're using a USB connection instead of a wireless one.

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