Parallels Access, the remote access and control iOS application from Parallels, Inc., today received a major update to version 2.0 that not only added some new features, but added support for the iPhone. The update is available at no cost to current users through the App Store's update process, although users will also need to download the latest Mac or Windows client as well to host the remote session.
The new features include:
- Universal app now runs on iPhone for the first time
- Users can now change the screen resolution
- There's a new file browser for accessing files on your remote computer
- The app can now wake a sleeping remote computer
- Registration and login can be done with a Facebook account as well as the traditional Parallels account
- Have a Mac or Windows app that requires microphone input? You can use the mic on your iPhone or iPad as a microphone for your remote Mac or Windows machine.
In limited testing by TUAW, we found the new features to work quite well. The file browser is something in particular that had been needed since the app first appeared last August, providing a way to dig through files and apps on any mounted drive.
I found Parallels Access to be surprisingly usable on the iPhone, especially when using Siri dictation to enter text rather then tapping out words on the virtual keyboard.
That's not to say that there aren't a few bugs visible in the 2.0 release: application icons on the iPhone all showed up as generic icons and Parallels Access did a poor job of putting app windows back into the right locations once the iPhone was disconnected. But for the most part, the apps work quite well.
Update: The issues were resolved when the proper Mac host software was downloaded and installed. Although the proper link to the downloads had been followed, the 2.0 host software wasn't available to this reviewer for at least a day.
The apps are free; the service is now less expensive, costing only $19.99 annually or $34.99 for two years (up to five computers for one individual user). Parallels is sweetening the pot by offering a two-year subscription to Parallels Access for US$29.99 through the end of June 2014.