I’ve been using Splashtop 2 (formerly known as Splashtop
Personal) on my iPhone 5 off and on for the past few months. It’s an easy-to-setup and cost effective virtual desktop solution with great performance over
both public Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Splashtop 2 is compatible with iPhone 3GS+ and iPod touch
(3rd generation and later). A PC with dual-core processors is recommended for
best performance.

Get the Splashtop app

The Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop for iPhone & iPod – Personal
app is available for $4.99 (USD) from
the App Store. It includes the following features:

  • Access for up to five computers via your
    Splashtop Account
  • Gesture support
  • View and edit files without the need for syncing
    to your local devices
  • Support for Windows and Mac programs
  • Watch HD videos and TV shows up to 30 frames per
  • Music streaming
  • Presentation support for full audio and video

At first, Splashtop’s licensing might seem a bit confusing.
Splashtop 2 is intended for non-commercial access for your home computers. I guess
I would be violating the license by writing this post if I hadn’t made the
upgrade to the Anywhere Access Pack (available as an in-app purchase). My other
option would have been Splashtop Business, but that’s more targeted towards
enterprise customers.

The Anywhere Access Pack includes the following features:

  • Access
    across Internet over 3G/4G and Wi-Fi using Splashtop’s secure network of global
    servers (I’m able to access a Mac and Windows PC on my home office network
    using Splashtop over Wi-Fi and the cellular network when I’m working outside
    of my office without much fuss)
  • Optimized
    streaming performance under varying network conditions
  • Full
    security via SSL with 256-bit AES encryption

Note: A free Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop app is also available for Android. I use Splashtop regularly
on one of my Android tablets and find the features and performance on par with
the iOS app.

Setup Splashtop on your PC

The first step to setup Splashtop on your PC is downloading
the Streamer app, which is available for Windows and Mac — plus there’s even a
beta app for Linux.

To download Splashtop Streamer, follow these steps:

  1. Go to http://www.splashtop.com/personal
  2. Click Download Streamer (found under Step 2)
  3. Once the app is downloaded to your PC, follow
    the prompts to install the app
  4. Click Don’t Have One by Don’t Have a Splashtop
  5. Enter in the following:
    a. Your email
    b. Your Splashtop password
    c. Confirm password
  6. Click the Status tab and then Login to your
    Splashtop account

Set Windows security

Splashtop Streamer includes a number of Windows security
options that you may want to consider when setting access from your iPhone to
Windows desktop.

Here’s how to set Windows security:

  1. Click the Security tab
  2. Optionally, select Windows password
  3. Optionally, select security code and then enter
    your security code to the Confirm your security code field
  4. Optionally, select Enable lock screen
  5. Optionally, select Enable blank screen

Set Advanced settings

Advanced settings control port number and proxy settings
when you’re using Splashtop 2 to access a desktop residing behind a corporate
grade firewall.

Click on Advanced Settings and the Splashtop Streamer lets
you perform the following options:

  1. Change Port Number
  2. Change Proxy settings (No proxy, Auto, Manual)
    and you can enter your server name, port number, username, and password in the
    requisite fields

Use Splashtop on your iPhone

Splashtop has some speed under the hood. Scrolling around
the screen is effortless on the iPhone. The steps in this section also work if
you want to use Splashtop 2 on your iPad to take advantage of the additional
screen real estate. However, the iPad app costs a little bit more at $6.99 (USD).

To use Splashtop 2:

  1. Tap the Splashtop icon, and a screen will appear that lists the PCs you can access (Figure A):

    Figure A

  2. Tap on the PC you want to access, and Splashtop will connect to it
  3. Next, when you see a list of Hints-Gestures (Figure B), tap

    Figure B

  4. Navigation on the iPhone’s screen is a bit
    cramped, but you have full touch control over your PC’s
    cursor (and it’s very responsive). Figure C shows a web browser open on my
    desktop accessed through Splashtop:

    Figure C

  5. Tap on the Keyboard icon (bottom right corner)
    and you can open up a touch keyboard with the Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Command key,
    and Esc key available at the top of the keyboard (Figure D):

    Figure D

  6. Optionally, tap on the Gear icon to open the
    Keyboard settings screen. Select On/Off to set the Auto pop up keyboard.

Final thoughts

Splashtop 2 is a fairly simple virtual desktop solution
with a great price point that’s ideal for those incidental or ongoing
requirements for remote access to a PC back in the office. What remote desktop software of apps do you use for your mobile device? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.