Extend your reach with Parallels Mobile for iOS

Wil Limoges tries out the Parallels Mobile App for iOS, which allows you to access your Mac and various virtual machines remotely and reliably.

Not so long ago I wrote about a great App that allowed you to use your iOS device as a second monitor, but what Apps are great for when you need to access your Mac remotely? To be honest, there are several Apps available on the App store that can accomplish this goal quite elegantly, however, few that are as powerful and useful as Parallels Mobile for iOS.

Parallels Mobile is not a standalone App and does require both Parallels for Mac and a free account which you must create either at Parallels website or during the setup process of Parallels for Mac. Once Parallels for Mac is installed, you’ve created a virtual machine or two, and you've set up an account at parallels.com, head over to the App Store and pick up Parallels Mobile, available for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. As of this writing, Parallels is offering Parallels Mobile for $4.99 for a limited time and will offer the App for $19.99 as it’s standard price once the offer is over.

Set up

Setting up Parallels Mobile was a cinch. Having just installed Parallels for Mac, I proceeded to register my copy and create an account with Parallels during the registration process. After installing a copy of Windows XP, I downloaded the iOS App for my iPad and followed the onscreen instructions for enabling Mobile access within Parallels for Mac, then entering my account information into Parallels Mobile. Once entered, you are presented with a list of Macs that are mobile-enabled from within Parallels for Mac under your account. Choosing one from the list will provide you access to a list of all the virtual machines that you’ve created within Parallels for Mac. Selecting one of your virtual machines from the list will power on the selected virtual machine, if it’s not already running, and give you complete control over it using gestures and the iOS devices virtual keyboard. Interestingly, you’ll notice from the screenshot below that your Mac also appears in this list. Like any of your virtual machines, you can also use Parallels Mobile to access your Mac desktop right from your iOS device.

What I found most impressive was how easily I could connect to any of the computers I have Parallels installed on, that the connection was stable, and that my Macs were responsive both locally and remotely. I’ve used many other methods for accessing my Macs remotely such as Mobile Me/iCloud and VNC, and never have I been able to connect directly to my remote machines without first having to make adjustments to my firewall or by connecting to a VPN. Having access to several different OS types including your native OS has been a boon for me. No longer do I have to rely on my primary machine for testing, nor do I have to be bound to my desk. I can take Parallels Mobile with me freely to use when and where I need it. Not to mention, it makes troubleshooting within business environments a snap. All in all, I was very pleased with my experience and I highly recommend the App to anyone who manages multiple virtual machines on multiple Macs with Parallels for Mac.