While owners of iPhone, iPods and iPads can turn to iTunes to manage their iOS devices from Windows – or indeed OS X – the options available to Android users are far more varied. Depending on which device you have, you may find that you have an incredibly useful piece of software that you can use to connect to your Android powered phone or tablet, but you may also end up with something terrible or even nothing at all.
SnapPea is a free tool that can be used to manage your Android device from Windows, backup data, install apps, take screenshots and much more. This is an app that is currently in beta, but it’s already taking shape and there’s a big bonus over some other comparable tools: there’s no need to root your device.
Snappea has clearly been designed with all levels of ability in mind, and you’re guided through every step of the process of getting connected then up and running. You’ll need to activate USB Debugging mode on your phone, and the first time you connect your Android to your computer you’ll be provided with full instructions. This is the most complicated thing you’ll have to do, so this gives you a good idea of just how easy it is to use SnapPea.
Once the necessary drivers have been installed, you’re ready to get started – although you may find that this takes a few minutes. The first thing you’ll need to do is choose between linking your phone to your computer or not. This will make things a great deal easier as it enables you to take advantage of automatic backups and other options, but you may decide against this if you are using SnapPea on more than one computer.
You’ll immediately notice SnapPea’s wonderful clean, uncluttered interface which is a far cry from the likes of iTunes. The main Welcome screen displays an image of your phone – it actually pulls in a stock image of the precise model you are using – complete with a mirror of whatever is displayed on your screen.
You can switch to full screen mode if you like, but whether you do this or remain in windows mode you can use your computer monitor to view exactly what is going on on your phone and even take screenshots that can be shared to Facebook. This is a great way to quickly browse through your data on a larger screen and also gives you importing and exporting options.
Contacts, Messages & More
A series of links to the left hand side of the SnapPea interface provides access to your contacts, Text messages and other content stored on your phone. The ability to backup messages and contacts in this way is useful, as is the option of sending text messages from your computer so you can take advantage of a full keyboard.
Apps and other data can also be managed from SnapPea. The Apps section can be used to view a list of all the apps you have installed, move between memory card and internal storage and uninstall anything you no longer need. In this case, selecting the Export option enables you to backup APK files to your hard drive and these can be used at a later date to reinstall software you decide you want to start using again.
Managing music, images and videos is similarly simple, and you can easily select large numbers of files. Perhaps more usefully, SnapPea also provides you with an easy way to view a slideshow of photos on a larger monitor without the need to transfer the files first. If you are making the move from an iPhone to an Android device, or you’ve just been using iTunes to manage your music collection, you can use the app to import your iTunes library so you have it available wherever you want it.
One of the great things about using Android rather than iOS is that there are far more opportunities for downloading apps from different sources. While Google Play may still be your first port of call, you are not tied to using it and there are numerous other services that provide free and paid-for apps. This is something recognized by SnapPea which enables you to also download apps through 1Mobile.
In a similar vein, you can also access movies and more through TED talks and iTunesMovies. While this may not sound like anything especially ground-breaking, it’s nice to have everything tied together and available in one place.
The backup feature of SnapPea is a great reason for installing the app, and it is a great alternative to the backup tools that are bundled by some mobile phone operators. Having backups performed automatically when your phone is connected to your computers takes the hard work out of safeguarding data.
To make things even easier, it is possible to configure SnapPea to spring into action whenever your phone and computer are on the same network. This is an amazingly simple way to automate data backup as it means that you can leave the house in the morning, use your phone throughout the day and, as soon as your return home and connect to your network, any files you have created and data you have generated will be automatically copied to your computer.
Taking control of an Android device from a PC is not something that has been standardized, but should enough people discover just how easy and intuitive things are in SnapPea, this could easily become the go-to app for smartphone owners around the world. Spread the word!