The past year has seen a dramatic rise in the purchase of tablets and smartphones in comparison to PCs. Computers still dominate in the work place, but it has become increasingly common for home and smaller office tasks to be carried out on smaller devices that are cheaper and more mobile. While it is possible for you to edit work documents in cloud sharing folders, using specific apps such as CloudOn on your iPad, it can be tremendously convenient to be able to access and control your desktop from your iPad or iPhone, whether you want to edit files or simply use your mobile device as a remote control for the larger one for presentations. There are loads of paid-for apps available out there for this service, however we would like to draw your attention to the best of the free remote desktop apps for iPad.
As a remote desktop TeamViewer offers a decent performance for a free app. You need to install the corresponding TeamViewer software on your PC or Mac or indeed any other computer in the world. You then enter a user number and password provided by the PC app in the iPad to initiate the remote desktop to appear. If the PC is unmanned then you can enter a previously set password to access the desktop from anywhere. The app supports text voice and video chat additionally, which can be useful if you are fixing a problem remotely for someone. One fault with the app is that there is a slight lag and delay in movement, however this is only really an issue when using the iPad as a remote to control the larger machine in instances such as presentations. The app is free to use for personal use, with an upgrade giving extra features such as meetings.
In the same way as TeamViewer or other remote desktop apps, LogMeIn requires you to be running corresponding software live on the machine you wish to access remotely. It offers fairly smooth performance although has trouble with 1080p videos. However there is a useful file browser, saving you the trouble of navigating to locate files. As a free app, another excellent choice for covering for yourself at work.
PocketCloud Remote Desktop
PocketCloud allows you access your PC or Mac securely from your iPad once you have given the relevant permissions. The multi-touch feature of the iPad allows you to control the mouse and keyboard of the remote computer easily and a number of custom and international keyboards are supported. Other useful features are the ability to copy and paste between the iPad and the remote systems and it even works over a 3G connection. Upgrading to the paid-for version allows connection to multiple systems at once.
iRemoteDesktop Free is designed to support the Retina screens on the newer iPads and connects you remotely to your Windows PC. You can work in portrait or landscape modes and it is easy to control the mouse and keyboard of the remote PC using the multi-touch iPad feature and has an in-app keyboard with international support for many languages. Just to note, you really should check before downloading the app which versions of Windows are supported, to ensure that you can control your own machine. At the time of writing, supported versions are Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate, and Windows Server 2000/2003/2008.