How to stream apps from your phone to your Chromebook

Phone Hub open on Chromebook with Galaxy Z Fold 4
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

There's a lot to be said about how your phone can become an extension of the computer that you use. Apple's iPhone works seamlessly with the Mac, with AirDrop for easy file transfers, iMessage for replying to messages, and more. On the Android side of things, Phone Link (formerly Link to Windows), allows for similar functionality. 

However, this gets turned up a notch if you use Phone Link with something like the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Samsung and Microsoft have been working to improve the software, making it possible for you to use apps you downloaded on your phone, from your computer. 

In early 2022, Google introduced similar functionality to what Phone Link offers. But instead of focusing on improving the Windows experience, Google's solution is for those using a Pixel phone with one of the best Chromebooks. Despite being announced at CES 2022, not much progress seemed to have been made. 

Thankfully, that's not the case as this was made possible with the release of ChromeOS Canary 114. This coincided with the release of a new "Cross-Device Services" app that debuted on the Play Store. Equipped with both of these, you can now enjoy Chromebook app streaming.

How to stream apps from your phone to your Chromebook

1. Open the Settings app on your Chromebook.

2. Click Connected devices in the sidebar.

3. Click the Set up button.

(Image credit: Android Central)

4. Follow the on-screen steps to connect your Android phone to your Chromebook.

(Image credit: Android Central)

5. Once connected, select your Android phone under the Connected devices section.

(Image credit: Android Central)

6. Make sure that Phone Hub is enabled.

7. Click the toggle next to Apps (Beta) to the On position.

(Image credit: Android Central)

8. From the window that appears, click the Next button.

(Image credit: Android Central)

9. In the taskbar, click the Phone icon in the bottom right corner.

10. Under the Recent apps section, select the messaging app you want to stream.

(Image credit: Android Central)

It's still under construction

When this feature was first discovered, many enthusiasts jumped at the chance to try it out and see what was possible. However, Google subsequently removed the Cross-Device Services listing from the Play Store, although it seems to have reappeared. 

Additionally, there's a chance that this could become a "Pixel-only" feature, as we have been unable to get it working on our Galaxy S23 Ultra or Galaxy Z Fold 4. For the time being, you might not be able to get app streaming working properly, but it might just be a matter of time until Google properly introduces this upcoming feature.

Chromebook App Streaming could be huge

Using Phone Hub on your Chromebook already provides quite a bit of additional functionality compared, with Google continuing to add new features. However, we would argue that Chromebook app streaming could take this experience to the next level. 

Instead of just seeing the notification come through on your Chromebook when someone messages you, this feature makes it possible to actually open the app. This way, you'll be able to see the history of the conversation or switch over to a different conversation. Plus, it's not limited to just messaging apps, as you'll be able to pull up pretty much every app you have installed on your phone, right from Phone Hub on your Chromebook.


Google Cross-Device Services

If you want to try out Chromebook app streaming for yourself, you'll need to download this new app from Google.

Download from: Google Play Store

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.