Hello, my name is Ayesha Mascarenhas, and I work on the Remote Desktop team. Today, I would like to tell you about the new Microsoft Remote Desktop Beta app we released on Google Play.

Those of you using Android devices today may already be familiar with the Remote Desktop app for Android. The Remote Desktop Beta app released today is a separate application with a brand-new user interface design and new features. The Remote Desktop team is looking forward to our users test driving this new application and providing us feedback.

How should you decide which app to use?

The Microsoft Remote Desktop app for Android, originally released in 2013 and updated regularly, is our fully tested and fully featured application. It supports connecting to desktops, remote resources and Azure RemoteApp. This is the app you should use in a live operating environment.

The Microsoft Remote Desktop Beta app for Android is a pre-release app. This app showcases the new user interface design and features we would like to receive your feedback on. This app does not have all the features that the release version has, and will not have the release level of product support. You may post your feedback and comments on the Remote Desktop clients forum.

What’s new in Beta 8.1.0

The Beta app currently supports connections to desktops only. It introduces the following features

  • A new user interface design
  • Improved management of user accounts
  • Ability to connect to multiple sessions

Experience the new user interface design

When you launch the Beta app, you will notice a fresh new look and feel.

  • Connection center – The connection center is the starting point of the app and allows you to easily find and manage the desktops that you want to connect to.
    • Tap the Add button (+) to add a new desktop
    • Tap on a desktop tile to connect to it
    • Tap the overflow icon on each tile to shows you options to edit or delete the settings for an individual desktop
    • Tap the resume icon (to the left of +) to return to your last active connection



Figure 1: The new connection center.

  • Navigation drawer – The navigation drawer, is where you can manage global settings that can be applied across all desktops. Go here to
    • Turn off desktop previews in the connection center
    • Manage your user accounts


Figure 2: The navigation drawer

Improved management of user accounts

With 8.1.0, you can now manage user accounts easily with the ability to save a user account once, and use this saved user account across multiple desktop connections. You can add a new user account by going to the navigation drawer and selecting ‘User accounts’.


Figure 3: Adding a new user account.

You can also add a new user account or choose a previously saved user account while adding a new desktop connection.

Connect to multiple sessions

With this new beta app, you can connect to multiple desktops simultaneously and switch between them easily using the session switching functionality.

  • Tap on the connection bar (at the top) to open the side menus. Switch between active connections by tapping on the active desktops on the left.
  • Start new connections without returning to the connection center by tapping the “Start New” button and selecting from the list of desktops that appear.
  • Return to the connection center without disconnecting your sessions by tapping the “Home” button
  • Switch from mouse pointer to touch mode input by toggling the “Mouse Pointer” / “Touch” button


Figure 4: The new in-session experience.

Desktop connections

In addition to the changes above, the Beta app continues to support the following functionality within desktop connections that the release app supports:

  • Rich multi-touch experience supporting Windows gestures as well as a mouse pointer mode
  • Seamless audio and video streaming
  • An extended keyboard with access to Fn keys and Windows shortcuts
  • Android device local storage redirection

Try it now

I encourage you to download the Beta app today from Google Play and test the experience on your Android device. This is only the beginning! Keep an eye out for future updates where we will add additional features and experiences including support for Remote Desktop Gateway, Remote Resources (RemoteApp and Desktop Connections), and Azure RemoteApp preview.

Want to use Remote Desktop on your other devices? Check out the Microsoft Remote Desktop apps for Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, iOS, Mac OS X and the release version of our app on Android.

Note: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the Remote Desktop clients forum.

Thank you!

Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) Team Blog

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