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Parallels Access review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £35
inc VAT

Has promise, and the App launcher is a nice touch, but it’s too expensive


Access’s onscreen keyboard is very useful if you need to use buttons such as the Windows key, which obviously isn’t available on the default iOS keyboard. Text can also be copied and pasted between client and host, but sadly there’s no built-in means of transferring files between devices.

Parallels Access onscreen Keyboard
Parallels Access onscreen Keyboard

Annoyingly the current version of Access doesn’t let you switch between running apps in OS X Mavericks. The task-switch button on Access’s floating toolbar worked normally in older versions of OS X but had no effect in Mavericks. This is known issue, and Parallels says it’ll be fixed in the next update of the app. In the meantime, the easiest fix is to put Access in Desktop mode so that it mirrors the entire Mac Desktop, including the taskbar.

Access replaces an earlier Parallels app called Mobile, which treated any Parallels Desktop virtual machine as a remote computer. Access lacks this feature, so accessing virtual machines isn’t so simple. One option is to launch Parallels Desktop on the Mac remotely, followed by the appropriate virtual machine; the other is to use Parallel’s Desktop option to add virtual Windows applications to the OS X Taskbar, then to the Access Launch Pad.

Access is a slick app, but it doesn’t present desktop apps well enough on the iPad’s screen. Desktop apps still look like Desktop apps and Access does little to overcome the limitations of using them on a small touchscreen display. We also think that it’s expensive. You’re charged per year for use, and you must buy a subscription for each computer to which you connect. This makes it poor value compared to a free app such as LogMeIn for iOS, which we think is a much better and equally capable option.

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