Access your home computer with your iPhone – Gadling reviews LogMeIn Ignition

Have you ever had the need to access files on your home computer when you are on the road? If you carry an iPhone or iPod Touch, LogMeIn Ignition might be the solution.

LogMeIn Ignition has been around for some time – providing remote access to your computer using nothing more than a browser. It is one of the most popular secure ways to get at your computer remotely. With their Ignition for iPhone program, that functionality is extended to your Phone.

To use LogMeIn, you perform a one-time installation on your computer, followed by setting up an account, and testing the connection. Once installed, you download and install the $29.99 LogMeIn Ignition app from the App Store.To access your computer(s), you open the LogMeIn app, enter your account information, and in the next step, you are presented with the computers assigned to your account. This allows you to add one or more computers (home, work, laptop).

Once you are connected to the computer itself, you need to enter the user account of that machine – this may seem like a complicated waste of time, but you need to understand that you are gaining access to everything on your computer. By providing these two levels of authentication, you are keeping your files as safe as possible.

The application works on single and multi-monitor setups, and on my own desktop I use three monitors. Switching between those three screens is extremely simple – you can shake your iPhone to switch, or you can enter the configuration menu and manually pick one.

This screenshot is from the display on my iPhone – you can see the taskbar at the bottom and my desktop in the background. Zooming is done like any other zoom action on your phone (pinch) and you can scroll the screen around.

Selecting things is equally simple – you move your selection under the mouse pointer, and tap. Single taps are single, double taps are double (duh) and two finger taps are right clicks. It all works amazingly well.

The performance obviously depends on the quality of your connection.

When on Wi-Fi, things are blazing, but 3G is still very usable. Once on Edge it can still be used, but you’ll need a lot of patience.

The only minor slowdown is the creation of the screen during the first connection. Other than that, you can scroll and browse around just fine.

Of course, LogMeIn Ignition is no replacement for your iPhone browser or email client, but it is a fantastic way to get at files or emails you left on your PC that you need to access. One added bonus is that you can use LogMeIn Ignition to access your home PC to access Flash based websites, since the iPhone can’t do Flash.

For green conscious users, there is even a way to access your computer when it is in sleep mode – by enabling “Wake On Lan” on your PC, you can configure your computer to turn on when it receives a request from LogMeIn. I did not test this, because my computer is on 24/7 (I run various other servers on it that I like to access on the road).

Travel uses

The travel uses for LogMeIn are endless – you can access files you forgot to copy to your phone, access emails, documents and even edit and create files on your desktop, directly on your iPhone.

I’ve used it several times to email myself a file, and while it obviously takes a little longer than when I’m directly behind my computer, the experience is not bad at all.

Final thoughts

There is no other way to say it – LogMeIn Ignition works absolutely perfectly. Of course, it isn’t for everyone, and if you have no need to ever access files on your computer, the $29.99 investment will be a waste, but if you are like me (and regularly need to access your PC), it can be a lifesaver.

With LogMeIn Ignition on your phone, you can access PC and Mac based machines. The basic version of the LogMeIn service is free – and allows you to connect to your computer using the LogMeIn desktop app, LogMeIn Ignition through your browser or LogMeIn Ignition for the iPhone.

An Android version has been announced, and will be available soon.

The best part of the solution is that you can extend it beyond your iPhone if you want – the browser based version is equally impressive and lets you completely take over your home PC from a remote location.

If you need to add more features, LogMeIn Pro adds file sharing, remote printing, sound sharing and more. LogMeIn Pro is $69.95/year.

You’ll find LogMeIn Ignition for the iPhone in the App Store where it sells for $29.99.