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If you have a laptop or computer but want to draw on your phone instead, you might be interested in turning your phone into a drawing tablet. So, how exactly can you do this?

AdobeStock_429015029 Cropped shot of an african-american young woman using smart phone at home

1. Install Software on Your Desktop

The best way to use a phone as a drawing tablet is to connect it to a desktop or laptop using remote desktop software (like Chrome Remote Desktop) or another application, such as VirtualTablet.

These are just some of the applications–there are many others to choose from, so it’s a matter of deciding what’s suitable for you. In this article, the main focus will be on VirtualTablet and Chrome Remote Desktop.

Check out the sections below to learn how to install the remote desktop software onto your desktop or laptop.


VirtualTablet is an excellent choice if you have certain types of Android devices, like the Samsung Slate 7 or Galaxy Note.

Using this software, a user’s computer screen will pick up the stylus pressure from the phone screen, so it’s an excellent way to turn a phone into a temporary drawing tablet.

Here is a brief guide on how to install VirtualTablet on your computer:

  1. Go to the SunnySideSoft website and download VirtualTablet. Make sure to download the server application rather than the client application. The server app is available on Windows and MAC desktops.
  2. Once downloaded, install the application onto your computer.
  3. Configure the application to your needs. Change things like cursor and pressure sensitivity if required.

That’s all there is to it! The download and installation process should take no longer than 3-4 minutes, depending on the speed of your device. Once the VirtualTablet application is ready on your computer, you can download the corresponding app on your smartphone.

Unfortunately, VirtualTablet won’t work with iPhone devices. According to the SunnySideSoft website, VirtualTablet requires devices to have pressure-sensitive stylus pens with hover mode, so make sure your Android has this for the best results.

Chrome Remote Desktop

An alternative to VirtualTablet is Chrome Remote Desktop, which works with a much wider variety of devices. It’s compatible with all standard operating systems, including:

  • Windows
  • MAC
  • Different Linux operating systems

The Chrome Remote Desktop application works differently from VirtualTablet because it gives you full access to your desktop from your phone. One of the main benefits of this is that you can use it no matter where you are, as long as your home computer is switched on!

Setting up Chrome Remote Desktop is simple. Below is a guide on how to do it:

  1. Go to the Chrome web browser. If you don’t use Chrome as a web browser, download it from your current browser. However, the extension is also available on Firefox.
  2. Go to the Chrome store. You can find the store by searching for something like “Chrome Extension Store.”
  3. Search for the Chrome Remote Desktop extension. There should be a search bar on the page of Chrome Store. Once you find the app, click on it.
  4. Add the extension to your Chrome Browser. It should only take a few seconds to add to the browser. Once that’s done, go to the extension by clicking on the jigsaw puzzle (Google Chrome browser) on the top right of the screen.
  5. Click “Turn on.” You may be prompted to log in to your Google account when you go to the extension. You’ll also need to turn on the extension to begin using it.
  6. Follow the instructions. Once you click “Turn on,” you’ll be prompted to choose a computer name and six-digit pin. Once that’s done, your computer should be ready!

2. Download the Appropriate App on Your Smartphone

The next step is to download the appropriate app on your smartphone. The app you need to get will depend on the application you use on your desktop.

If using VirtualTablet, download the VirtualTablet app from the Google Play Store. If using Chrome Remote Desktop, download the Chrome Remote Desktop app from the Google Play or Apple app store, depending on your phone.

You may also be using a different application not mentioned in this article. If that’s the case, download the corresponding mobile app.

If you download the Chrome application, it’s best to sign in with the same Google account you used to sign into the extension on your desktop. Connecting the devices will be easier if you use the same accounts.

Once your application of choice is downloaded onto your phone, you should be ready to move to the next step!

AdobeStock_160849901Soft focus of woman hand working with phone on desk in coffee shop

3. Connect Your Phone to Your Desktop/Laptop

How you connect your phone to your desktop will depend on the application. This section will discuss how to connect to the VirtualTablet server and Chrome Remote Desktop application from your smartphone.

Connecting to VirtualTablet Server From Your Phone

Below is an easy guide on how to connect your phone to VirtualTablet:

  1. Make sure you’re on the same network as the desktop. Having the same internet connection means you can connect to the VirtualTablet server over WiFi.
  2. Choose your desired connection method. WiFi is one way to connect to your desktop, but you can also use a USB or Bluetooth connection. Be aware that Bluetooth may be laggy at times.
  3. Follow the instructions and connect to the desktop. Connecting from your phone to the VirtualTablet server application on your desktop should only take a few seconds. Once set up, you should be able to draw right away.

Connecting to Chrome Remote Desktop From Your Phone

Below is a guide on how to access your desktop remotely from your phone:

  1. Make sure the desktop/laptop is switched on. If it’s not switched on, you won’t be able to connect to it.
  2. On the mobile application, click on the device you wish to connect. In this instance, the device’s name will be the name you chose during the setup process.
  3. Put in the six-digit pin. You’ll be prompted to input the six-digit pin you would have chosen during the setup process.
  4. Wait for the connection. It may take a few moments, but you should eventually see your desktop screen through your phone. A message will appear on the desktop to let you know you’re sharing your screen.

4. Start Drawing

Now that your phone is connected to your computer, it’s time to get to the good part–drawing! Again, how you do this will vary from application to application.

Below, I’ll discuss how to start drawing using VirtualTablet and Chrome Remote Desktop.

Start Drawing With VirtualTablet

Here are some essential tips and notes about drawing with VirtualTablet:

  • Open the desktop application of your choice and start drawing through your phone screen.
  • You can draw on your phone using any application on your desktop, including Microsoft Paint and PhotoShop.
  • Change the settings if they don’t seem right. For example, the stylus pressure might be too low or high. In that instance, change the settings through the server application settings. You can also adjust the settings of the drawing application you’re using.
  • Expect some latency. You should be able to see the sketches appearing on your desktop screen in real-time, but there might be some latency.

Start Drawing With Chrome Remote Desktop

Drawing on your phone using Chrome Remote Desktop is simple, as you’re essentially accessing your computer through your phone.

All you need to do is open your program of choice through the phone when the desktop screen is being shared. For example, you can open Paint on your desktop through your phone.

Once the application is open, start drawing on your phone using a stylus or your finger, depending on your preferences and your phone’s capabilities.

Although you are using your computer through your phone, expect the speeds to be slower than on the desktop. Like with VirtualTablet, there will likely be latency and lagging, but it shouldn’t be so bad that it causes major issues.

Chrome Remote Desktop vs. VirtualTablet: Which Is Better?

Neither Chrome Remote Desktop nor VirtualTablet is better because the choice depends on your requirements and the devices you already have. For example, Chrome Remote Desktop is better if you want to use your phone as a drawing tablet and have access to other computer documents simultaneously.

On the other hand, VirtualTablet is better if you don’t want to go with a complete remote desktop setup. VirtualTablet also gives you more options, such as connecting via USB or Bluetooth. You don’t have these options with Chrome Remote Desktop.

So at the end of the day, the best application to choose depends on your needs. Consider trying both options to decide which works best if you’re still unsure.

Consider Using Continuity Sketch for Apple Devices

Although you can use Chrome Remote Desktop with your Apple devices, it’s good to consider other options. An excellent way to use an iPhone as a drawing tablet is to try Apple’s own Continuity Sketch application.

Continuity Sketch allows you to draw from your iPhone and import the drawing to your MAC device once finished.

Unfortunately, it’s only available on Apple devices, so you won’t be able to use this with an Android. Additionally, you must have a MAC because it won’t work on Windows or any other desktop/laptop operating system.

Here’s How Continuity Sketch Works

Anyone can use Continuity Sketch because it’s a relatively simple process. Before getting started, there are some prerequisites to consider:

  • You must be logged into the same iCloud account on both devices.
  • You must be connected to WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • Your devices must be running specific OS versions. For iPhones, IOS 13 or later is necessary. For MACs, Catalina or later is required.

Once you’re sure both devices are ready, you can start sketching on your iPhone by following these steps:

  1. Open the file you want to insert an image into.
  2. Click on the File button. You’ll see an option to insert a file from an iPhone or iPad. Click that.
  3. Click “Add Sketch.”
  4. Choose the device you want to sketch on. In this instance, it would be your iPhone.
  5. Check your iPhone screen and start drawing. A drawing page should pop up on your iPhone screen. Now, you can start drawing whatever you want!
  6. Import the sketch to your MAC desktop. Once the drawing is finished, you can instantly import it into the file!

Advantages of Using a Phone as a Drawing Tablet

Before setting up a phone as a drawing tablet, it’s worth considering the advantages and disadvantages.

First, let’s discuss how it can be beneficial:

  • Convenient. Depending on the application used, you can access your computer screen from anywhere in the world with your smartphone. For example, you can connect your phone to your computer via Chrome Remote Desktop from anywhere in the world.
  • It makes drawing directly to your computer possible. If you don’t have a touchscreen desktop monitor, connecting your phone to it and using it as a drawing tablet is an excellent way to solve the issue.
  • There are free options available. While you may have to pay for some applications, others are free (like Chrome Remote Desktop).
  • It is an easy setup process (in most cases). Connecting a phone to a desktop and using it as a drawing tablet is straightforward and should take no more than five minutes.

Disadvantages of Using a Phone as a Drawing Tablet

Now that we’ve discussed the main advantages of using a phone as a drawing tablet, it’s time to discuss the primary disadvantages:

  • High latency is expected. Using a phone as a drawing tablet doesn’t always work entirely smoothly. The data transfer delays between the phone and desktop can be frustrating when sketching, so keep this in mind.
  • Some methods don’t work as well as others. If using VirtualTablet, there are different ways to connect. While some methods may be more efficient (i.e., USB connections), other methods (like Bluetooth or even WiFi) can be laggy.
  • Your computer must be switched on for it to work. It’s generally not a problem to have your computer switched on. However, it will be an issue if you’re trying to connect from a different location and the computer at home is switched off.
  • A computer crash will affect your sketching. If the computer you’re connected to crashes while using your phone as a drawing tablet, the phone won’t function properly, and you may lose data.


Using a phone as a drawing tablet is easy, and different options are available. Some of the best choices include Chrome Remote Desktop or VirtualTablet, which should only take a few moments to set up with your mobile device.