alpha vnc – howto

Alpha vnc is designed to project the screen of your Android device (end-device) via internet or local network. You can establish a connection from a support-device with a VNC client, such as UltraVNC or TightVNC, which are available in the web for free. For this howto, the UltraVNC Client is used.

 

Screen elements

The application main screen consists of the following elements:

main screen image

1 – Start / Stop the VNC session

2 – Main menu

3 – Session settings

4 – Quick help

 

Setup & Configuration

Device setup

As soon as alpha vnc is installed, it will ask you to configure the end-device appropriately. The correct settings will be checked, whenever the VNC server is started. The application will assist you to complete the configuration, in case that something is missing.

      • Accessibility

Alpha vnc can project the screen of the end-device “out-of-the-box” and control it with an input utility, when the Accessibility service is activated. The application will ask you to activate the Accessibility service, once the server is started. You can also activate it manually in the Settings of the device. abr solutions guarantees full privacy compliance. No screen content, inputs or other events are monitored.

      • System overlay

Alpha vnc will require the permission to be displayed above all other apps. Whenever a Client is connected, it will show a miniature ‘alpha’ logo on the upper third of the screen. This is a visible indicator that the screen is currently shared and all activities could be monitored. You can also set this permission manually in the settings of the device.

      • Alpha vnc keyboard

Prior to Android 7.0 (Nougat), the software keyboard cannot be accessed directly. In order to provide full soft-keyboard support, alpha vnc has a built-in keyboard, which needs to be activated in the input methods of the system settings. If the device is running on Android prior to 7.0, the application will detect it and automatically ask you to activate the built-in keyboard.
 

Session settings

Clicking the Session settings icon on the left bottom corner of the application main screen allows you to configure the following options:

main screen image

      • Scale percentage

Define the percentage of the display size which will be projected. This way, you can avoid e.g. displaying a large screen in original size, which would lead to a lot of scrolling at the Client side and consume more bandwidth than necessary. Possible values 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. The default value is 50%.

      • Screen name

Define the name of the end-device, which will be displayed on the Client side.

      • Port

Define the local port that the VNC server will be running on. Please, note that the port must be locally available and also open. We recommend using a port between 5901 and 5905. The default value is 5901.

      • Session password

Define a password that needs to be entered on the Client side, in order to be able to establish a connection to the end-device. We strongly recommend setting a Session password!

General settings

Clicking the 3-dot icon on the top right corner of the application main screen will open the main menu. Select ‘Settings’ in order to open the General settings screen. The following options can be configured:

main screen image

      • Mobile data warning

The application displays a warning message, if the VNC server is started while connected to a mobile network. VNC connections can consume a lot of bandwidth, which might cause additional cost on volume based internet contracts. This option is activated by default.

      • Alpha vnc keyboard warning

Alpha vnc has a built-in keyboard, in order to provide full soft keyboard support to Android devices prior to version 7.0 (Nougat). The application displays a warning message on devices with Android OS prior to 7.0, if the VNC server is started while using another keyboard. This option is deactivated by default.

      • Start automatically

Alpha vnc will start automatically on start of the device. The server will run in the background, until a connection is established. This option is only available on unencrypted devices. It is supported “out-of-the-box” on all devices with OS prior to Android 10 . This option is deactivated by default.

      • Autostart on mobile internet

If this option is deactivated, the VNC server will only start, if a wireless or LAN connection is available. When you activate this option, the server will also start automatically on a mobile internet connection. Since it may cause additional cost on volume based internet contracts, this option is deactivated by default.

      • Auto wake up

The screen of the device will wake up, once a Client is connected. This option is deactivated by default.

      • Unlock screen
  • If this option is activated, the screen can be unlocked, once a Client is connected. This can only work, if no password or pattern is required to unlock the screen. Please, be aware of the potential risk before disabling any security features! This option is deactivated by default.

    Connection handling

    Starting the server

    Start alpha vnc by clicking the round START button in the middle of the main screen. If configured, the server can start automatically, after the device has been started. An alpha vnc icon is displayed in the notification area, as an indicator that the server is running.

    Whenever a connection from a Client is established, a small alpha vnc icon will appear on the upper center of the display, indicating that a Client is connected to the screen and can observe all activity. The icon will disappear once all Clients have disconnected from the screen. This security feature should prevent you from being monitored without noticing.

    Connecting to the server

    When alpha vnc is running, the local IP-address and the port are displayed below the Start button. Use this data to establish a connection from the VNC Client: Enter the IP-address followed by the colon (:) and the port into the address field of the VNC client (e.g. 192.168.2.100:5901). Please, make sure that the port, which the server runs on, is open on the Client side!

    Reverse connection

    When connecting from a different network – e.g. via mobile internet – a local firewall or private network connection may prevent incoming connections to the VNC server. In this case, you can establish a reverse connection to a listening VNC Client, if you follow the steps:

    1. Start the VNC Client in listen mode, listening to a port that is forwarded from the router (please refer to the user manual of the VNC Client to learn more).

    2. Start alpha vnc.

    3. Find the option Add reverse client in the 3-dot context menu on the right top of the main screen. Enter the public IP-address of the router and the forwarded port to the listening VNC Client in the appearing dialog of alpha vnc. The recent 20 successful reverse connections are saved and can be restored by pushing the Show recent button of the dialog.

    4. Click on the Connect button to establish the reverse connection.

    Please, make sure that the network setup is correct: The port for the reverse connection must be opened on the router and – if necessary – forwarded to the listening client!

     

    Remote control

    Controlling your android device

    Alpha vnc allows to control an Android device posterior 5.0 (Lollipop) remotely.

    Due to the strict Android access control system, the control of devices prior to Android 7.0 (Nougat) has some minimal limitations, as a small price for not having to root the device. All items are clickable, however, minor issues are reported in combination with 3rd party browsers or apps.

    Posterior Android 7.0 (Nougat), all limitations are past!
    A pointer device (such as a computer mouse) can be used to point & click. The mouse wheel can be used to scroll up & down. One finger swipe gestures are supported.

    Keyboard input – Clickable items

    Posterior Android 7 (Nougat), the software keyboard is accessible directly. All systems items are clickable!

    Prior to Android 7.0 (Nougat), alpha vnc is using a standard 104 key US keyboard, which can be activated in the input settings and selected as the currently active keyboard. System items like the Back, Home or Recent button are not clickable directly. To access those items, alpha vnc provides the following shortcuts:

        • ESC – key:  triggers the Back button
        • Home / Pos1 key:  triggers the Home key
        • Page down – key : opens the notification area on top of the screen
        • Page up – key : triggers the Recent apps
        • End – key: triggers the Power button

    Copy & paste

    You can copy text from your local computer to the remote device. Copy the text as usual from your local computer and paste it into the remote device with the key combination Ctrl+V

     

    Licensing

    Alpha vnc is licensed via in-App purchase in the Google Play Store. The license is bound to a Google account or alternatively another email address. If you don’t have the Google Play services available, please contact our support for further options.

    Activating the license on a device

    Select the entry Purchase license from the application main menu, in order to start the licensing process. The application will display a popup, asking you to select the Google account that will be used for the licensing. If you don’t want to use a Google account, you can cancel this dialog and use any valid email address, instead. In the next step, the Google Play in-App purchase procedure will start. Please, complete the in-App purchase, in order to activate the license.

    If you have just released a license from another device, you can reactivate it on a device that is registered with the same email account. In this case, the in-App purchase process will be skipped and your device will be licensed automatically.

    Deactivating a device

    If you wish to use alpha vnc on another device (e.g. when you have just bought a new handset) or before updating/resetting the OS of the existing device, you need to unregister the license beforehand! When you choose the entry Unregister device in the main menu, your license will be “released” and ready to be activated again.

    In order to reactivate the license on a new device, please follow the normal licensing procedure, via in App-purchase. If the device is registered with the same email account, it will be licensed automatically and no payment will be required.

    Please, note that you can unregister a device up to 7 times! After the maximum number of unregistrations is exceeded and you wish to unregister the same device again, you need to contact our support.

     

    Technical support

    Our technical support will be glad to assist you on all technical questions. Please use our contact form to get in touch!