alpha vnc pro – howto

Alpha vnc pro is designed to project the screen of your Android device via internet or local network. You can establish a connection either with a VNC client or over browser through the abr Cloud Console. For this howto, Chrome browser through the abr Cloud was used.

Screen elements

The application main screen consists of the following elements:

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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, you will be asked to configure your device appropriately. The correct settings will be checked whenever the VNC server is started. The app will assist you complete the configuration, in case that something is missing.

      • Accessibility

Alpha vnc can project your screen out of the box. It is also possible to control the screen with an input utility, by activating the accessibility service in the settings of your device. If the app detects that the accessibility service is not activated, it will ask you to activate it once the server is started. abr solutions guarantees full privacy compliance. No screen content, inputs or other events are monitored.

      • System overlay

Alpha vnc requires the permission to be displayed above all other apps. Whenever a client is connected, alpha vnc will show a miniature alpha logo in the upper third of the screen. This is a visible indicator that the screen is currently shared and all activities could be monitored. The app will ask for this permission automatically. To set the permission manually go to: settings -> apps -> app permissions.

      • Alpha vnc keyboard

Prior Android version 7 (Nougat), the software keyboard cannot be accessed directly. In order to provide full soft-keyboard support, alpha vnc has a built-in keyboard. This keyboard has to be activated in the input methods of the system settings. The app will automatically check the keyboard activation, if activated in the general settings.

Session settings

Clicking the settings icon at the left bottom of the application main screen will open the VNC session settings dialog. Here, the following options can be configured:

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      • Scale percentage

Defines the percentage of the display size which will be projected. Many screens are very large and displaying them in original size would lead to a lot of scrolling at the client side and also consume more bandwidth than necessary. By choosing the pre-scale option, you can avoid this. Possible values are 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. The default value is 50%.

      • Screen name

Defines the name which will be displayed on the client side, to identify the connected device.

      • Port

Defines the local port that the VNC server will be running on. Please, notice 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

Defines a password that has to be entered on the client side, before a connection to the local device can be established. We strongly recommend setting a password!

General settings

Clicking the 3-dot icon at the top right of the application main screen will open the main menu. Please, select ‘Settings’ to open the general settings screen. The following settings can be configured:

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      • Mobile data warning

If this option is activated, the app will display a warning message whenever you try to establish a VNC connection 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). If this option is activated, a warning will be shown when you try to establish a VNC connection while using another keyboard. This option is only activated by default for Android OS prior to version 7.0 (Nougat).

      • Start automatically

This option is only available for unencrypted devices. It is fully supported on all devices prior to Android 10. If this option is activated, alpha vnc will start automatically after you start the device. The server will run in the background, until a connection is established. This option is deactivated by default.

      • Autostart on mobile internet

The vnc server will only start if a wireless or LAN connection is available. If this option is activated, the server will also start automatically on a mobile internet connection, which might cause additional cost on volume based internet contracts. This option is deactivated by default.

      • Auto wake up

If this option is activated, the screen of the device will wake up, once a client has connected. This option is deactivated by default.

      • Unlock screen

If this option is activated, the screen of the device will be unlocked, once a client has connected. Please, note that the unlocking will work only 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.

      • Remote console

Alpha vnc pro allows to establish a connection over browser through the abr Cloud Console. Click on this option, in order to set up the device notification to the abr Cloud. The following settings can be configured:

  1. Android : click on this option, in order to give to the device a distinctive name. Every device has the name Android by default.
  2. Send start stop notification : if this option is activated, the device will report its online status to the abr Cloud Console. This option is activated by default.
  3. Allow cloud connection : if this option is activated, the abr Cloud Console will be able to establish a connection to the device. This option is activated by default.
  4. Require user feedback : if this option is activated, the user will be asked to allow the connection from the abr Cloud Console, on every connection attempt. This option is activated by default.
  5. Use encrypted connection : if this option is activated, the connection will be TLS encrypted. This option is activated by default.

 

Cloud connectivity

In order to be able to connect to your device(s) over browser via the abr Cloud Console, firstly you need to create an account with your alpha vnc pro license key at cloud.abr-solutions.de.

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Connection handling

Starting the VNC 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.

If the Require user feedback option is activated in the general settings, a connection request will be sent to the device, whenever a connection from the abr Cloud is attempted. When the connection is established, a small alpha vnc icon will appear on the upper center of the display, to indicate 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 VNC server

The online status of the device is visible under the Device Monitor tile of the abr Cloud Console.

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If the device is online, you can use the Connect to Device button from the device information screen to establish a connection.

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Network configuration

In order to be able to establish a connection via the abr Cloud, the network – where the device is running – needs to allow the following connections:

      • https connection (outgoing) to www.abr-solutions.de/*
      • https connection (outgoing) to abrcloud.de/*

 

Remote control

Controlling your android device

Alpha vnc allows you to control your device remotely. Due to the strict Android access control system, the control of devices prior Android 7 (Nougat) has some minimal limitations, as a small price for not having to root the device. For Android 7 (Nougat) and beyond, 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.

Please, note that prior Android 7 (Nougat) not all items are clickable and minor issues are reported with certain web-browsers and apps.

Keyboard input – Clickable items

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

Prior Android 7 (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

You can place an order for alpha vnc pro licenses in our Web Store or by contacting our sales team.

After a purchase is concluded, we deliver the alpha vnc pro APK for the installation, as well as a license key file & a quick activation code. The alpha vnc pro – Licensing & Configuration Guide is included, with detailed instructions for the deployment.

Activation of the license(s)

The device activation screen can be opened by selecting the entry Activate device from the 3-dot Main menu. The activation of a license is realized by importing the license-key file or by scanning of the quick activation code, as described in the alpha vnc pro – Licensing & Configuration Guide.

In larger environments, especially in combination with Mobile Device Management systems, alpha vnc pro supports the auto-licensing & configuration of multiple devices.

Deactivating a device

If you wish to use alpha vnc pro 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 it from the license-key beforehand! When you choose the entry Unregister device in the main menu of the application or in the device view under the Manage licenses tile of the abr Cloud Console, your license will be “opened” and ready to be activated again. The normal licensing procedure must be followed, in order to reactivate it.

Please, note that you can unregister a device up to 10 times from a license-key! After the maximum number of unregistrations is exceeded and you wish to unregister the same device again, please contact our support.

Technical support

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