Software To Remote Desktop Into Mac


Apr 02, 2020  To connect to a remote computer from a Mac, install the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the Mac App Store. Launch the app and grant the necessary permissions. For devices using the same macOS, you can allow remote Mac login using a Secure Shell (SSH). This enables Mac remote desktop access using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). To set up Remote Login: Go to System Preferences Sharing.

If you need to access your Mac, but you can’t get to it in person, you should consider using macOS’ built-in remote access tools. You can connect to another Mac remotely from the terminal using a Secure Shell (SSH) connection, by using Mac screen sharing, or through the Apple Remote Desktop service for system administrators.

There are also third-party options you can consider, such as Teamviewer, but the built-in options that macOS provide should be all you need to connect to other Macs. If you want to connect to another Mac remotely, here’s how to do it using these methods.

Setting Up macOS Remote Access Tools

Before you can connect to another Mac remotely using the built-in Screen Sharing tool, you’ll need to enable remote access to it in your Mac System Preferences. You’ll also need to follow these steps if you want to access a Mac remotely using SSH or to use the Apple Remote Desktop tool.

Most users will want to use the macOS Screen Sharing option, which uses the open-source Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocol to create a remote desktop connection. For non-screen access, enabling SSH access will only allow you access to your Mac from the terminal.

Mac To Mac Remote Desktop

If you want to control multiple Macs in a business environment, you’ll probably want to enable Remote Management instead of Screen Sharing to allow for more control over your Mac, including the ability to change system settings.

  • To start, press the Apple icon in the top menu bar, then click the System Preferences option.

Remote Desktop To Mac

  • In System Preferences, press the Sharing option.
  • The Sharing options menu provides you with a list of sharing options for your Mac, including sharing your internet connection and connected devices with others. To enable macOS Screen Sharing, press the On checkbox next to the Screen Sharing option.
  • By default, the Administrators user group for your Mac will be authorized for remote Mac Screen Sharing, meaning all users with administrator access will be able to connect.
    To add or remove other users from this list, press the + (plus) or – (minus) buttons in the Allow access for options under the Screen Sharing tab. Alternatively, press the All users radio button to enable remote access for all user accounts on your Mac.
  • To allow more complete control of your Mac over a network using the Apple Remote Desktop tool, press the On checkbox next to the Remote Management setting. Press the + (plus) or – (minus) buttons in the Allow access for options to authorize individual user access, or click the All users button to allow all users.
  • When you enable Remote Management, you’ll need to confirm how much access you want to allow. Press the checkbox next to each option to authorize remote access to those features, then press OK to save.
  • If you want to connect to your Mac using a Secure Shell (SSH) client, you’ll need to press the On checkbox next to the Remote Login setting. As before, press the + (plus) or – (minus) buttons in the Allow access for options to authorize which users you wish to allow to connect, or click the All users button to allow all user accounts.

Once these settings are enabled on your Mac, you can then connect to it from another Mac using the built-in Mac Screen Sharing app or the paid Apple Remote Desktop tool, using a third-party VNC viewer, or by using the ssh command at the terminal.

How To Connect To Another Mac Remotely Using Screen Sharing

How you connect to your remote Mac will depend on the option you enabled in the Sharing menu of the System Preferences app. To connect to another Mac with Screen Sharing enabled, you’ll need to launch the Screen Sharing app.

  • The Screen Sharing app is somewhat hidden, so you’ll need to press the Spotlight Search icon in the top-right section of your menu bar, then search for (and launch) the Screen Sharing app.
  • The Screen Sharing app is very simple to use. To connect, type the IP address of your remote Mac or the Apple ID used to sign into it, then press Connect to begin the connection.
  • Depending on your access settings, you’ll be asked to provide a username and password to make the connection. Provide these, then click Connect to proceed with the connection.

If the connection is successful, your remote Mac desktop will appear in a new window for you to access and control.

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If you’ve enabled the Remote Management setting and wish to use that to connect to another Mac remotely, you’ll need to purchase the Apple Remote Desktop tool from the App Store to establish a connection instead.

Connecting To a Remote Mac Using SSH

The Secure Shell (SSH) protocol allows for remote terminal connections. If you enabled the Remote Login setting, you should be able to make an SSH connection to your remote Mac using the built-in SSH client on your second Mac or on another device with an SSH client installed.

  • To do this, launch the terminal and type ssh [email protected], replacing username with your Mac username, and ip.address with your Mac’s IP address. For instance, ssh[email protected].
  • If it’s your first connection, you’ll need to accept a warning about authenticity—type yes and press enter to continue. The SSH client will also ask for your account password to make the connection. Type this in, then press enter on your keyboard to make the connection.

If the connection is successful, you can then begin controlling your remote Mac using Mac terminal commands. Once you’re done, type exit to disconnect.

The Best Tools for Remote Connections on macOS

Thanks to these options, you can connect to another Mac remotely using another Mac or any other device with a VNC or SSH client installed. You can use your Mac to control other devices, too, as it’s possible to control Windows PCs using the Windows Remote Desktop for Mac software.

Outside of these built-in tools, there are plenty of third-party remote desktop apps you can use to take control of your devices remotely, like Teamviewer or Chrome Remote Desktop. Let us know your favorite method for Mac remote desktop connections in the comments below.

If you have to use Mac and Windows PCs regularly, you don’t need to physically switch computers to be able to use both of them. You can use Windows Remote Desktop for macOS, to allow you to use both machines at the same time.

Windows Remote Desktop for Mac uses Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol, built into Windows 10, to display your Windows desktop on your macOS screen. You can run Windows apps, change settings, and share files and folders between your Mac and Windows devices.

Installing Windows Remote Desktop for Mac

There are two versions of Windows Remote Desktop for Mac, and which one you should use depends on your current version of macOS. In most cases, you should install Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac 10.

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If it doesn’t work, try the older Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac 8 app instead, although version 8 is scheduled to be removed from the Mac App Store sometime in the near future.

  • To install it, open the App Store. You can find this in your Launchpad, located in the Dock at the bottom of your screen, or by searching for it the Spotlight Search tool in the top-right of your screen.
  • In the App Store, click on the search bar in the left-hand menu, and type in Microsoft Remote Desktop. Once you’ve located it in the search results, click the Get button to install it.
  • The Get button will change to a green Install button. Click that too, then approve the installation by providing your Apple ID password. Click the second Get button to continue.
Software to remote desktop into mac pro
  • Once installed, click the Open button, or locate the app in the Launchpad.

You may need to approve some additional permissions once you’ve opened the Microsoft Remote Desktop app. Approve and accept these, and then you can begin using it.

Adding a Remote Desktop Connection

Once you’ve opened the Remote Desktop for Mac, you’ll be able to add a new remote desktop connection.

  • Click the Add Desktop button in the center of the window. Alternatively, click the plus button in the top menu, then click Add PC or Add Workspace.
  • Fill out the Add PC form with the relevant information for your remote Windows PC. To use the standard RDP settings, start by adding your Windows PC’s IP address in the PC Name text box. Provide a memorable name in the Friendly Name box. Click Add once the settings are confirmed.
  • Your connection will appear, saved and ready to connect in the main Remote Desktop for Mac window. Double-click on the entry to begin your connection. You’ll be asked to provide the username and password for your Windows PC at this point. Provide them, then click Continue to connect.
  • If it’s your first connection, you may need to accept a security warning. Make sure you only agree to this if you’re connecting to a server you trust. If you do, click Continue to disregard the message and make the connection.

After a few seconds, the remote desktop connection to your Windows PC will complete and launch, full screen, ready for you to use.

Software To Remote Desktop Into Mac

Configuring a Remote Desktop Connection

Further configuration options are available, including the ability to change the quality of the connection and to redirect local devices connected to your Mac to your remote Windows PC.

  • To edit a saved connection, hover over your server and click the pencil button. Alternatively, right-click on the saved connection and click Edit.
  • If you a Mac with a Retina display, you’ll want to optimize the resolution of your remote connection. In the Display tab, click to enable the Optimize for Retina displays checkbox. You can also customize the color quality of your connection from the Color quality drop-down menu. You can set the overall resolution of your connection from your Resolution drop-down menu. Click Save to complete.
  • In the Devices & Audio tab, you can select what local devices you want to be able to access on your remote Windows PC. Click to check any of the checkboxes listed. You can also select whether to play sounds locally or remotely from the Play sound drop-down menu. As before, click Save to complete.

Sharing Files & Folders Between Mac & Windows

It’s also possible to share files and folders between your local Mac computer and your remote Windows PC.

  • To do that, right-click your saved server and click Edit, then click the Folders tab. Click the Redirect Folders checkbox, then click the plus button at the bottom of the window.
  • Select the folders you want to share in the Finder window, then click Open to add them to your list. If you want to make them read-only, click the checkbox next to each folder entry under the Read-only column. Click Save once you’ve finished adding the folders you want to share.

Your shared Mac folders will then appear as network drives, listed as Redirected drives and folders, in the This PC section of Windows File Explorer once you make the connection.

Sharing a Remote Desktop Across Mac Computers

If you have multiple Mac computers and you want to share the same configuration file for your Windows remote desktop, you can save the file and place it in your iCloud storage for you to access.

This requires each Mac computer to use the same Apple ID for iCloud storage.

  • To export your remote desktop configuration, right-click your saved connection in the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, then click Export.
  • Exporting RDP configuration files removes any saved passwords, which the Microsoft Remote Desktop app will warn you. Accept this warning by clicking Browse.
  • In the Finder window, click iCloud Drive in the left-hand menu. Save your connection file by clicking Export.
  • On another Mac computer, open Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac, click the Settings icon in the top menu bar, then click Import from RDP file.

Software To Remote Desktop Into Mac Computer

  • In the Finder window that appears, click iCloud Drive in the left-hand menu. Find and select your saved RDP file, then click Import.

Remote Desktop Mac To Pc

Once you’ve imported your saved RDP file, you’ll then be able to connect to your remote Windows server as before.

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