The High Tech Society

How to Use a Remote Desktop Connection for Mac


How to Use a Remote Desktop Connection for Mac

If you’ve ever wished that you could access your Mac from anywhere, you might be able to do everything you need with a remote desktop connection application. If you would like to download a connection app, there are multiple choices, some better than others. Downloading should include research for compatibility, features, functions, and more. For example, the Apple Remote Desktop Application is one of the best options with more than 50 features, unlimited connecting devices and computers, and even control options to hide things on your Mac, but does cost $79.99 for a lifetime license.

What is a Remote Desktop Connection?

A Remote Desktop Connection for Mac is any program that allows you to access your Mac from either another computer or a mobile phone. Computer applications are much more common and usually easier to use as mobile usage is most commonly only available for accessing documents. Remote desktop connections literally allow you to access the computer, and sometimes even use programs and applications while in another room, or even across the country. First, there are two types of remote connection.

The Free Way

If you do not want to purchase software and simply want to access your Mac from another Mac, you can save your money and simply set up a wireless network, or create an LAN network rather than purchasing software. To set up a wireless home sharing network for your computer, simply go to ‘System preferences’ ‘Internet & Wireless’, and then click on ‘Sharing.’ From there you can set up a variety of remote desktop control settings including screen sharing, VCN control for the screen (you can click on and use the computer from another computer). Save your settings and then write down the computer IP address for use in connecting to the computer.

When you would like to remote connect to your Mac from another Mac, simply open the Finder, (Command +Tab), click the ‘Go’ Menu, and then select ‘Connect to server’. Find the ‘Server Address’ field on this screen and type in the computer IP address. Remember to type it in exactly as it was on the sharing screen, including with the VCN or AFP as was listed. The computer will then open a window to allow you to remote access your Mac.

This is a relatively easy and free way to transfer files and work with files remotely on a Mac computer. However, it is very limited, especially if you do not have another Mac, or don’t always have a computer to access your files from.

Paid Applications

Paid applications are the way to go if you would like to remote connect and access your Mac from a mobile as well as other computers. There are a range of different apps including software from Apple, Microsoft, and some third party apps.

Apple Remote Desktop Application – The Apple remote Desktop Application is usually the first choice for Mac and iOS users because it is created by Apple. However, it is also very pricy for most use. At $79.99 from the iTunes store, the Apple Remote Desktop is really mostly only suitable for professionals who intend to use it for work, and who don’t really have a choice. However, this remote access app offers unlimited devices, different users with different access settings, unlimited updates, and a lot of different controls for setting background and more. Despite the cost the Apple Remote Desktop does have a couple of flaws so don’t expect it to be perfect.

Microsoft Remote Desktop – The Microsoft Remote Desktop is a great option for anyone who would like to access and use PC and Mac computers from one computer. The program was originally designed to allow a Mac user to keep using their Mac while utilizing files and programs from a Windows based PC. The program is part of the Microsoft Office for Mac series and can be purchased from with a purchase of Office. The download for the remote desktop is of course, free. This app is mostly an alternative to using a virtual PC rather than a perfect remote access app. For the download for Windows which allows you to work on your Mac from a Windows PC, check this download instead.

VNC’s and VNC Clients

Setting up a VNC system is actually very easy (VNC means Virtual Network Computing) and all you need is a VNC and a Client. There are a lot of great clients out there and a lot of great VNC’s and many of them are free. For example, Chicken of the VNC is a great if humorously titled VNC client that can be used to view a virtual computer from your desktop. RealVNC is another very popular option which includes all of the software you need including browser viewers so that you can open your VNC viewer and remote control your Mac from a Google Chrome browser. RealVNC includes a mobile application so it really is one of the best non-Apple or Microsoft Choices. Other options include TightVNC, UltraVNC, and a plethora of other applications.

Setting up a remote desktop connection for Mac is relatively easy, especially if you start off with the right software. Remember to uniquely name your admin and set up a password so that you can access it from anywhere.