1. Configure local connectivity to your Mac
Your Mac uses two similar services to provide remote access: Screen Sharing and Remote Management. Both will work with Screens, but only one can be enabled at a time. We recommend using Remote Management, which includes support for Curtain Mode, session sharing, and administrative privileges.
If you prefer to use Screen Sharing instead of Remote Management, you can follow the same steps and skip the Options... portion below.
If you wish to use a secure network connection with Screens, in addition to Remote Management, enable Remote Login.
Enable Remote Management
- Open macOS' System Preferences.
- Click Sharing.
- Enable Remote Management.
- Allow access for all users, or add each individual user to grant permissions to connect to the service.
- Click Options...
- Enable Observe and Control.
- To allow incoming Screen Sharing requests from guest users:
- Click Computer Settings.
- Enable Anyone may request permission to control screen.
- If the OS X Firewall is running, make sure that Remote Management or Screen Sharing is allowed to receive incoming connections.
- From System Preferences, go to Energy Saver and make sure that Wake for Wi-Fi network access (or Wake for network access) is enabled. Note that your MacBook or MacBook Pro will not be able to wake up unless it is connected to a power outlet.
Optional: For Secure Connections, Enable Remote Login
If you’d like to use a secure connection while using Screens, you must enable Remote Login.
- Open macOS' System Preferences.
- Click Sharing.
- Enable Remote Login.
- Allow access for all users or add each individual user to grant permissions to connect to the service.
- If the OS X Firewall is running, make sure that Remote Login is allowed to receive incoming connections.
2. Connecting to your Mac while you are away
Once the initial configuration is complete, you can proceed to the next step. In order to make your Mac reachable remotely (from another network or via cellular), you can install Screens Connect, our free utility or proceed with a custom setup.
Unless it is not possible, we recommend opting for Screens Connect.
Install Screens Connect on your Mac
Connecting to another computer requires some configuration. Luckily, if you're running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or later, Screens Connect makes it a breeze for anyone to set this up. It takes care of the often confusing router configuration required to make your computer accessible from the Internet and helps maintain the Nearby Computers and Screens Connect lists in the Screens Library.
While Screens Connect isn’t required to use Screens, it offers some advanced features that make Screens even better.
- Improved Keyboard Support: Screens Connect provides information about the keyboard currently connected to your Mac so that Screens knows which keyboard mapping to use, even if the mapping on the device you’re connecting from is different.
- Improved Shortcut Gestures: Screens uses the default shortcuts for Mission Control, Show All Application Windows, Move Left/Right a Space, and Spotlight. It provides the current hot keys used on your Mac so that Screens knows which shortcuts to use.
For more information about Screens Connect and installation instructions, please refer to:
You can download Screens Connect here.
Adding remote connectivity without Screens Connect
If you won't be using Screens Connect in your set-up, some additional work is required to configure the computer's local network so that Screens can access the computer.
Step 1: Automatically Update the Mac's Public IP Address
Your public IP address will change from time to time. To make sure Screens can find your computer, you can subscribe to a service that monitors these IP address changes for you and updates your chosen public URL. This allows you to configure a screen with the service's public URL, which will always point to the IP address currently assigned to the computer.
For this example, we chose a free service called No-IP (not associated in any way with Edovia). There are many similar services available on the Web, but they all share a similar set-up procedure.
Create a No-IP account and Host
- Visit no-ip.com.
- Select No-IP Free.
- Create an account.
- Once your No-IP account has been created and validated, visit no-ip.com/login to log in.
- On your No-IP page, select Add a Host.
- Enter a Hostname.
- Make sure DNS Host (A) is selected.
- Do not change the IP address. It is your current public IP address.
- Click Create Host.
Install the Host Updater
Note: Many routers will let you do this easily, without having to install any additional software on your computer. Consult this page to see if your router supports the No-IP service.
If your router doesn't support the service, follow these instructions:
- Visit no-ip.com/downloads.
- Click Mac.
- Download the latest version of the app.
- Open the DMG file and drag the app to the /Applications folder.
- In your /Applications folder, double-click the No-IP DUC icon.
- Log in with your No-IP account credentials.
- Select the Host you created earlier.
- To automatically launch the app so that it is always running, enable Open at Login.
Step 2: Configure a Static Local IP Address
Like your public IP address, your local IP address may change from time to time. For our purposes, we need to make sure it stays the same all the time.
- Launch System Preferences.
- Click Network.
- Select Using DHCP with manual address.
- Enter an IP address that won't conflict with anything else on the network. It’s best to pick a number far out of the normal range of DCHP-assigned IP addresses. In our example, we chose 10.0.1.245 because most of the machines on this network stop at 10.0.1.150. Check your router's IP address to know which range to use.
- Click Apply. Your network interface will temporarily disconnect while your new settings are applied.
Step 3: Port Forwarding
Just as your configuration requires a public IP address, public ports are required that will redirect to your new static IP address and the corresponding private ports used by Screen Sharing and Remote Login.
By way of example, these instructions are based on Apple's Airport Extreme. If you have a different router, we, consult the excellent Port Forward Web site. Select your router brand and model, then select VNC on the next page.
- Launch Airport Utility.
- Select your router.
- Click Manual Setup.
- Enter your administrative password.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- Click the Port Mapping tab.
- Click the + button to add a new port mapping. A settings window will appear.
- In the Service list, select Apple Remote Desktop.
- In the Private IP Address field, enter the static IP address you created in Step 2.
- Click Continue.
- Click Done.
- Click Update to apply the changes.
Step 4: Create a Saved Screen in Screens
- Launch Screens
- Click the + in the toolbar, then click New Screen.
- In the Address or Hostname field, enter your No-IP Host. In our case, it's “lucsmacbookair.zapto.org”.
- Leave the Port field set to 5900.
- Enter your Mac user account credentials.
3. Create a new connection with Screens
Now that your Mac is ready to receive incoming connections, it is time to create a new connection with Screens.
This article will demonstrate how to proceed.