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Configuring macOS for Remote Access

macOS 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 Screen Sharing.

If you wish to use a secure network connection with Screens, in addition to Screen Sharing, enable Remote Login.

Note: If your Mac is running macOS 10.13 High Sierra and are planning to use Curtain Mode, we recommend enabling Remote Management instead of Screen Sharing.

Enable Screen Sharing

  • Open macOS' System Preferences.
  • Click Sharing.
  • Enable Screen Sharing.

  • Allow access for all users, or add each individual user to grant permissions to connect to the service.

Optional: Remote Management

If you elect to use Remote Management instead of Screen Sharing:

      • Click Options.
      • Enable Observe and Control.

      • Grant permissions by allowing access for all users, or add each individual user or user-group you would like to use Screens.

To allow incoming Screen Sharing requests from guest users:

      • Click Computer Settings.
      • Enable Anyone may request permission to control screen.

Guest Access without User Confirmation

If you need access to a computer while being logged in as the current user — without requiring acceptance of a Screen Sharing request — Remote Management is required instead of Screen Sharing. To use this feature, the user account will also need administrative privileges.

Firewall

If the macOS Firewall -- or any other software firewall -- is in use, make sure Screen Sharing (or Remote Management, if selected) is allowed to receive incoming connections.

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.

 

Next Steps: Screens Connect

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 SupportScreens 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 GesturesScreens 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, download links, and installation instructions, please refer to:

Screens Connect for macOS 10.11 or later

Screens Connect for macOS 10.6 - 10.10

 

Next Steps: 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.
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