Screen Sharing on OS X

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On newer macs running OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later, there is a remote control protocol for the computer refered to as Screen Sharing (which is based on VNC) with added encryption and operating system hooks.

It is quite effective over morerately fast internet connections, almost equivalent to sitting in front of the remote computer.


Server setup

  • To turn on the server (on the computer you want to remote contorl), enable System Preferences > Sharing > Screen Sharing (see below). I would recommend limiting access to administrators, and using strong passphrases for all administrator accounts on the Mac.
    • I recommend that you NOT enable the option VNC viewers may control screen with password: unless you need to control the Mac from Windows or Linux. In that case, you should definitely take extra security precautions to encrypt the remote control channel.

Log files

  • to see who has accessed the computer, look in /var/log/secure.log
  • On OS X 10.6, search for lines containing the string AppleVNCServer; on 10.7, look for screensharingd.

Running the client

reminder: you need to know the name of your computer to connect.

  • To launch the client (sitting at the computer from which you will do the remote controlling), go to Finder, and in the menu choose Go > Connect to Server... (shortcut for that is cmd-K)
    • enter the address of the remote mac in the form vnc://hostname/, for example vnc:// or vnc:// or vnc://



  • the client/server protocol encrypts passwords and keystrokes, and can be set to encrypt everything. so an SSH tunnel (see old instrunctions) or Wormhole connection may not be necessary.
    • to encrypt everything: once Screen Sharing is open, look for Preferences in the menu. see Illustration at right.

-- KarelSF - 2013-01-27

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
pngpng Screen_Shot_2013-01-27_at_5.02.41_PM.png manage 90.5 K 2013-01-27 - 17:05 KarelSF  
pngpng Screen_Shot_2013-01-27_at_5.25.23_PM.png manage 37.7 K 2013-01-27 - 17:25 KarelSF connect to server menu
pngpng screen-sharing.png manage 79.0 K 2013-01-27 - 17:14 KarelSF  
Topic revision: r4 - 2014-08-29 - 15:04:08 - KarelSF
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