Since the Mac has a built-in screen sharing, you can share your screen with another Mac over a local network via the built-in VNC server, or over the Internet via iMessage. Third party apps like TeamViewer also work on both macOS and Windows.
Which option is right for you?
There are three options from which you can choose to share your screen, view another person’s screen, or control a remote Mac.
The built-in screen sharing feature in macOS is perfect for sharing your screen with another Mac over a local area network. You can also use this method to take full control of a remote Mac, although it doesn’t work over the Internet.
If you want to share your screen with someone on another Mac over the Internet, try iMessage. It initiates a FaceTime call at the same time, so you can also talk to the person on the other end. You can share your screen, give up control, or invite another party to take control of your Mac. If you know the other person’s Apple ID, you can also connect directly through the Screen Sharing app.
Finally, third-party apps like TeamViewer work well on macOS and they also have clients for Windows, Linux, and mobile platforms. You can use TeamViewer to connect two computers with almost any combination of operating systems and hardware over the Internet. If you want to share your screen with a non-Apple computer, this is the option for you.
Share your screen locally with another Mac
There are numerous reasons why you might want to connect to a Mac on your local network. Here are some examples:
- You have a Mac that acts like a server that is hard to access.
- You go down to the couch downstairs and need to check something on the work machine upstairs.
- You have taken on the role of technical support for your entire family and want to make life easier for yourself.
- You run a small business, but your LAN isn’t really that small.
If you want to share your Mac’s screen with another Mac over LAN, it’s easy and only takes one second to set up. Once you’ve set up your Mac for LAN screen sharing, you’ll be able to connect to it when it’s turned on.
Set up your Mac for remote access
Follow these steps to set up your Mac:
- Go to System Preferences > Sharing.
- In the box on the left, find «Screen Sharing» and then check the box next to it.
- Make a note of the computer name, its hostname (for example, Your-MacBook-Pro.local), and the VNC address (for example, vnc://10.0.0.5).
- You can also click Computer Settings, enable both settings, and then set a secure password.
Keep in mind that if you turn on remote control, you won’t be able to turn on screen sharing. You can leave remote control enabled (and set it up the same way) since the instructions for accessing your Mac are identical.
In the Computer Settings section, you can enable the following options:
- Anyone can request permission to control the screen : This means that the person connecting will not need to enter their Mac username and password to control the computer. He or she can simply request control and then you can manually grant it.
- VNC viewers can control screen with password : if you enable this, it will allow anyone to connect to your Mac via a standard VNC viewer like TigerVNC. However, he or she must know the VNC address (for example, vnc://10.0.0.5) in order to connect.
You can change who has access to screen sharing, but for simplicity, we recommend leaving this set to All Users. As long as you set a password for VNC control in Computer Settings, your computer should be secure.
Shared screen access
Now you can access your Mac from another computer on your local network. There are several ways to do this:
- Launch Finder, scroll the sidebar until you see Locations (click Show if needed). Find the computer you want to access (you may have to click Network to see it). Click (or double-click) the computer, click Screen Sharing, and wait for it to connect.
- Launch Finder and click Go > Connect to Server in the menu bar. Enter the VNC address or hostname you noted earlier and then click Connect.
If both Macintosh computers have the same Apple ID (i.e. both are yours), the sharing session will begin immediately without prompting. If you’re connecting to a computer that you’re not signed in to with your Apple ID (that is, it belongs to another family member or colleague), you must sign in to that computer with a valid username and password.
The Apple Screen Sharing feature uses a built-in VNC server, which means you can also use just about any VNC viewer app to connect to and control your Mac from a non-Apple device. Make sure you enable the «VNC viewers can control the screen with a password» option, set a password in Computer Settings, and then use an application like TigerVNC to connect.
Since you are sharing your screen locally, you should enjoy a relatively smooth experience. The screen resolution must be high enough so that you can see what you are doing.
It’s possible (if you open port 5900) to connect to a remote computer via VNC over the internet, but that’s a bad idea. When you open your Mac’s VNC port to the Internet, you’re just asking for trouble. There are safer and easier ways to access a computer remotely.
Share your screen over the internet via iMessage
Thanks to the wonders of iMessage and Apple’s Messages app, you can easily share your screen with someone with a Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Follow these steps to do so:
- Start a chat with the person you want to share your screen with.
- Click «Details» in the upper right corner of the chat window.
- In the overlay that appears, tap the Screen Share button (it looks like two overlapping rectangles) next to the person’s name.
- Click «Invite to Share My Screen» to share your screen, or «Ask to Share Screen» to see the other person’s screen.
After the other person accepts your request, the FaceTime audio call begins. To allow another participant to control your Mac, click the Screen Sharing button in the menu bar, and then click Allow [контакту] control my screen.