iPad phone home part 2
December 12, 2010 5:17 AM   Subscribe

What are the pros and cons of various remote desktop apps for the iPad and iPhone?

I am interested in being able to remotely access my desktop (Mac G5 running OSX 10.5.8) via my iPad (with 3G) and if possible my iPhone. I have looked at reviews and the two apps that seem the most promising are iTeleport and LogMeIn. I have seen this previous question, but since my hardware is a little different I wanted to see if that affects the answers. Also it seems that LogMeIn was the preferred choice of the previous answer, but it looks like it requires a monthly fee which is a real drawback for me. I don't mind paying the 25-30 dollars these cost, but only if they work well.

Two big concerns are ease of setup and use and security when accessing my desktop from the internet. I will also be using it over my home network, but to be honest I am more likely to just walk to my desktop if I am at home. I will check back frequently in case anyone need more information. Thanks for your advice!
posted by TedW to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Logmein has a free plan where you can have up to 3 computers to control. I've been using Logmein for years and have no problems. As far as I know, there have been no security problems reported with Logmein.
posted by reddot at 6:44 AM on December 12, 2010

Best answer: I used iTeleport extensively while on vacation this past week. It has a secure connection mode which you can enable (requires a bit of fiddling in System Preferences, but not too difficult). In that mode, it will establish an SSH connection to your remote computer first, then bring up the VNC session inside that secure tunnel. I was pleased with iTeleport's performance. The only thing that took a little bit of time to get used to was the fact that its default configuration is to behave like a trackpad overlaid on top of the screen, not a direct touchscreen. So you have to swipe your finger around to move the mouse pointer, instead of just tapping directly on whatever you want to click. You can change that behavior, but I found that once I realized what was going on and got used to the trackpad behavior, I actually preferred it. I also like that it does not require any port forwarding, which makes the setup even easier.

I haven't used the LogMeIn app, so I can't comment on that.
posted by Nothlit at 7:23 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Some of the reviews of LogMeIn mention problems waking computers from sleep remotely; has that been a problem for anyone here with either program?
posted by TedW at 7:34 AM on December 12, 2010

I use iSSH, which has ssh and VNC over ssh. With the latest iOS update the Bluetooth keyboards finally have arrow keys, tab, escape and other modifiers. Finally, vi is usable on the iPad!
posted by autopilot at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2010

Best answer: I love iTeleport -- I've used it for several years, and it works very well. Nothlit's comments are spot on.

I can't comment on LogMeIn as I've never used it.

I've had difficulty reliably waking my home computer from deep sleep behind my firewall, so I have it set to put the monitor to sleep but never spin down the hard drive, and this has worked consistently for me.

Mac OS 10.5 and later is very easy to configure for remote use, so that part of it is pretty easy.

If your ISP uses DHCP to assign your IP address, you may also want to investigate DynDNS, which will let you create a permanent, personal domain name that will always update itself to your current home IP address. It's free, too, which is nice.

Finally, some routers have DynDNS (aka DDNS) support built in. TRENDnet does this, and it makes it very, very easy to configure the router for remote access to your home network.
posted by mosk at 8:31 AM on December 12, 2010

Response by poster: Those of you who use iTeleport: do you use the iTeleport Connect program on your desktop or set up your connection manually?
posted by TedW at 9:45 AM on December 12, 2010

I'm a happy user of iSSH. OS X has a bultin VNC server that's decent, and several free ones that are even better.

ISSH is the only one I know of that allows ssh tunneling, which allows me to avoid opening up another network port in my house.
posted by kaszeta at 10:16 AM on December 12, 2010

> Those of you who use iTeleport: do you use the iTeleport Connect program on your desktop or set up your connection manually?

I set up my connection manually, but I've been using iTeleport since it first came out and I don't think this feature was available then; honestly, I was unaware of it. I'll give it a look.

In a similar vein, I was not familiar with iSSH, which sounds pretty cool. I have a VNC solution that's working well for me, and I've set my parents' computers up similar to my own so I can troubleshoot theirs remotely, but I'll give iSSH a look, too.
posted by mosk at 10:32 AM on December 12, 2010

Thirding the love for iSSH; it lets me use VNS, lets me SSH into remote servers for pure terminal action, and it doesn't do the cheesy "sell one version for the iPhone and another for the iPad" thing. It's relatively inexpensive and plays nicely with various networks I've used it on.
posted by verb at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2010

I've been using VNC lite, which was just the first free VNC client I found, but it works as well as I'd imagine any of them to. It's sweet to check up on stuff, and maybe occasionally move some processes along, but I'd hate to do anything serious from it.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 2:49 PM on December 12, 2010

I've heard good things about TeamViewer. It has a free and a paid version; will be trying out the free one soon.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:22 PM on December 12, 2010

I haven't noticed many problems waking computers using LogMeIn on my iPhone. Those problems I have had were self imposed, when I turned off the LogMeIn client on the PC.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:43 PM on December 12, 2010

Best answer: iTeleport is my choice, and I've used it successfully for years. It has an automatic connection setup program though I was never really able to get it working successfully, opting instead to roll my own SSH/VNC/DynDNS configuration. Works like a charm with a little initial tinkering.

The program has improved significantly over the last year, so I suspect that the automatic configuration utility has improved as well - I know that it can handle dynamic IPs via a login to a Google account now, so there may no longer be need for DynDNS.

No experience with LogMeIn, but any subscription fee would be off-putting to me as well. iSSH looks awesome and well worth a try (especially since it's so much less expensive than iTeleport).
posted by owls at 8:30 AM on December 13, 2010

Response by poster: I ended up going with iTeleport, and it works like a charm. Thanks for all the suggestions.
posted by TedW at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2011

Response by poster: Oh, and I used iTeleport Connect to set up my home computer.
posted by TedW at 7:12 AM on May 31, 2011

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