What's the easiest way to remotely share a Mac's screen over the Internet?
August 12, 2012 9:32 AM   Subscribe

How can I control/observe my parents' iMac screen remotely from my own Mac when I'm at home? They made the switch and now I'd like to be able to share their screen to remotely help them figure out, fix and set up things as they need it. There's Back to My Mac, but as I understand it, this is for when both computers are my own and I sign into iCloud on both machines. It looks like I can use Messages, but I'm not clear on what kind of chat account I need? I'm aware of Skype, LogMeIn, etc., but can I do this without additional software? The Sharing panel in System Preferences? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance. Both iMacs are running Mountain Lion.
posted by jroybal to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
you can view screens in Messges ( formerly iChat)
posted by Gungho at 9:42 AM on August 12, 2012

You can do this by proxying VNC over ssh with a tunnel. You'll need to be able to get their IP address on demand (dyndns can help you with this), and poke a hole in their router (instructions vary by router model) so you can connect from outside. Does that give you enough info, or do you need detailed instructions?
posted by Caviar at 9:46 AM on August 12, 2012

Yeah Messages will come natively on their machine and does this. I'm not sure if it will auto-login with their Apple ID, but basically it's the easiest way to handle this. You can send a request for desktop sharing this way. You can also set up their computer once you've done this to turn on Messages and log in automatically when they turn on their computer [same with Skype actually] so they don't have to find it and turn it on.
posted by jessamyn at 9:48 AM on August 12, 2012

I don't know about Mountain Lion, but on Lion you can just enable Screen Sharing in their Sharing preferences. Then on your Mac, in Finder hit command-k and type in 'vnc://theirIPaddress.' I don't think that's a secure connection, though.
posted by bricoleur at 10:20 AM on August 12, 2012

I use Logmein to control my family's computers (the free version). After a quick little install it's so easy and has stopped me feeling like I want to murder one of them while trying to walk them through fixing their computers or having to drive an hour to go and fix it in person.
posted by cecic at 10:51 AM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have used iChat, which is now Messages, to fix computers remotely via screen sharing. The only downside (and this is true of all solutions) is that it doesn't work when the thing that needs fixing is the network.
posted by pmb at 10:57 AM on August 12, 2012

Although you already mentioned LogMeIn and don't want to install more software, it's worth noting that the software installation for LMI would only have to happen on your parents' machine - you would just need a browser plugin. This could be the way to go if there's the possibility of needing to help them from a Windows machine where the Mac services wouldn't be available to you.
posted by youngergirl44 at 2:13 PM on August 12, 2012

posted by hypersloth at 4:20 PM on August 12, 2012

Teamviewer works great. Or for occasional connections I've also used Show My PC. It works with both PCs and Macs. PC to PC, PC to Mac, Mac to Mac and Mac to PC. The only caveat is that your parents' account on the Mac has to be an administrator for Show My PC to work.
posted by eatcake at 5:35 PM on August 12, 2012

One more vote for Teamviewer - idiot proof, and works PC-Mac, PC - PC, Mac - Mac, whatever combination. Also allows for file transfer. It is based online, very quick installation, and doesn't come with a bunch of junk software. I use it for troubleshooting my parent's computer issues regularly.
You can control their computer mouse (and they can take over yours as well). I just have my parents minimize it in the background, then they go do something else while I repair. Either side can close the connection.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 7:51 PM on August 12, 2012

Fourthing TeamViewer. I have used it so much for clients in the past year I finally was guilted-in to buying it.
posted by omnidrew at 8:49 PM on August 12, 2012

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