Free Remote Desktop?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by KlytusLord, May 26, 2011.

  1. KlytusLord macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2011
    Hello all,

    In MS Windows remote desktop is built-in with no licensing restrictions, but unless I am missing something this does not seem to be the case with OSX - is that correct?

    At the Apple website the cheapest option I found was a 10 machine version for $300!

    Is there a free alternative or at least a two machine license version?

  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Windows Remote Desktop and Mac OS X Remote Desktop do very different things. The Mac version is to manage and control a lot of Macs. The Windows version to to be able to login and use a machine via its Terminal Services.
  3. gorskiegangsta, May 26, 2011
    Last edited: May 26, 2011

    gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    TeamViewer would be a good alternative. It's cross-platform too.

    EDIT: The free version supports chat and file transfer.
  4. KlytusLord, May 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2011

    KlytusLord thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2011
    Thanks for clarifying that, Intell.

    Then what I am looking for is an equivalent to the MS Windows approach. I just want to manage my iMac from my MBP via a GUI.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks much.

  5. jreuschl macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2008
    You could consider using That is free, though you have to pay if you want to use it to transfer files.
  6. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
  7. StingerT125 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 3, 2008
    Dutchess County New York
    Did you try Screen Sharing. Turn it on under System Preferences Sharing.
  8. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004

    Screen sharing has been built-in since OS 10.5

    It's easier if you are one the same network, but can also be done over the internet.
  9. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Apple remote desktop is available in the mac app store for a lower price than the boxed version - $79 sticks in my mind...

    Screen Sharing works locally
    Back to My Mac will allow remote screen sharing

    Search for VNC - there are many free or cheap versions, although I think this is what Screen Sharing is based on anyway...

    Oh, and to control a Windows PC from your mac, MS has a free Remote Desktop client available from mactopia - just in case you were looking for that...
  10. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    No, Screen Sharing works for remote screen sharing too. Just type in VNC://<outside IP> and voila!

    It works best if you use a Static DNS service like DynDNS to keep track of your remote computers IP.

    If you're willing to learn a few tricks OP, you have everything you need already in OS X to do what you are asking for. There is no need to buy anything at all, if you want to know more details just ask and I'll lay it all out for you (it's not hard to do just a lot of steps are needed).

    EDIT: This is how you do it:
  11. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    Screen Sharing should do what you want. If not, there are many free VNC applications out there to download. Chicken of the VNC is a good one.
  12. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I may be wrong, but I think you are making some large assumptions about router, firewall, port forwarding and maybe VPN configuration. Back to my Mac takes all of those out of the equation, as do some of the other services mentioned (log me in).
  13. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Well, yes I didn't explicitly mention those, but Screen Sharing can do remote viewing.
  14. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I use Screen Sharing, VPN, and Microsoft Desktop Connection in various combinations to access Linux/OSX/Windows systems from Linux/OSX/Windows both remotely and locally. To remotely access my home systems I tunnel either with VPN (using my Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server which has the VPN server) or ssh. ssh requires some knowledge to set up the tunnels, which will forward ports on the local machine to the remote network, but has the advantage that no-one seems to block ssh access while VPN's ports are frequently blocked. All the necessary software is available free.
  15. RebeccaL macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2011
    Another vote here for Teamviewer. You can even control a Mac/PC from an iPhone.
  16. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    As others have mentioned, Screen Sharing is the way to go. It's actually VNC (or at least VNC compatible).

    The Apple Remote Desktop software that you found on the Apple site is for remote management of computers including managing software updates from one machine. This is of great use in a business of classroom where you need machines to be identical.
  17. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Like others who have posted, I prefer using TeamViewer, which works with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Ubuntu, iPhone, iPad, etc. It's very secure and quite simple to set up and use. And it's free.

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