New mini - how can I initially configure without a monitor?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by spyrelx, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. spyrelx macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2014
    So I've just got a new refurbished 2012 mini that I have not yet taken out of the box. I don't have a spare monitor or a tv. But I do have an apple remote keyboard and also both a macbook pro and an iPad.

    Once my mini is up and running, I planned on using it as a media center and operating it remotely (without a monitor or keyboard) through screen sharing with my MBP, and for certain tasks through the iPad remote.

    My question is this: can I actually get the Mini up and running without plugging in an external monitor? In other words, can I somehow use my MBP or iPad as the "monitor" for the initial turn on and configuration?

  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Not that I am aware of. You need to at least turn on Screen Sharing....

    Maybe someone else knows of a way.
  3. Dr Charter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I wonder if one of those iPad screen sharing apps could do the trick. This is a really good question.
  4. Auszero macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2009
    I don't think there is anyway you can use your other two devices as a monitor without going through the initial process with a monitor. You might however be able to remove the mini hd and boot off it with the macbook, configure screen sharing then reinstall and be able to remote in. At that point though it might just be easier to borrow a monitor or go to a friends house. Should only take a couple minutes to set up. As someone who has a mini as a media server I can't tell you how much easier it is to have a monitor plugged in versus screen sharing. The screen sharing is nice for updating little things like iTunes but for anything intensive its cumbersome.
  5. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    I didn't have a display handy either, so I booted my headless Mac mini in Target Disk Mode for its first boot (I did have to connect a USB keyboard to hold down the T key) and used a rMBP for initial setup/turing on Screen Sharing. The only downside is that this does require a Thunderbolt cable (or Firewire 800 cable on an older Mac without Thunderbolt).

    Otherwise you will need a display, keyboard, and mouse for initial setup.
  6. spyrelx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2014
    Thanks everyone for the responses. I actually ended up being gifted an old monitor so I configured the old fashioned way. Auszero, I'm finding the screen sharing quite sluggish and frustrating. I was wondering if that was because of the mini's 4 gigs of ram or 5400 hard drive. Or is it just that screen sharing is going to be sluggish no matter what? Do you have any insight?
  7. jwhazel macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2005
    That one. I assume OS X is still using VNC for screen sharing (I haven't tried it in mavericks yet). It's pretty highly dependent on resolution/color and network throughput. Even with the most robust networks, it's just enough to get the job done for remote administration, opening windows and clicking around, not much more.

    I can't tell exactly what you're trying to do when you refer to "using it as a media center". If you mean transcoding where you don't actually need a head, VNC or RDP(better) will work fine for the occasional admin stuff you need to do to it. If you're actually trying to watch videos through it, you're in a very bad position. I would recommend setting it up to do transcoding instead. If you absolutely have to for some reason watch video by remoting into it, I would install a 3rd party airplay receiver on one of your other macs and have your mini do desktop screen sharing (via airplay) to your other computers. Even then thats not perfect but a little better than VNC.
  8. paulrbeers, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    If there isn't a monitor hooked to the mini (or a dongle to fake a monitor) then OSX doesn't use the GPU acceleration to make screen sharing faster. This is an on going annoyance for those using any Mac as a headless server.
  9. cgc macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2003
  10. Auszero macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2009
    I don't think you'll find a way to make screen sharing functional in the way you imagine it to be. Im running a 2014 mini with 8gb (i don't imagine the hd has much of an impact) and the mini is hard wired into my network and i see stutter on simple tasks like dragging a window across the screen. I don't think there is any work around for this.

    Like i said I'll uses screen sharing to update my iTunes library or other small tasks but anything more than that and i'll switch my tv to the mini. I use plex server and have the media drive set up as a shared folder so I tend to download media on my main computer and transfer it to the mini without having to use the mini. Plex will automatically update the server with the new addition. So my need to get into the mini is minimal. With usenets and stuff you could have this whole operation automated on the mini.

    I don't know what else you plan to use the mini for but once you get it set up its a lot easier to work with and your interactions will be minimal.
  11. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Try using another version of VNC. I use RealVNC both on the 2014 Mini and the 2014 MBA that "controls" it. See :

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