How to use a Mac to connect to another Mac remotely

If you need to access your Mac but can’t directly access it, you should consider using macOS’ built-in remote access tools. You can remotely connect to another Mac from a terminal using a Secure Shell (SSH) connection, using Mac screen sharing, or through Apple’s Remote Desktop service for Mac. system administrator.

There are also third-party options you can consider, such as Teamviewer, but the built-in options macOS offers should be all you need to connect to other Macs. If you want to connect remotely to another Mac, here’s how using these methods.

Set up the macOS remote access tool

Before you can remotely connect to another Mac using the built-in Screen Sharing tool, you need to enable remote access to it in your Mac’s System Preferences. You’ll also need to follow these steps if you want to access your Mac remotely using SSH or using Apple’s Remote Desktop tool.

Most users will want to use macOS Screen Sharing this option uses the open source Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocol to create a remote desktop connection. For non-screen access, allow SSH access will only allow you to access your Mac from the terminal.

If you want to control multiple Macs in a business environment, you’ll probably want to turn on Remote management instead of Screen Sharing to allow more control over your Mac, including the ability to change system settings.

  • To get started, press Apple icon in the top menu bar, then click System Preferences right to buy.
System Preferences in the Apple menu
  • In System Preferencespress Share right to buy.
Sharing in the System Preferences pane
  • The Share The options menu gives you a list of sharing options for your Mac, including sharing your internet connection and connected devices with others. To turn on macOS Screen Sharing, tap Above check box next to Screen Sharing right to buy.
Screen Sharing checkbox in the Share window
  • By default, Administrators The user group for your Mac will be authorized for Remote Mac Screen Sharing, which means all users with admin access will be able to connect.

    To add or remove other users from this list, tap + (plus) or – (minus sign) buttons inside Allow access for options below Screen Sharing Tab. Alternatively, press All users radio button to allow remote access for all user accounts on your Mac.

Plus and All Users button marked in Screen Sharing
  • To allow more complete control of your Mac over the network using Apple’s Remote Desktop tool, press Above check box next to Remote management Setting. Press the button + (plus) or – (minus sign) buttons inside Allow access for options to allow individual users to access or click All users to allow all users.
The Plus and All Users buttons are highlighted in the Remote Management menu
  • When you turn on Remote management, you’ll need to confirm the level of access you want to allow. Tap the checkbox next to each option to allow remote access to those features, then tap ALRIGHT for saving.
Remote management options
  • If you want to connect to your Mac using the Secure Shell (SSH) app, you’ll need to press Above check box next to Remote login Setting. As before, press + (plus) or – (minus sign) buttons inside Allow access for options to allow which users you want to allow connections or click All users to allow all user accounts.
Remote Login with Only These Users option and the plus button marked

Once these settings are enabled on your Mac, you can then connect to it from another Mac using the built-in Mac Screen Sharing app or the paid Apple Remote Desktop tool, use a third party VNC viewer or by using ssh command at the terminal.

How to connect to another Mac remotely using screen sharing

How you connect to your remote Mac will depend on the option you enabled in the System Preferences app’s Sharing menu. To connect to another Mac with Screen Sharing enabled, you need to launch Screen Sharing application.

  • The Screen Sharing app is a bit hidden, so you need to tap Spotlight Search icon in the top right part of the menu bar then search for (and launch) Screen Sharing application.
Screen Sharing in Spotlight Search
  • The Screen Sharing Very simple application to use. To connect, enter the IP address of your remote Mac or the Apple ID used to sign in to it, then tap Link to initiate the connection.
Connect to a window in Screen Sharing
  • Depending on your access settings, you will be asked to provide a username and password to make the connection. Provide these, then click Link to make the connection.
Username and password in Screen Sharing

If the connection is successful, your remote Mac desktop will appear in a new window for you to access and control.

Remote Desktop in new window

If you have turned on Remote management and want to use that tool to connect remotely to another Mac, you’ll need to purchase the Apple Remote Desktop tool from the App Store to establish the connection.

Connect to a remote Mac using SSH

The Secure Shell (SSH) protocol allows remote terminal connections. If you have turned on Remote login you should be able to create an SSH connection to your remote Mac using the built-in SSH client on your second Mac or another device with the SSH client installed.

  • To do this, launch the terminal and type ssh [email protected]replace account name with your Mac username and IP address with your Mac’s IP address. For example, ssh [email protected].
  • If it’s your first connection, you’ll need to accept the authenticity warning — sort Yes and press enter to continue. The SSH client will also ask for your account password to make the connection. Type this in, then press enter on your keyboard to make the connection.
SSH in a Terminal window

If the connection is successful, you can start controlling your Mac remotely with Mac terminal commands. Once you’re done, enter exit to disconnect.

The best tools for remote connections on macOS

With these options, you can remotely connect to another Mac using another Mac or any other device with a VNC or SSH client installed. You can also use your Mac to control other devices, as you can control your Windows PC with the Windows Remote Desktop for Mac software.

In addition to these built-in tools, there are many third-party remote desktop applications that you can use to control your device remotely, like Teamviewer or Chrome Remote Desktop. Let us know your favorite method to connect to a remote Mac in the comments section below.

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