If you want to know how to share your screen on Mac then the good news is Macs already have a built-in screen sharing tool. Since OS X 10.4, Macs have a tool called Screen Sharing which makes it simple to screen share on a Mac. Screen Sharing is useful if you want to help troubleshoot a friend or family members computer remotely or just access files on another Mac from another location. It doesn’t matter which version of OS X you are using either – OS X 10.9 Mavericks can screen share with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for example.
How to share screen on Mac
Note that the OS X Screen Sharing tool is only really suitable for Macs on the same network i.e. those sharing the same WiFi or network connection. If you want to share over the internet from an completely different location, it is much easier to use a third-party screen sharing app.
Note also that home users should have no problem with these instructions but those working on a company network with a Firewall may have problems because you need to open a VNC on the router to allow a screen sharing connection to take place. If you are having issues on a big network, please contact your network administrator.
Before you start, you need to make sure that Screen Sharing is enabled on the target Mac i.e. the Mac screen that you want to appear on your desktop. To do this, go to System Preferences and click on Sharing under Internet & Wireless Preferences.
Click on Computer Settings and unless you want to set a password to access the Mac, select “Anyone can request permission to control screen”. This doesn’t mean that absolutely anyone can connect to your Mac suddenly – it means they must ask your permission first before screen sharing will let them.
Method 1: Using Finder
Simply go back to your Mac and open a Finder window. Click on Shared on the left side and click “Show” and you will see the Mac that you want to connect to. Select the Mac you want to screen share with and click “Share Screen”.
You will be prompted exactly how you want to connect – either “By Asking Permission” or as a “Registered User”. Since you probably don’t have a login and password, select the option “By asking permission” and this will automatically send a request to the other user that you want to share their screen. If you’re more advanced and the person using the other Mac has already configured screen sharing with a user name and password, then select “As a registered user” instead and enter the username and password they have given you.
Method 2: Using a Browser
Simply open your internet browser and type the VNC address that you obtained earlier into the URL bar (e.g. vnc://126.96.36.199) and hit ENTER. Select Screen Sharing if prompted:
A dialog box like the one below will appear:
Method 3: Using Server Connect
Once you’ve started sharing, there are various different preferences that you can configure:
The great thing about this method is that it will connect to any server on Mac, Windows or Linux. The connection can be a bit slow compared to using a third-party screen sharing client but the image quality is very good. And if you are using Lion or above, you can switch to full screen mode using the expansion arrow.
Note that this method does not work for sharing an iPad screen. To do that, you’ll need to install a third party VNC client such as Jolllys Fast VNC or Chicken of the VNC. For a more detailed look at third party screen sharing apps for Mac, check our guide to the Best Remote Desktop Sharing Clients for Mac.