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share screen on mac

How To Screenshare on a Mac

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If you want to share the screen on your Mac, you don’t need to use remote desktop software in order to do it. macOS has its own easy to use screen sharing tool that makes it easy to share from Mac to Mac.

Since Mac OS X 10.4, Macs have had a tool called Screen Sharing which makes it simple to screen share on a Mac.

Screen Sharing is useful in a variety of situations whether it’s helping to troubleshoot a friend or family members computer remotely or simply to access files on another Mac in another location.

Here we show you you the best ways to share a screen depending on your physical location.

How To Share A Screen in the Same Home or Office

Before you start, you need to make sure that Screen Sharing is enabled on the target Mac i.e. the Mac that you want to appear on your own desktop.

Home users should have no problem with the following instructions but those working on a company network with a Firewall may not be able to because sharing may be blocked by system administrators.

If you do experience problems with this tutorial on a corporate network, please contact your network administrator.

To activate screen sharing on a Mac follow these instructions.

  • Go to System Preferences and click on Sharing under Internet & Wireless Preferences:

how to share screen on a mac

  • Then activate screen sharing on mac by clicking the Screen Sharing box. You’ll notice it gives you an address such as vnc:// that you’ll need to make a note of:

how to screenshare on mac sharing prefs

  • Click on Computer Settings… and unless you want to set a password to access the Mac, select “Anyone can request permission to control screen”.

how to share a screen on mac settings 2

This doesn’t mean that absolutely anyone can connect to your Mac suddenly – they will still have to ask for permission before screen sharing will give them access.

It just means you won’t have to mess around entering a password every time you want to connect to the Mac.

Now you are ready to access the screen of the Mac remotely.

There are now various ways you can now access the target Mac

Screen Share Using Finder

  • Go back to your own Mac and open a Finder window by clicking on Finder in the bottom left of your Dock.
  • 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.

sharing a screen with finder

You will be prompted exactly how you want to connect – either “By Asking Permission” or as a “Registered User”.

Since you’re probably not a registered user of the other Mac, 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 do have an account on the other person’s Mac 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.

Screen Share Using A Browser

  • Open your internet browser and type the VNC address that you obtained earlier into the URL bar (e.g. vnc:// and hit ENTER.

Select Screen Sharing if prompted:

browser connect

A dialog box like the one below will appear:

screenshare dialog

Screen Sharing will then start automatically in your Dock:

screen sharing mac dock

Screen Share Using Server Connect

The great thing about this method is that it will connect to any server on Mac, Windows or Linux so you can share a Windows screen with a Mac user and vice versa.

In Finder, select Go > Connect to Server and then type the VNC address of that you want to connect to (e.g. vnc:// to server

Screen Sharing will then start automatically in your Dock.

Once you’ve started sharing, there are various different preferences that you can configure although you don’t need to touch these if you don’t want to:

how to share a screen on mac

These are the three ways to share a screen on Mac using OS X’s Screen Sharing tool.

The connection can be a bit slow compared to using a third-party screen sharing client but the image quality is very good and it doesn’t require any additional software installed on your Mac.

You can switch to full screen mode using the expansion arrow in the top right of your screen. Since OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, users can also instantly share files between Macs on the same network while screen sharing.

Unfortunately this method does not work for sharing an iPad or iPhone screen on Macs.

To do that, you’ll need to install a third party VNC or RDP client.

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.

How To Share You Mac’s Screen From Anywhere

If you simply can’t get screen sharing to work using OS X, or need to share a Mac’s screen in another city or country, then we highly recommend either Zoho Assist.

Zoho Assist is the best remote desktop tool for Mac users and makes it easy to share your screen with a Mac or Windows users in any location.

Zoho Assist isn’t free though and if you’re looking for a free way to screenshare on a Mac from any location we recommend either TeamViewer or Chrome Remote Desktop.

Both are free, extremely easy to use and far less painless than trying to share a screen from an entirely different location using Screen Share which requires tricky router configuration and port opening.

They both also connect to many platforms – including mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones and also PCs running Windows – perfect for fixing parents computers who refuse to switch to Mac!

TeamViewer is a popular screen sharing tool with gamers and those that need to give remote technical help to friends or family.

It’s cross platform – meaning you can connect to not just Macs, but Windows, iPads, iPhones, Linux and Windows Phone.

All you need to do is download and install the TeamViewer client on your Mac and the computer you want to screen share with.

Each computer is given a TeamViewer ID which you must give to the person that want to share your screen.

When they try to connect, simply accept and screen sharing starts immediately via a secure connection.

rdp for mac - teamviewer for mac

Alternatively, if you’re a Google Chrome browser user, then Chrome Remote Desktop is a very easy way to screenshare.

Even if you don’t use Chrome, it’s worth downloading Chrome for Mac and then installing the Chrome Remote Desktop plugin just for screen sharing because it’s so easy to use.

If you already have Chrome installed, it also means no additional software on your Mac – just a plugin.

When the plugin is installed, you can connect to any other user on any computer with with Chrome installed.

It works very similar to Teamviewer – just enter the unique Chrome Remote Desktop ID of the computer you want to connect to, and it will connect instantly.

Note that there’s no way to share sound between computers using Chrome Remote Desktop but like most Google products, it’s extremely easy to use, setup and it works well.best rdp for mac - chrome remote desktop


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