If you need to work from home, control, fix or access another computer from your Mac, we’ve taken a look at the very best remote desktop software for Mac in 2020.
Remote desktop software is especially useful right now for those that are working remotely in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Taking control or accessing another PC or Mac computer remotely is also known as Virtual Network Computing (VNC).
It can be useful in a variety of situations such as screen sharing, working from home, fixing a computer remotely, system administration or network monitoring of computers.
The security of remote desktop connections when dealing with sensitive corporate data is obviously a major concern and the best remote desktop solutions like SolarWinds MSP are virtually bullet proof.
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The most well known remote desktop tools on Windows are Microsoft Remote Desktop and Citrix Receiver. However, neither are the best remote desktop software for Mac users.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft Remote Desktop is mainly designed for Windows users and has various problems on Mac although admittedly is has improved in recent versions.
Citrix Receiver for Mac was discontinued in 2018 but we think the software featured here are much better value alternatives to Citrix.
Note that there is also no version of the popular Windows remote control support app UltraViewer on Mac but all of the apps featured here are more than adequate replacements.
All the remote desktop apps reviewed here are suitable for connecting from Mac to Mac as well as Mac to PC or from Mac to mobile devices.
They’re also all compatible with the latest versions of macOS including High Sierra, Mojave and Catalina.
Here then is our list of the best remote desktop software for Mac of 2020 in order of ranking.
If you’re a medium to large business needing a robust remote desktop solution then SolarWinds MSP (formerly LOGICnow) Remote Management tool is the complete solution.
The MSP stands for “Multiple Spinning Plates” and system admins will understand the challenge of juggling several different essential tasks at once when remotely administering networks.
SolarWinds MSP provides managed service providers with complete control over Macs, PCs and mobile devices.
For an enterprise solution, SolarWinds remote desktop is remarkably easy to setup and has an easy to read dashboard with all your system’s vital metrics.
SolarWinds MSP RMM is actually web based so it works across all platforms and has the advantage that it can be accessed by a system administrator on any Mac or PC anytime, anywhere.
One of the things we really like about SolarWinds service is that it encrypts data on Macs and between Macs so that if it gets stolen, the data is safe. This is obviously particularly important for those looking for an enterprise grade remote desktop solution.
The same goes for backups. iCloud isn’t suitable as a business backup solution so SolarWinds also allows you to backup data securely using Deep Deduplication, Altered Data Tracking and WAN Optimization which is far more secure.
SolarWinds MSP also provides anti-virus protection via BitDefender.
If you’re looking for a complete remote desktop, network management, backup and anti-virus solution for your organization, SolarWinds MSP is an incredibly powerful yet easy to deploy solution.
You can try SolarWinds MSP free for 30 days to see for yourself.
Pricing: On Request
LogMeIn for Mac is a flexible and easy to use remote desktop solution for abilities of all kinds.
LogMeIn for Mac offers specific tools for individuals, small businesses, IT professionals and help desk technicians and is the best on the market when it comes to enterprise remote desktop support.
LogMeIn offers a range of remote networking solutions, including the incredibly popular GoToMeeting video conferencing software for Mac.
LogMeIn is one of the first ever remote desktop tools on the market and years of experience and refining have made it one of the best remote desktop apps we’ve tried on macOS and Windows.
One of the things we like most is that LogMeIn is extremely easy to use, connects to devices in seconds and has lots of useful extra touches like the ability to print from any device you’re connected to, support for multiple monitors and more.
All LogMeIn plans include an unlimited number of users, 1TB of file storage to share and exchange files and a free license for password manager LastPass so you don’t have to keep entering passwords across your devices.
LogMeIn does not compromise a firewall but is still able to share screens behind one while still using SSL/TLS or even RSA SecureID and 2-factor authentication.
There is an also an excellent LogMeIn iOS app which make it very easy to log into your Mac or Windows PC from your iPad or iPhone.
LogMeIn pricing starts at $25 per month for individuals which allows access for up to 2 computers, unlimited users, remote printing, 1TB file storage and more.
There are also plans for Power Users and Small Businesses which allow access to up to 5 and 10 computers respectively.
You can try a free trial of LogMeIn which last for 14 days.
You can also check out our full review of LogMeIn For Mac for more.
Pricing: Starts at $25/month
Despite the name RemotePC isn’t just for Windows PCs.
RemotePC has an excellent Mac desktop client which allows you to easily connect to other PCs, Macs and mobile devices instantly.
It’s easily the best remote desktop solution we’ve seen in terms of value for money when it comes to remotely administering computers.
Connections with RemotePC are secured with TLS v1.2 and AES 256 bit encryption.
You can choose to connect to other computers either via the desktop app or via the web app and establishing a connection is simply a case of selecting the one you want and clicking “Connect”.
You can chat online during remote sessions, print to remote printers and even record your remote sessions.
There are various paid plans but the basic Consumer/SOHO plan allows access to 2 computers simultaneously and costs $22.12 per year with the 50% off new user discount.
If you switch from another remote desktop service, you get 90% off working out at $6.95 for the first year for connections with up to 10 devices and it’s unlikely you’ll find a better deal than that for so many connections or devices.
You can try a 30 day free trial of RemotePC to see for yourself.
Pricing: Starts at $22.12 per year with 50% off or 90% off if you switch from another remote desktop provider.
Splashtop is a user-friendly way to connect to another computer or device.
Splashtop is particularly good for gaming needs as it streams 3D graphics, sounds and video across local devices extremely well.
For example, if you need to play a 3D game from your iPhone or iPad (Splashtop for iPad is also available), Splashtop enables you to play it on your Mac with almost no noticeable lag.
There’s a very limited free version for personal use and also Enterprise and Business plans. The downside is that Splashtop is only really free for local use because for remote access features across the internet, you must purchase in-app upgrades.
If you want to access another computer over the internet for example, you must pay for Access Anywhere which starts at $5 per month.
It’s also a little tricky to set up but overall, it’s generally very reliable and effective at remote networking.
You can also currently get 30 days extra for free added to your plan.
Pricing: Starts from $5/month
Jump Desktop is easily one of the slickest and easiest to use remote desktop solutions for Mac users with a dedicated Mac client.
Remote networking can be a complicated affair but it’s clear the developer has gone to a lot of effort to make remote desktop connections easy enough for anyone to use without sacrificing features and stability.
In fact, Jump Desktop is unique in using your Gmail account to automatically setup and configure a remote connection without any further effort on your part.
Jump Desktop for Mac is multi platform supporting iPad, iPhone, iPod and even Android and can be used for connecting from Mac to Mac too.
Jump Desktop is extremely easy to use and doesn’t require networking knowledge making it ideal for beginners to Remote Desktop software. All you need is a Gmail account to get started:
Alternatively, Manual setup is also available for those that know what they’re doing when it comes to Remote Desktop connections.
One of the smartest things about Jump Desktop is that it can map Mac keyboard shortcuts to make them work on Windows.
You can also copy and paste between macOS and Windows and vice versa which is really helpful if you work on both Mac and Windows constantly.
The full version of Jump Desktop is $14.99 which is a modest one-off price to pay without any other monthly fees.
TeamViewer is easily one of the most popular remote desktop tools in the World users making it simple enough for anyone to connect to another PC or Mac.
One of the best things about TeamViewer is that for home users it’s free to use although for small businesses and corporations, there are enterprise features.
The free version of TeamViewer is probably the most popular desktop sharing tools out there for gamers on both Mac and PC.
TeamViewer Enterprise plans also include TeamViewer Monitoring & Asset Management which not only provides remote access to Macs or PCs, but also monitors system critical aspects and provides easy IT inventory tracking.
TeamViewer is extremely easy to setup. All you need to do is install the TeamViewer client on both machines, enter the ID of the computer you want to connect to and that’s it.
There’s very little configuration of ports or firewalls as everything is handled automatically by the setup wizard.
Once installed, you simply ask the person you want to connect to for their Partner ID to establish a connection. Alternatively, you can give someone your partner ID and password to allow them to connect to you.
Pricing: Starts at $31.90/month
GoToMyPC is owned by LogMeIn, one of the biggest players in the remote desktop market.
GoToMyPC is suitable for home users, small businesses and corporation as it sets up everything automatically even if you’re behind a corporate firewall or on Mac or PC.
As a result, GoToMyPC is a particularly popular choice among companies and corporations that allow employees to work from home.
One nice feature of GoToMyPC is that you can invite another user into a session temporarily which is useful if you need tech support to help fix a problem with your Mac or PC.
GoToMyPC is a bit pricey compared to other options featured here but Citrix has over 10 years experience in remote desktop networking and both reliability and customer service is widely regarded as excellent.
GoToMyPC also has an iOS app which allows you to easily connect to your Mac or PC from your iPhone or iPad.
GoToMyPC costs $44 per month for individuals but If you’re a small business and need to up to 50 computers, you need to sign-up to the Pro Plan which costs $83 per 2 computers per month.
For large enterprises and companies, you can connect to 1000+ users although pricing for this is on demand.
Pricing: Starts at $44/month
Remotix is an extremely fast, slick and user-friendly remote desktop connection client for Mac.
In fact, If you just need to share the screen of your iPad or iPhone with your Mac, then there are few better RDP clients around.
There’s very little lag in connections made with Remotix to Windows either as it quickly optimizes itself for the speed of your internet connection.
For those new to remote desktop connections, it guides you clearly through the setup process. You can store connection profiles via iCloud backup and even access printers from your remote Mac using Remotix.
You can clearly see how many connections you’ve got open via the Multiple Computer Observer screen:
Remotix is also one of the most secure RDP clients for Mac available with built-in SSH tunneling for both RDP and VNC.
You can also set a master password to protect all of your connections rather than have to enter individual passwords for each one.
If you’ve been having problems with Back to My Mac, or just want to connect to Macs, Remotix is definitely worth checking-out.
Pricing: Starts at $49.95
Royal TSX for Mac is focused firmly on system administrators or professionals with remote desktop needs that need a high level of security.
Royal TSX is very well designed and makes it straightforward to manage connections in the left-hand sidebar with convenient tabs to control sessions.
Royal TSX is very versatile supporting RDP, VNC, SSH based terminals or web-based interfaces.
Security is a big selling part of Royal TSX for Mac as it uses using the highly secure 256 AES encryption standard.
Other enhanced secure features include built-in credential management, safe team-sharing features and the ability to share a list of connections without sharing your personal credentials.
Royal TSX is also one of the few RDP servers for Mac which supports PIV or CAC Smart Card Redirection.
There are various pricing plans for those that need more than this with the Startup Bundle very good value at $82 including Royal TS for Windows, Royal TSX for Mac and Royal Server which is the Royal TSX powerful server software.
Alternatively, an individual user license for Mac costs $29 which gives you 5 licenses and for small businesses and large enterprises, there are site wide licenses ranging from $536 to $1731.
Pricing: Starts at $35.63
NoMachine is a slick Remote Desktop Client which tends to go under the radar when Mac users are looking for remote desktop software but is definitely worth a look.
NoMachine looks great on macOS, is very easy to set up and use and there’s a free version for limited connections.
The good thing about NoMachine is all you need to connect to another machine over the internet is its IP address and port number.
It’s incredibly easy to use and setup with no manual configuration required.
A setup wizard clearly takes you step-by-step through the connection process. Connections are stable and fast and there’s a NoMachine forum where you’ll get help with any problems you might have with the client.
There’s also an extensive knowledge base for those with more technical needs but generally, you shouldn’t have many problems if you just need NoMachine for basic remote connections.
NoMachine for Mac is free for personal use but there are paid Enterprise and Cloud editions available.
Pricing: Starts at $44.50
Free Remote Desktop Software For Mac
The following solutions all have free versions which can be used either free for personal use or with limitations. Most of them offer Business and Enterprise plans for those that need unlimited features and functionality.
After years focusing on Windows, Devolutions also has a Remote Desktop Manager for Macs which offers a limited free version for individual use with some powerful features for Enterprise environments.
Devolutions Remote Desktop Manager isn’t just a port of the Windows version – it’s been built specifically for Mac and the result is very good.
Devolutions Remote Desktop Manager is a little bit like Royal TSX (see review later) and is definitely suitable for system admins and small businesses and has all you need to manage a network of computers.
One of the handy things about it is that it’s integrated with other popular RDP clients such as Teamviewer, Microsoft Remote Desktop (see reviews for both later on) and even Telnet.
The interface is also well designed allowing you to organize sessions by groups or folders and if you already use the Windows version, you can connect to the same databases with the Mac version so you can access all previous sessions.
Devolutions Remote Desktop Manager isn’t quite as RDP novice friendly as apps such as Splashtop and Teamviewer but for those with just a little Remote Desktop experience, it offers a lot of Remote Desktop power for free.
You can use Devolutions Remote Desktop for free but there are limitations compared to the Enterprise version.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a Google plugin which works directly within the Google Chrome web browser. If you’re a Chrome user, it’s a very simple and free way to connect your Mac to another user.
Simply install the Chrome Remote Desktop plugin and you can connect to any other user with Chrome installed on any type of computer or mobile device (including iOS).
Once installed, Chrome Remote Desktop works pretty much in the same way as TeamViewer. Just enter the ID of the computer you want to connect to, and it will connect instantly.
Since it’s only a browser plugin, it can be prone to a certain amount of instability and bugs and there’s no way to share sound between computers with it but as a cheap and cheerful VNC solution that requires no client to install, it’s very effective.
Note that Google does not record any of your activity using Chrome Remote Desktop – it uses SSL and connections are directly from host to remote session with no Google interference in the middle.
Apple Remote Desktop is Apple’s version of Microsoft RDP for Mac.
With Apple’s decision to drop the free Back To My Mac tool from macOS, Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) is now the only remote desktop software that the company offers nowadays.
It’s important to be aware that ARD is mainly aimed at system administrators and there are far easier remote desktop apps to use nowadays.
Apple Remote Desktop is also only for connecting to other Macs and iOS devices and if you’re not experienced with remote networking or VNC clients, we don’t recommend it.
As a professional tool for system administrators to manage Apple devices on a network however, it gives you a lot of power to install software and updates such as Flash and Java, push UNIX commands and update macOS remotely.
Because of the explosion in more user-friendly remote desktop apps, ARD has become an increasingly unpopular remote desktop solution except among IT users.
You may also find that despite it being an Apple product, ARD for Mac is also frustratingly slow at times compared to most of the other remote desktop software featured here.
Microsoft RDP for Mac is now called Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac (confusingly also known as RDC for Mac or Remote Desktop for Mac) and is probably the most well known way of remote networking on Windows.
Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac is a Microsoft tool which allows you to connect your Mac to PC Windows machines and other devices.
However, Microsoft Remote Desktop on Mac has always had more problems and limitations than the Windows version which is why we don’t recommend using it.
There are many issues with Microsoft RDP on Mac such as instability, usability issues and glitches that make it frustrating to work with.
Unlike the Windows version too, the Mac version does not support more secure methods of login such as via smart cards, PIV and CAC cards etc.
For every new connection you make on Mac too, you must pre-configure everything and add it to a connection list – you can’t simply just paste in an IP address and connect to another machine like with most remote desktop clients.
It can also be quite unreliable at connecting – sometimes it simply times out, freezes or won’t connect and you feel like you’re never sure if you can trust it to work when you really need it.
However, if your company or organization requires you to use it – like many do – you may have no choice.
As you can see, there is a wide range of Remote Desktop Connection Managers for Mac although this list is by no means exhaustive.
We’ve covered a combination of paid and free remote desktop apps for Mac software and many vendors.
If you’re looking for a bullet proof corporate solution that encompasses everything from remote desktop access to anti-virus protection and backups, then SolarWinds MSP is an easy to use yet powerful solution.
For home users or professionals that need a more robust solution and especially for help-desk support, LogMeIn Pro is powerful and professional.
For value for money, simplicity and quality RemotePC for Mac is accessible to everyone.
If you have any suggestions for other remote desktop software for Mac that should be included in this article, or have any experiences or questions with the Mac remote apps reviewed here, let us know in the comments below.