Remotely access your Mac

Tags mac


This article discusses how to access a University of Michigan Mac computer remotely through screen sharing for running a program or accessing files.


  • Mac
  • Remote Desktop
  • Off-site, off-campus, home


  1. Ensure that approval for access has been given by a lab manager or PI.
  2. Once confirmed, make sure the person trying to access the computer has a screen sharing client installed. You can connect to a Mac through the Apple Screen Sharing app (recommended) or a VNC client.
    • On a Mac the Screen Sharing app is located at /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Screen
    • You can also search for "Screen Sharing" with Spotlight (⌘-Space).
  3. Enable Screen Sharing on the target computer:
    1. If the remote user is not on the university network, they will need to connect to the VPN before proceeding. See the Getting Started with VPN article for assistance.
    2. In System Preferences go to Sharing. Turn on Screen Sharing.
    3. Make sure that you allow access for any users that will need to access this computer. By default it only allows Administrators to connect, but any user can be added to the access list. Add specific users that will need this access only. Do not select "All Users".
  4. Open the Screen Sharing app.
  5. Enter the IP address or host name:
    • If you're using the IP address, enter it. This can be found in System Preferences under Network. One of the network interfaces should show a green indicator. This is the IP address that you need.
    • If you don't have a static IP address then you will need to request one; otherwise your computer's IP address can change and you will be unable to connect again. You can request a static IP address by contacting your local IT support team and sending them either your computer's serial number (found under the Block M icon in the menu bar), or the computers MAC Address (found in System Preferences, Network under Advanced - Hardware in for the network adapter that is currently connected to the network. This should be a wired network connection).
    • If you're using the host name, use the fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Typical FQDNs are (such as "") or (such as "").
  6. Click Connect.
  7. If it can successfully communicate with the computer, it will prompt for credentials.
  8. If you are able to successfully connect, make sure you log off when you are finished.

Submit a ticket by email or contact your local IT support if you need further help.

Using screen sharing lets you just remotely control the computer, and anything you do will still be visible on the remote computer. This is not recommended if you will need to access sensitive data because you don't know who might be able to view the screen. If the mouse starts moving without you using it, it is probably from someone using it locally while you are trying to access it remotely.

Pro tip: If someone tries to use the computer while you are connected remotely, open a note or Word document so that you can type and explain what you are doing.

External resources

If you have any issues refer to Apple's instructions.

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Article ID: 1679
Wed 5/27/20 9:58 AM
Fri 1/26/24 11:11 AM