How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 2

Updated 8/21/18

In the last article of this series “How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 1” I described how you can access your Desktop Mac from a MacBook when they are both on the same network. But what if you are at work, or in the neighborhood coffee shop or on vacation half way around the world?

There are ways to set up your Mac so that you can access it. The easiest way to set up remote access is through the use of “Back to My Mac” (sadly, Apple has chosen to terminate the ‘Back to my Mac’ service. More can be read in this article “Apple Reminding Mac Users that ‘Back To My Mac’ Feature is Ending Soon). This is approach uses software that every Mac has and iCloud. Both Macs must be using the same iCloud account. If either of the Macs are behind a firewall, it must be configured to allow the remote connection.

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 5.34.21 PM

Rather than go into the details of how to set up and use this method, let me just summarize. A detailed configuration written up by Apple [See Reference 1 below] is available. Basically all you have to do is go into the iCloud Preferences pane on the target machine and select Back to My Mac. On the client Mac, open a finder window and use the sidebar under Shared to select the Mac you want a remote connection to.

I have not been able to test this method myself. More on that in a moment. From what I have read, this method has a spotty history of working. If you can set it up, you might want to try this as it is an all Apple solution, but read the warning paragraph below first!

WARNING – So why couldn’t I try this? Well, the router behind which the target Mac sets must have UPnP or NAT-PNP enabled. In my case, my home router supplied by AT&T Uverse will not allow either of those settings, and that is for good reason. Having UPnP turned on is a security risk. Most security experts agree with this sentiment, so even if your home router allows UPnP to be turned on, it is NOT a good idea to do so.

 

Pros

  1. Free, part of macOS

 

Cons

  1. Macs must be OS X Lion 10.7.5 or later.
  2. Both Macs must be using the same iCloud account
  3. Firewall reconfiguration may be required
  4. Required router settings open a security risk
  5. literature reports mixed success

 

References

  1. Set up and use Back to My Mac

Read my other macOS articles


 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.