Apple @ Work: Remote desktop support for macOS is crucial for remote work to be successful

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One of the significant challenges of doing enterprise IT support in a remote environment is troubleshooting when you need to help someone with something software-related. There are multiple ways to do remote desktop support on macOS, so let’s look at the available options.

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About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.

Low budget option: FaceTime

For small businesses without the budget for a dedicated solution, using FaceTime will work for minor requests. I’ve had someone FaceTime me using another device and pointing it at the screen in a pinch. When concerned about an error message, it’s been helpful to walk someone through resolving it.

The nice thing about FaceTime is that it’s free and requires no additional setup.

Easy to setup: Splashtop SOS

My favorite tool at the moment is Splashtop SOS. I pay $199/annually, and then I can do remote support on any machines without needing to preinstall anything. When I am using SOS, I can send people an email to download a small application that will generate a code that I can input on my end to start the remote session. On macOS, you’ll need to instruct the person to give Splashtop permission to record the screen, gain accessibility features, and other misc macOS permissions before you can take control, but the app does a pretty excellent job walking the users through the process.

I’ve been using this service for years, and it’s by far my favorite way to do remote support on macOS. I love the fact that there is nothing to install ahead of time, and I can use it to connect to Macs, PCs, Android, or iOS devices.

Built into your MDM

Addigy is a popular Apple mobile device management solution, and they added built-in remote desktop support to their solution back in 2020.

LiveDesktop provides an unrivaled experience for remotely controlling macOS devices. Unlike third-party tools that install a separate application to control the device, LiveDesktop uses the Remote Management framework built into macOS. Then, LiveDesktop securely tunnels traffic from that service to a unique URL you can access from Addigy.

LiveDesktop requires no additional software installations, no additional local user creations, and no Privacy Preferences to connect to macOS devices.

By using Addigy’s MDM solution, you’ll get built-in remote access to all of the Macs in your fleet without an additional subscription to a third-party solution. If your organization is sticking to move to work from home permanently, getting robust remote access to your fleet of devices is something you should consider.

LiveDesktop uses the built-in remote management setup in macOS, so you won’t have to worry about future macOS versions breaking the functionality. Suppose a user is already logged into a machine. In that case, they’ll get the built-in Screen Sharing alerts from macOS, notifying someone is attempting to control their computer remotely and to approve or deny. I expect other MDM manufacturers to add this functionality over time.

Wrap up on remote desktop support for macOS

These aren’t the only solutions. Companies like LogMeIn and GoToMyPC offer plenty of options for home and business users. Depending on the number of people you support and the frequency you use, you’ll likely end up going with either a low-cost/easy-to-use solution or a more managed solution. I’ve been using Splashtop SOS for a while, but I know there several great solutions. If you’re doing remote IT support for macOS, which solution are you using? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash

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Avatar for Bradley Chambers Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN where he manages Apple devices for a private school. 

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