How to Screen Share from Mac to Mac & Mac to iPhone & iPad

If you want to remotely view the screen on a Mac with another Mac, or from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac so you can work collaboratively or help fix a problem at a distance, you've probably been wondering how to set up a remote desktop connection. There are several different ways to screen share, and even to enable remote computer access; we'll go through all the possibilities including the easiest option of all, FaceTime, as well as screen sharing and control with iMessage, and screen sharing Mac to Mac. Let's get started going over our screen sharing options for Mac to iPhone and iPad, and screen sharing Mac to Mac. 

Related: VPN: What Is VPN, How Does It Work & Which Is the Best VPN Service for You

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FaceTime for Screen Sharing

This screen sharing solution is elegant in its simplicity with no complicated instructions needed; all you need to do is start a FaceTime call and have the recipient point their iPhone or iPad at the screen you need to view. Of course, you can't control their computer using this method, but you can troubleshoot, help diagnose a problem, and offer possible solutions. 

To enable a FaceTime call, you and the person you're working with need to have iPhones. To start the call:

  • Open your Phone app and choose the contact you'd like to FaceTime.
  • Tap the FaceTime icon to initiate your video call.

facetime screen share on iphone 

If both of you don't have an iPhone, you can use other apps like Facebook Messenger and use the video chat option. To start a video chat:

  • Open Facebook Messenger.
  • Go to the contact you'd like to video chat with and tap on the video camera icon to initiate the call. 

facetime screen share with facebook messenger

To Turn On Screen Sharing on Your Mac

If you want to be able to not only see the screen on someone else's Mac, but also open apps; move, open, and close windows and files; and even restart their Mac, they'll need to turn on Screen Sharing. If you want someone else to be able to see and control your Mac's screen, or even to be able to remotely view and control it yourself, you'll need to turn Screen Sharing on for your Mac. Let's get started learning how.

  • Click on the Apple menu on your Mac, then click System Preferences from the drop-down menu. 

turn on screen sharing on mac

Click on Sharing.

how to screen share on mac

If Remote Management is selected, deselect it, then select Screen Sharing.

turn on apple screen sharing

Now you'll need to choose who to share your screen with, you can choose All Users or Only these users. All Users is great if, for example, your Mac is connected to a network server at work or school and you'd like to screen share with anyone on that server. Only these users is the right choice for someone who'd like to share with just a few select people.

screen sharing mac options

If you select Only These Users, you'll be able to add and subtract members to your sharing group by clicking the plus or minus under the Allow access option. 

how to share screen on mac

  • Once you click the plus sign you'll be able to choose someone to share with from Users & Groups; this includes everyone who uses your Mac except guest users and Sharing Only users.
  • You can also choose one or more people from Network Users or a group of people from Network Groups; these options are all within your Mac's network server.
  • For even more options, click on Computer Settings.

turn on apple screen sharing

  • Now you can choose Anyone may request permission to control screen, or VNC viewers may control screen with password, or both. With the VNC viewer option people with a VNC app like VNC Viewer can share your Mac's screen. 

turn on share screen on mac

Start a Screen Sharing Session with Another Mac

After you have permission, you can see and control the screen of another Mac on your network. To do this you'll need the name and address of the Mac you want to share. This information can be found in the Sharing screen of System Preferences that we visited in the step above.  

  • If you don't have this information, ask the person whose Mac you want to share to choose the Apple menu, then click on System Preferences, then Sharing. They'll see the name and/or address of their Mac on this screen, the address is after "Computers on your local network can access your computer at:." ​

computer name and ip address

You can connect using either the name or the ip address. To use the name:

  • Click on the Finder icon in the Dock.

screen share on mac with computer name through finder

  • You'll see a gray sidebar; in the Locations section click Network.

how to screen share with another mac using mac name

  • Double-click the name of theMac you want to share, then click Share Screen.

connect to another mac and screen share

  • If you don't see the Mac you want to screen share with in Locations, hold the pointer over the word Locations, then click Show.

You can also connect your Mac to another Mac for screen sharing using the address. To do this:

  • Go to the Finder again and click on Go in the menu bar.

screen share with another mac using ip address

  • Click on Connect to Server.

screen share mac to mac

  • Enter the address of the Mac you want to screen share with, then click Connect.

how to screen share mac to mac

If both Macs are logged in with the same Apple ID the screen sharing session will start automatically. If the Macs are logged in with different Apple ID's, you’ll need to enter the user name and password for someone who is allowed screen sharing access on that computer, or you'll need to request permission to screen share.

If another person is already connected to the Mac as a remote user, you'll have the option to Share Display with the other remote user or Log In and use a different user name and screen.

If you choose Log In, you'll be on the Mac with the other remote user, but you won’t screen share with them.

Screen Share on Mac with iMessage

Another great option for screen sharing on Mac is through iMessages. If the person you'd like to share a screen with has an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID they use to sign in to Messages, all you'll need to do is:

  • Open the iMessages app and start a conversation with the person you'd like to share with.

screen share with imessage

  • Click Details.

how to screen share with imessage

Now click the Screen Share button.

use imessage to screen share on mac

You'll have the options to Invite to Share My Screen or Ask to Share Screen.

screen sharing options on imessage

You can accept your friend's sharing reqest, or they can accept yours, depending on who is sharing a screen with whom. Once the call is accepted the audio will start and the Screen Sharing app will open. 

Screen Control with Screen Share on Mac Using iMessage

Screen sharing on Mac also offers the option for screen control with permission. If you'd rather not offer full control of your screen, observe mode allows highlighting areas on your screen to help you navigate your problem. If you need more help and would like someone else to control your screen:

  • You'll receive an invitation; click Accept.
  • You'll be given the option to let the other person control your screen or just observe it, click on Control My Screen, then click Accept.

If you need to invite someone else to control your Mac screen, use iMessages to start a thread as explained in "Screen Share on Mac with iMessage" above, then:

  • Click the Screen Share button.

use imessage to screen share on mac

  • Click on "allow ___ to control my screen." You'll see a check mark after you've sucessfully selected them. 
  • To remove this permission, just click again to remove the check mark.
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Leanne Hays's picture

Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.