Questions about screen sharing

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I have 2 Macs - a mini & a laptop. I just recently nuked the hard drive on each one & did a clean install of Yosemite.

I downloaded Teamviewer onto both of them & set both up for unattended access. When I tried to access my mini from my laptop or vice versa, Teamviewer complained that Teamviewer wasn't installed on the other machine or some such crazy message.

This morning I was on Google looking for a free alternative to Teamviewer & I read about screen sharing on the Mac. I had forgotten that Macs have that capability.

I have some questions. Do both of my Macs have to be physically connected to one another or do both have to be on my local network? Right now, I'm dadsitting at my parents' house & I'm using my laptop. If I had screen sharing set up on both of my machines, would I be able to access my mini in my apartment from my laptop in my parents' house? I read about chicken of the VNC. Is that required or can I accomplish what I want to do without it? Can I transfer files from one Mac to another? Can I remotely lock either Mac?
 
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I've actually recently set this up on my home network to manage my Mac mini serving as an HTPC and have done the same to remote into my iMac from work on my iPad. There are some downsides to this... if your user account has a weak password and someone discovers you are running a VNC server on your desktop (there are hackers out there who regularly probe broadband IP addresses looking for vulnerabilities), you are at risk of them brute-forcing their way into your computer and controlling it. On my Mac mini, I very deliberately set up absurdly complicated passwords for my user accounts to minimize that risk and stay logged in on the standard user account (no admin privileges) to further protect myself.

I haven't looked further into this myself and really need to, but if you have an Apple Time Capsule or Airport at home, then using the Back to My Mac feature is likely the safest option.
https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht4907

If you don't have an Apple router at home, then what I would first do is set static IP addresses for your Mac mini, then forward the port being used for VNC (normally 5900) on your router to your Mac mini's IP address.

Next, make sure "screen sharing" and "file sharing" is enabled in the "Sharing" preferences in System Preferences. Select the user account(s) on the Mac that you want to allow access for.

To log into your Mac while away from home, you'll need to know the IP address that your ISP assigned to you. The easy way to do get that is by going to this website while at home:
What Is My IP Address? IP Address Tools and More

Once gotten, just remote into your Mac by going to the Finder menu, select "Connect to Server", and enter the following:
vnc://youripaddress

You can also enter it like this:
vnc://[email protected]
 
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Teamviewer is supposed to improve security.... but I don't like it - the free version has a continuous help/command screen on the upper right side and it's in the way.

Here's how to use the included Screen Sharing client on your Mac. (instead of Chicken of the VNC)
Access the VNC Client in Mac OS X & Create a Screen Sharing App Shortcut | OSXDaily
Although I know how to do the port forwarding, I've never used this outside of my local net, so I haven't been exposed to the hackers and security attacks. Good luck.
 
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Although I know how to do the port forwarding, I've never used this outside of my local net, so I haven't been exposed to the hackers and security attacks. Good luck.

I don't want to make any changes to my dad's router. Are you telling me that I have to make changes to both my router & to my dad's router? Suppose that I'm travelling &
I want to access my mini from a hotel room. I certainly can't make any changes to the hotel's router. I have read on the 'net about changing the UPnP & the NAT settings on my router.

I haven't looked further into this myself and really need to, but if you have an Apple Time Capsule or Airport at home, then using the Back to My Mac feature is likely the safest option.
I don't have either.

If you don't have an Apple router at home, then what I would first do is set static IP addresses for your Mac mini, then forward the port being used for VNC (normally 5900) on your router to your Mac mini's IP address.
You only mention my mini. I'd like to remotely access my mini from my laptop & vice versa. Is there an alternative to port forwarding?

...then forward the port being used for VNC (normally 5900) on your router to your Mac mini's IP address.

I don't understand network technobabble. Please elaborate.

...and stay logged in on the standard user account (no admin privileges) to further protect myself.
That's what I should do.

I'm a firm believer in the KISS principle. What is the easiest way for me to access my mini from my laptop & my laptop from my mini whether I'm at my parents house or staying in a motel?
 
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I don't want to make any changes to my dad's router. Are you telling me that I have to make changes to both my router & to my dad's router? Suppose that I'm travelling &

I want to access my mini from a hotel room. I certainly can't make any changes to the hotel's router. I have read on the 'net about changing the UPnP & the NAT settings on my router.

I never said to make changes on your dad's router. And no, you don't HAVE to make any changes on even your router. It's just more efficient for routing the connection if you are limiting it to one of the computers on the network, which was my impression. I thought you just wanted to access your Mac mini via your laptop while out.



I don't understand network technobabble. Please elaborate.

Just leave the router alone then.



I'm a firm believer in the KISS principle. What is the easiest way for me to access my mini from my laptop & my laptop from my mini whether I'm at my parents house or staying in a motel?


If you really want to KISS, then get an Apple router and use "Back to my Mac". Problem solved and no technobabble. Otherwise follow the previous instructions minus the changes to the router. The router will figure out what computer you are trying to connect to. Actually if you have 2 computers on the same network that have VNC on and you try to connect to one of them from a 3rd remotely, that I think that would be a problem unless you engage in some technobabblry. If that's going to be the case, just get an Apple router and call it a day.
 

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