Control or observe one client computer with Remote Desktop
You can control a screen to assist a user with a problem or to perform activities on a computer that doesn’t have a display, removing the need for a KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) switch.
You can observe any computer that has Remote Management configured and has been added to a Remote Desktop computer list. For information, see Install and set up Remote Desktop and Add clients.
You can control the screen of the currently logged-in user or any user that has control and observe privileges enabled. For information about Remote Desktop privileges, see About access privileges.
You can control the keyboard, trackpad, or mouse of only one computer at a time. Special keys, including the sound volume, screen brightness, and Media Eject keys, don’t affect the client computer.
Control or observe a client
In Remote Desktop , select a computer list in the sidebar of the main window, select one or more computers, then choose Interact > Control or Interact > Observe.
If more than one user on the client computer has control and observe privileges enabled, you can choose the currently logged-in user, or any other user.
When you’re viewing a screen with a larger window, the settings in the Control & Observe pane of Remote Desktop preferences determine how the screen scrolls. For information, see Configure preferences.
If your Remote Desktop preferences are set to share keyboard, trackpad, or mouse control, the remote computer’s keyboard, trackpad, or mouse are active and affect the computer just as the administrator’s do. If your preferences aren’t set to share control, the remote computer’s keyboard, trackpad, or mouse don’t function while the administrator computer is in control.
Switch between control and observe modes
You can switch from controlling to observing a single client.
In Remote Desktop , click the Control button in the toolbar of the main window.
If the button is selected, you’re controlling the client computer. Otherwise, you’re observing.
Share control with a user
When you’re controlling a computer, you can either take complete control of the keyboard, trackpad, or mouse or share control with a remote user.
In Remote Desktop , click the Share Control in the toolbar of the main window.
This button has no effect when you’re controlling computers running non-Apple VNC software. For information, see Set up a computer running VNC software.
Lock a user’s screen
You can lock a computer’s screen while controlling it to prevent the user from seeing what you’re doing.
In Remote Desktop , click the Curtain button of the main window or choose Interact > Lock Screen, then enter a message to display when the screen is locked.
Capture the screen to a file
You can take a picture of the remote screen, and save it to a file on the administrator computer. The file has the same resolution and color depth as the controlled screen. You must add the Screenshot icon to the Toolbar before you can complete this task.
Make sure you are viewing a remote computer.
Select Customize Toolbar from the View menu, drag the Screenshot icon to the Toolbar, then click Done.
Click the Camera button in the toolbar of the main window, enter a name for the file, select a folder where you want the file to be saved, then click Done.
Switch the control window between full size and fit-to-window
When controlling or observing a client, you can see the client window full-size, or scaled to fit the control window.
In Remote Desktop , click in the toolbar of the main window.
Share Clipboards for copy and paste
When you’re controlling a client computer, you can transfer data between the Clipboards of the administrator and client computers. Using the shared Clipboard, you can:
Copy text and images from documents on one computer and paste them into documents on the other
Select and drag text and images from one computer to the other
Copy a link from your web browser and paste it into a web browser on the remote computer
Select and drag text from a document on one computer and drop it on the desktop of the other computer to create a clipping
The keyboard shortcuts for Copy, Cut, and Paste are always passed through to the client computer.
In Remote Desktop , do one of the following:
To automatically share the Clipboard between the administrator and client computer, select in the toolbar of the main window, then make sure Use Shared Clipboard is selected.
To transfer the contents of the client computer’s Clipboard to your Clipboard, select in the toolbar of the main window, select Use Shared Clipboard to remove the checkmark, then select Get Clipboard.
To transfer the contents of your Clipboard to the client computer’s Clipboard, select in the toolbar of the main window, select Use Shared Clipboard to remove the checkmark, then select Send Clipboard.
View multiple displays on a client computer
When controlling or observing a client computer with more than one display, you can view both displays (side-by-side in one window) or one display.
In Remote Desktop , click in the toolbar of the main window to change which display to view.
Adjust screen image quality
When controlling or observing a client, you can adjust the quality of the images on the screen.
In Remote Desktop , drag the slider in the toolbar of the main window to the left to reduce image quality, or to the right to increase image quality.