Remote computer access is a valuable tool for both business and personal users. While cloud storage is used to hold large files, it is not a feasible option if control of applications and databases on an office or home computer is necessary.
What is remote computer access?
Remote access software allows users to control their physically distant computers from laptops and other mobile devices from any location. Files can be read, shared, and copied as if the user were directly in front of the computer. Any devices connected to the network can also be monitored and controlled. Remote users can even open a chat window to talk with the user in front of the computer. This access differs from that of cloud storage in that applications and setting changes can be made without user intervention on the distant computer.
Remote computer access continues to be used extensively during the global pandemic. Virtual workers needing access to essential files and applications stored on office computers are able to operate their office-based systems from home.
Remote access is also used by support technicians to troubleshoot and resolve issues on client computers. This enables technicians to run programs without having to relay complex instructions that can often be entered incorrectly by the customer. This results in faster resolution times for client computer issues.
Remotely accessing a Mac computer
To enable remote access, specialized software is installed on the main computer that contains the files and applications. The mobile device uses an app to log in and access the distant computer's files and programs. Once access is granted, the mobile user can manipulate and execute files as if they were sitting in front of the main computer.
For macOS users, Apple offers a Remote Desktop app to connect to other Mac computers. However, the app is quite pricey at $79.99 and requires some degree of technical experience. Fortunately, there are several more efficient third-party options available for free or low cost. Each program offers optional premium features which may improve the remote access experience. Free trials can be used to compare features between each one.
- LogMeIn: LogMeIn's GoToMyPC remote desktop software uses a web browser with file-sharing features. The app offers secure access to computers from an iPad or iPhone. There is also external mouse and trackpad support for the iPad. Plans range from $28-$35 a month.
- Splashtop: Splashtop is free to use only for local device access. However, the program features high-quality audio and video, which is worth the extra cost. Plans start at just $5 a month for individuals and teams. The software is downloaded and installed on the computer that is to be accessed with apps for the remote devices.
- TeamViewer: TeamViewer is free for personal use, with subscription plans starting at $50.90 a month for businesses requiring multiple licenses. The software requires downloading and installing the software to the home computer that will be accessed. An app is used on mobile devices to access the computer remotely.
- Parallels RAS: A compelling choice for a remote working solution for Macs, Parallels RAS brings enhanced data security and seamless access to virtual apps and desktops anywhere, anytime. Additionally, most multi-cloud deployments, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are supported. Other features include flexible deployment and task automation. The web-based RAS console allows administrators to efficiently monitor the infrastructure, complete tasks, and troubleshoot user session issues.
Using any of the above programs requires a reliable, high-speed internet connection at both the remote and computer locations.
Remote computer access for the Mac is an indispensable tool for both business and personal use. It is particularly helpful when there is a need to access critical files and folders residing on a computer at a distant location. While iCloud provides file sharing between devices, it does not provide screen sharing capabilities that may be necessary to complete other tasks. Setting up a Mac computer for remote access is easily accomplished through any of the above-described applications.