OS X 10.5 Leopard brought us some pretty cool features. One of these features is Screen Sharing which does exactly what it’s name implies; share your screen remotely with another Leopard user and vice versa. I use Screen Sharing as a trouble shooting tool to assist clients in other states and at times, other countries. It is also useful as a tool for collaborating on projects. Here’s how to use it…….
Screen Sharing via iChat
In order to use Leopard’s screen sharing function, both machines must be running Leopard, both machines must have iChat launched and ready, and you must both have broadband internet.
I prefer to start a session with someone via video or audio first, but you don’t have to. To initiate a Screen Sharing session, select the person you wish to share with by clicking on them in your iChat Buddy List, then click the Screen Sharing icon at the bottom of the Buddy List:
You’ll be presented with the option as to which screen you would like to share, yours or theirs. Once you make a selection, your buddy will be presented with a dialogue box asking them if they wish to accept the screen sharing invitation. Once accepted, Screen Sharing swings into action and you’ll then be able to each see the screen and control the mouse and keyboard input of that screen. Whenever you initiate a screen share via iChat, the audio function of iChat remains active so that you can converse with your sharing partner. Pretty cool!
It takes a bit to get the hang of it, but it’s really quite easy to use.
Tip: You can copy files from one computer to the other during a session by dragging and dropping files from one screen to the other (when you do this, the transferred files wind up in Leopard’s Downloads folder).
Advanced Screen Sharing
Some people may want to use Screen Sharing without going through iChat. There are a number of reasons for this which I won’t go into here.
To use Screen Sharing without going through iChat, you’ll need to launch the Screen Sharing application by going to Macintosh HD/System/Library/Core Services. Just double-click Screen Sharing to launch it, and then enter the IP address of the computer you want to share screens with. You can also drag Screen Sharing to your Dock for easy access, just be sure to leave the original where you found it because that’s where your Mac and iChat expect it to be.
Also, keep in mind that if you are sharing screens with someone outside of your local network, you’ll need to make sure that the computer you want to connect to is actually reachable on the Internet. That means the remote computer either needs to be connected to the Internet outside of a firewall, or if behind a firewall, port forwarding (5900-5902) should be on and set to route the sharing connection request to the appropriate computer.