Making Your Mac Remotely Accessible without Screens Connect

If you're unable to install Screens Connect on your Mac, it is still possible to make your computer remotely accessible. This method may be necessary for these or other reasons:

  • Your Mac does not support the 64 bit architecture (PowerPC, Core Duo, Core Solo).
  • Your router does not support UPnP or NAT-PMP.
  • You prefer to manually configure everything yourself.

Before you go through these instructions, make sure you enable Screen Sharing on your Mac. Refer to Screens' help documentation to learn more.

Step 1: Updating Your Public IP Address Automatically

Your public IP address will change from time to time. To make sure Screens can find your computer when connecting over the Internet, you may use a third-party dynamic DNS service. A dynamic DNS service monitors your computer for IP address changes so that your chosen URL always points to that computer.

For this example, we chose a free service called No-IP, which is not associated in any way with Edovia. There are many similar services available on the Web, all of which share similar set-up procedures.

Creating a No-IP Account and Hostname

  • Visit http://www.no-ip.com.
  • Select No-IP Free.
  • Sign up for the service.
  • Once your No-IP account has been created and validated, visit https://www.no-ip.com/login/ to log in.
  • Click Add a Host.

  • Type your chosen hostname.

  • Ensure DNS Host (A) is selected.

  • Do not change the IP address. This is already set to your network’s current public IP address.

  • Click Create Host.

Installing the Host Updater Application

Many routers provide this functionality out of the box, alleviating you of the need to install additional software on your Mac. Consult this page to see if your router supports the No-IP service. If your router doesn't support the service, follow these instructions.

  • Visit http://www.no-ip.com/downloads.php.
  • Click Mac.
  • Download the latest version of the host updater app.
  • Open the DMG file and drag the app to the /Applications folder

  • Go to your /Applications folder and double-click No-IP DUC.

  • Log in using your No-IP authentication credentials, the same information that you use to log in at no-ip.com.

  • Select the hostname you created earlier.

  • If you wish to have the app running at all times (recommended for continuous availability over the Internet), enable Open at Login.

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Step 2: Configuring a Static Local IP Address for Your Mac

  • Open System Preferences → Network.
  • Select Using DHCP with manual address.

  • Select a static IP address that won't conflict with any other device on the network. It’s best to pick a number far outside the normal range of assigned IP addresses. In this example, we use 10.0.1.245 because most devices on this network stop at 10.0.1.150. To determine the range to use, check your router's IP address.

e.

  • Click the Apply button in the lower-right corner.

Your Mac will re-establish its network connection. Now, instead of querying your router for an IP address assignment, your Mac will use the provided IP address at all times, even if your Mac is restarted.

Step 3: Configuring Your Router's Port Forwarding Feature

Next, you will create public ports that will direct Screens traffic to your Mac’s static IP address and the private port used by Screen Sharing (normally 5900, unless you have changed it). For this example, we'll use an Airport Extreme. If you have a different router, refer to the excellent [Port Forward] Web site. (Select your router brand and model, then select VNC on the next page.)

  • Open Airport Utility.
  • Select your router.
  • Click Manual Setup and enter your administrative password.
  • Click the Advanced tab, then the Port Mapping tab.
  • Click the + button to add a new port mapping.

  • A settings window appears. Select Apple Remote Desktop in the Service list.

  • In the Private IP Address field, enter the static IP address you created in Step 2.

  • Click Continue.
  • Click Done.
  • Click Update to apply the changes to your router configuration.

Step 4: Configuring Screens to Connect to Your Mac

  • Open Screens.
  • Create or edit a "screen" as you normally would.
  • In the Address field, type your No-IP hostname. In this example, this is lucsmacbookair.zapto.org.

  • Leave the Port field set to 5900.

  • Enter your Mac user account credentials.

  • Tap Save.
  • Tap the “screen” to initiate a connection.

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