Manual Configuration

If UPnP or NAT-PMP is not available on your router, or if you prefer to configure port forwarding yourself, open the Screens Connect menu and click Preferences. Select the Advanced tab and click on Use public port number and enter the public port that was previously opened on your router that is pointing to your Mac's IP address and port (5900 for Screen Sharing/VNC, 22 for Remote Login/SSH). Note that Screens Connect provides the suggested private IP address and port number that your public port you should forward to.

Configuring Your Router and Computer

If you've already configured port mapping on your router, you may skip the next two steps.

Step 1: Set a Static IP Address

  • On the Mac you intend to connect to, open System Preferences.
  • Click Network.
  • Select the network you use for Internet access (in the following screenshot, this is Highland Park on Wi-Fi).
  • Click Advanced.

  • Under Configure IPv4, select Using DHCP with manual address.

  • Enter an IPv4 Address. (In the following screenshot, 10.0.1.7 is used.)

  • Click OK.

  • Click Apply to activate the change.

To learn more about static IP addresses, consult Port Forward.

Step 2: Manually Configuring Your Router's Port Forwarding Feature

Below, we'll demonstrate how to use Apple's AirPort Utility to manually configure your router's port forwarding feature. This method will differ from one router to another, so we strongly suggest referring to the port forwarding guide at Port Forward. This guide includes detailed instructions for many router brands and models. (Once you select your brand and model on the site, look for instructions regarding VNC (Screen Sharing) or SSH (Remote Login) in Step 4 > Application).

If your router is not an Apple Router

In this guide, we use an Apple router as an example. If you need port forwarding instructions for your router, please visit the Port Forward website as it contains instructions for thousands of router models.

Simply select your router's brand and model and you should then be redirected to an instructions page. In Step 4 of that page, you'll need to select either "VNC Personal Computer" which is the equivalent of Screen Sharing, or "SSH Personal Computer" if you enabled Secure Connections (SSH) in the Screens Connect settings. The guide will then show you how to create a port forwarding rule, which you'll be able to apply next in Option A or B.

For the purpose of this example, we will open a public port set to 59107, but you could use any port allowed by your router. Note that some phone carriers are known to block non-standard ports, so if you experience connectivity issues, try using a commonly used port such as 80, 443, 22, or 8080.

  • Open Airport Utility,
  • Select the router to be configured.
  • Click the Edit button.

  • Select the Network tab.

  • Next to Port Settings, click on the [+] button to add a new mapping.

  • Under Description, select Screen Sharing - VNC.
  • Set the Public UDP and Public TCP to the desired public port number (in the following screenshot, 59107 is used).
  • Enter your computer's Private IP address so that the router knows to which computer Screens traffic should be forwarded. (In the following screenshot, 10.0.1.7 is used.)
  • Unless you've changed the default Screen Sharing port number, Private UDP and Private TCP should be set to 5900.
  • Click Save when you're done. You should now see your new port setting. Click Update to apply the changes to your router.

Option A: Port Forwarding to Screen Sharing (VNC)

This example assumes that we want to connect directly to the Screen Sharing service.

  • Under Use public port number, enter the public port that was previously opened on your router (in the screenshot below, 59107 is used).
  • Under General, make sure that Use Remote Login (SSH Tunneling) is disabled.

Option B: Port forwarding to Remote Login (SSH)

If, in Screens Connect's Preferences settings, you chose to use a secure network connection, the configuration is similar.

  • From the Screens Connect menu, open the Preferences window.
  • Click General, then select Use Remote Login (SSH Tunneling).
  • Click Advanced, then select Use public port number.
  • Enter the public port that was previously opened on your router. In the following screenshot, 2299 is used, but you can use any port allowed by your router.

Again, note that some phone carriers are known to block non-standard ports, so if you experience connectivity issues, try using a commonly used port such as 80, 443, 22, or 8080.

  • Under Description, select Remote Login - SSH.
  • Set the Public TCP to the desired public port number (in the following screenshot, 2299 is used).
  • Enter your computer's Private IP address so that the router knows to which computer Screens traffic should be forwarded to (in the following screenshot, 10.0.1.7 is used).
  • Unless you've changed the default Remote Login port number, Private TCP should be set to 22.
  • Click Save when you're done.

Forwarding Multiple Ports

If you need to manually configure port forwarding for multiple computers, note that each of those computers requires its own dedicated port number. For example:

  • Luana's Mac > Port 59107
  • Luc's Mac > Port 59108
  • and so on

Manual Configuration with Older Versions of Screens Connect

If you have other Macs running older versions of Screens Connect, you'll find specific instructions here.

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