Did you know that you can connect to your Mac remotely over a local network or over the wider Internet? You don’t need expensive software like Apple Remote Desktop to do this, since there are so many great free options out there.

You can use your device to perform remote tasks on a Mac at home or in the office. All you need is a solid network connection and the right tools.

Remote access to your Mac from another Mac

The easiest way to access your Mac remotely is from another Mac via the wonders of iCloud. This also works great on a local network, which is ideal if you’re using an older Mac as a fileserver and haven’t connected it to a monitor.

The feature is called Back to My Mac, which uses your Apple ID to bind all your Mac hardware together. You don’t even need to log in, as long as your computer is turned on.

To set up Back to My Mac and make computers accessible:

  1. Go to System Preferences> iCloud and make sure you are signed in with your Apple ID.
  2. In the same menu, turn on Go back to my Mac towards the bottom of the list.
  3. Go to System Preferences> Sharing and make sure Screen Sharing is checked.

Do this for every Apple computer in your home, office, or anywhere else you want to connect remotely. To connect from another Mac:

  1. Make sure you are signed in to the same Apple ID in System Preferences> iCloud .
  2. Open a Finder window and search the sidebar for the Shared section .
  3. Click the Mac you want to connect to, then click Share Screen in the upper right corner of the window.

Then you would connect to your Mac via the local network or via the Internet. If you can’t see the sidebar, click View> Show Sidebar in Finder. And if you can’t see the shared section , go to Finder> Preferences> Sidebar and turn on Go back to my Mac in Shared .

Remote access to your Mac from a Windows PC

The easiest way to remotely access your Mac from a Windows PC is to use an app like TeamViewer. While TeamViewer is the choice many people use, you have plenty of screen sharing and remote access tools to choose from.

TeamViewer has many advantages: it is free for personal use, available on many different platforms, and generally has excellent performance. Ultimately, the performance of any remote access solution will depend on the speed of the Internet connection and the distance between the two computers.

To make your Mac accessible via TeamViewer:

  1. Sign up for a TeamViewer account , then download and install TeamViewer for Mac .
  2. Run the app and log into your TeamViewer account.
  3. Look for the Auto Login heading and click each of the three controls to make your Mac available even when you’re not using it.

To connect to your Mac from a Windows PC, download and install TeamViewer for Windows . Log in and search for your Mac in the My Computers section . Double click on your Mac and wait. You should soon see your Mac screen in a window on your PC desktop, with full control.

The first time you log into TeamViewer on your Windows PC, you will need to verify this by clicking on a link in your email.

Remote access to your Mac from an iPhone, iPad or Android device

Remote access to your Mac from a mobile device with iOS (iPhone, iPad) or Android is also possible using TeamViewer. The most important step is to make your Mac available while unattended, so you can log in whenever you want.

To do this, make sure you’ve run through the first part of the Windows tutorial above. After installing TeamViewer on your Mac, logged in and configured to receive incoming connections, get the mobile app of your choice.

Download the TeamViewer iOS app from the App Store or the TeamViewer Android app from Google Play. Just like on Windows, the first time you log into your TeamViewer account on a mobile device, you will need to verify it by following a link in your email.

Download the TeamViewer mobile app, log in and verify your device, then select your Mac from the computer list. Tap Remote to connect to your computer and control it remotely.