How to access your Mac remotely from your iPhone or iPad with Screens VNC

By , Jun 7, 2016

Control Mac from iPhone or iPad with Screens VNC

There is a ton of VNC software options out there, but Screens by Edovia has by far been my favorite for a number of years because it looks and feels like software Apple could have created themselves.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how you can use the Screens app from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, in combination with Edovia’s free Screens Connect software for Mac, to access your Mac remotely.

Why Screens VNC?

Screens VNC for iOS is on the pricier side of things, at $19.99 from the App Store, so lots of people are going to be skeptical at its worthiness and compare it to free software like TeamViewer and other less-expensive VNC apps.

My opinion on many of those alternatives is that they may work alright, but… meh. The interfaces don’t really spark my interest, or the features aren’t really as appealing.

I’ve tried lots of VNC software apps, and none have felt as native as Screens. It just seems to work well and it looks and feels like an app that was put together by people who understand the design and function of Apple’s iOS and OS X platforms very well.

Accessing your Mac remotely with Screens VNC

There are two things you have to do to make this work: 1) you need to set up your Mac, and 2) you need to set up your iOS device.

Setting up your Mac

Using Screens VNC is pretty easy; Edovia has pretty much streamlined the process by making everything cloud-based. You can make a free Screens Connect account and everything else becomes easy peasy. We’ll show you the steps to set up your VNC connection to your Mac with Screens below:

1) Enable Screen Sharing on your Mac from System Preferences > Sharing.

Screen Sharing Enabled on Mac

2) Next, download and install the free Screens Connect software from Edovia’s website on your Mac or PC after you’ve created your Screens Connect account.

3) After you’ve installed the Screens Connect software, you can go to your System Preferences app on your Mac and you’ll find the Screens Connect preferences pane. Click on it:

Screens Connect System Preferences Preferences Pane

4) You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Screens Connect account. Type in your credentials, and then click on the Sign In button:

Screens Connect Sign In

5) Once you’re in, you’re good to go. You should see green dots for everything because Screens Connect will configure itself automatically for the best performance on your network:

Screens Connect Preferences Pane

Setting up your iOS device

To prepare your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you’ll follow these steps:

1) Download and install Screens VNC on your iOS device.

2) Launch the app and tap on the Settings button at the top left of the app’s interface:

Screens VNC iOS Sign In3) Next, tap on the Screens Connect Sign In cell.

Screens VNC Sign in With Screens Connect

4) Enter your credentials for your Screens Connect account and tap Next.

Sign In to Screens Connect in Screens VNC App

5) Once your sign in is complete, tap on the Settings button and then tap on the Done button.

Screens Connect Sign In Complete

6) Now you’ll find yourself back in the Screens VNC app interface. If you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your computer, you can tap on the + button to begin adding your computer.

Screenc VNC add a computer

7) In the next menu that appears, tap on the New Screen button.

Screens VNC New Screen

8) You should now be given a list of computers you can connect to. Your Mac or PC that you installed Screens Connect on should show up in this list if it’s on the same Wi-Fi network as your iOS device. Tap on it.

Screens VNC Choose a Computer

9) The next screen lets you configure your connection to your computer. You can leave almost everything how it is because Screens Connect set everything up for you already. Just enter your computer’s username and password so Screens VNC knows how to log into your computer, then tap Done.

Screens VNC Sign Into Mac From App

10) Your computer will now appear in your computer splash screen from the Screens VNC app interface. You can tap on it to begin connecting to it.

Screens VNC added computer and login list

11) Because you gave Screens VNC your username and password, you won’t need to log in; it does it automatically for you. Screens VNC will begin downloading your Mac or PC’s display:

Screens VNC Downloading Display

12) And once it’s ready, you’ll see your Mac’s screen on your iOS device’s display:

Screens VNC Mac Screen

That’s all there is to it! You have connected to your Mac with the Screens VNC app by Edovia, and now you can control your Mac remotely without having to be sitting next to it.

To disconnect, you can tap on the Share button at the bottom right of the app, and then tap on the Disconnect button:

Screens VNC Disconnect Button

More things to know about Screens VNC

Screens VNC is a great VNC client for iOS, and at $19.99, you should expect no less than the best.

The app supports multi-touch and various other gestures for inputting information into your Mac. It even includes its own keyboard, as well as dedicated OS X-like shortcut buttons across the bottom of the app. With these tools, you can operate your Mac just like if you were sitting right next to it.

It’s possible to set up a DNS server with your Mac and access your Mac with Screens VNC even when you’re not connected to the same Wi-Fi network, so with that in mind, it is just as powerful as apps like TeamViewer, but requires a little more time to configure. Depending on your knowledge of networking, setting up a DNS server may or may not be outside of your comfort zone.

Wrapping up

Screens VNC is my favorite remote desktop software for my iOS devices, and it has a great front end design on not only the iOS platform, but also on the Mac. It’s a piece of software that does cost a bit of dime at $19.99 from the App Store, but I’ve been using it for years and I must say I don’t regret buying it one bit.

Also read: How to share your Mac’s screen via the Messages app

What is your favorite VNC app for iOS? Share in the comments below!

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  • malhal

    Cool I’m in the market for a new VNC client given iTeleport no longer connects on first try and appears to be an abandoned app.

    • Eric Clark

      Did you try Google Remote Desktop?

      • malhal

        Remote Desktop is by Apple and it’s only for Macs, but yes I use that.

  • good timing with team viewer getting hacked recently. Great post I may try it out. I’ve been using chrome remote desktop but I really dislike how it scales some screens.

  • Martynet

    VNC Viewer is much better, because you don’t have to install any additional software on your mac or pc. All you have to do is buy the ios app for 9.99 (I think it’s free at the moment) and turn on the remote access in your system preferences. If you want to access your mac from anywhere, you have to open ports on your router too.

    • chuckisbusy

      It is now free, and has been since 2014.

  • websyndicate

    This wiill probably go over most peoples head but if you use Jump desktop you don’t need any app.

    You setup SSH on your iMac and SSH Tunneling for security. Then you can use a public and private key so there is no password exchange just to make things more secure.

    You would need some kind of DNS service as you IP might change often based on you ISP mostly. After that you can access it anywhere and there is no app required on your mac. I use google Domains as its cheap and my IP doesn’t ever change.

  • chuckisbusy

    Do you have to install Screens Connect software for Mac to use Screens VNC? I currently use VNC viewer for iOS by RealVNC and I don’t have to do anything other than setup Screen Sharing on my Mac.

    • malhal

      The companion apps usually are for connecting over the Internet via reverse tunnel, quite useful. If however you only need local access then it isn’t needed.

      • chuckisbusy

        So is this when you utilize the services of Screens Connect? So I could connect anywhere outside my localhost?

      • malhal

        Yeh: Screens Connect is a free service that allows you to easily connect to your Mac or Windows PC while you’re away. Reach your computer from the Coffee Shop across the street or from your hotel room in Sydney. Install Screens Connect on your Mac or Windows PC, create a Screens ID and you forget about it. Screens Connect takes care of the rest.

      • chuckisbusy

        Do you still need Screens Connect software installed if you have the Screen VNC Mac app installed?

      • malhal

        Probably yes

      • Yes