Apple has said it will soon discontinue Back to My Mac, a zero-configuration macOS service that lets you easily connect to a remote Mac and manage it while away from home.
With Back to My Mac, you can connect to a remote Mac securely over the Internet, transfer files between one computer to another and more.
The service achieves this by registering your home IP address with iCloud.
It’s especially cool that connecting to a remote Mac is as easy as clicking the Mac you want to connect to in the Shared section of your Finder sidebar. You can even use Back to My Mac to set up a network of Mac computers that you can access remotely.
Unfortunately, the service is going away soon.
As first noted by MacRumors, the company is alerting customers via a push notification of the upcoming discontinuation of Back to my Mac in macOS Mojave. Indeed, visiting the iCloud preference pane in Mojave reveals that the Back to My Mac toggle is nowhere to be found.
Apple has put together a handy support document explaining how to weather this transition. “Back to My Mac will not be available on macOS Mojave,” it reads. “You can get ready now by learning about alternatives for file access, screen sharing and remote desktop access.”
In addition to the ability to use Spotlight Search and the Finder to find files and folder on your remote Mac (and drag them to your local computer), Back to My Mac supports screen sharing as well. Given those features are handled just as effectively by specialized VNC clients (including the official Apple Remote Desktop client), customers shouldn’t lose functionality.
Taking advantage of Wide-Area Bonjour networking for secure discovery across the Internet, Back to My Mac automatically creates an ad hoc encrypted connection between the machines using IPsec. It requires users to have iCloud set up, as well as an Apple ID.
The service requires that you enable the UPnP or NAT-PMP protocol on your home router and defaults to using UDP port 4500 for point-to-point IPsec connections.
According to a 2008 RoughlyDrafted story, Back to My Mac was even used by an Apple Store employee to capture the image of a person who stole a MacBook using the built-in camera.
The service made its debut in 2007’s Mac OS X Leopard 10.5
As many Mac owners are unaware of Back to My Mac’s existence, it goes without saying that this particular feature removal won’t upset all too many people.
So, girls and boys, have you ever used Back to My Mac and if so, what did you think of it? Should Apple keep this service or shut it down as planned, do you think?
Hit us in comments!