Leopard has plenty of new features, some fancy and colorful like Spaces, some utilitarian like Time Machine.
Hidden among the extensive feature list in Leopard is a very valuable gem that may get plenty of use at home and office. Screen Sharing.
Apple sells a great utility called Remote Desktop which allows system administrators to manage many Macs over a network. The feature list is extensive, but at the core is Screen Sharing.
Bascially, Screen Sharing means you can connect your Leopard Mac to another Mac and display that Mac’s screen on your Mac’s screen. You can control everything on the other Mac.
Screen Sharing works in iChat, too, but works very well as a stand alone utility. Open Leopard’s Help Search and type in ‘Screen Sharing’ to walk through the step-by-step instructions. Screen Sharing is not complicated to set up. All that’s really required is access to another Mac, and a login name and password.
For a home or office network, all that’s required to start is to click on the Finder’s Shared disclosure triangle to see other Macs on the network. Then click Share Screen in the Finder. Enter a valid login name and password. That’s about as difficult as it is.
Setting permissions for Screen Sharing is equally simple. Open System Preferences, click Sharing. Select the Screen Sharing checkbox, and any other options you may need.
Once connected, and assuming that the other Mac user has enabled Screen Sharing, too, a window pops open on your Mac and reveals the other Mac’s desktop and open applications. Your Mac’s mouse and keyboard now control the other Mac.
What’s handy about Screen Sharing is the ability to see what’s on the other Mac’s screen. Obviously, in an office or home environment, Screen Sharing can be beneficial for troubleshooting, or simply showing someone else what’s on your screen—a spreadsheet, presentation, document, or whatever. What’s on your Mac’s screen is what they see on their screen.
It also means you can check on what your kid’s are viewing on their Macs. Parental Controls are nice, but a little look-see may be beneficial from time to time.
When I first setup Screen Sharing to try it out, my wife was busy in another room on our Mac notebook, searching for hotel rooms for an upcoming vacation. I logged in to share her Mac’s screen. Whenever she would move the mouse pointer to click on a photo or link, I would move the pointer away, or close the screen, or minimize the screen. It was great fun until she started squawking about how Leopard is broken.
Here’s a couple of more little tricks. Leopard comes with Screen Sharing built in, but you don’t need Leopard on Tiger Macs to utilize Screen Sharing. The other Mac simply needs to have Remote Desktop set to on in System Preferences. Screen Sharing will still log in and manage the remote Mac’s screen.
Screen Sharing is actually a small utility that is hidden on Leopard, but you can find it and park it in the Dock. Screen Sharing is in your Mac’s System folder, in Library, in CoreServices. You’ll see the Screen Sharing icon. Drag it to the Dock.
When you click on Screen Sharing, you’ll get a prompt which asks for the remote Mac’s address. Enter either the IP address (great for managing a Mac across the internet), or the Mac’s screen name on a local network.
Mac OS X Leopard is loaded with little treats like Screen Sharing. Are you a new Leopard user? What have you found in Leopard that really strikes your fancy or gets your goat? Talk Back to Mac360 in the Comments section below.