Apple remote desktop application

Apple Remote Desktop macOS Application

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Developed by Apple Inc., Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) is a Mac app replacing Apple Network Assistant. Initially released in March of 2002, it’s one of the preferred methods around how to access Mac remotely.

Similar in behavior to a VNC, it’s meant to support administrators overseeing many Macs at once—as well as team members needing remote assistance or group demos.

How does it work? Apple Remote Desktop gives users remote control over other computers via a network connection.

Note: the Apple Remote Desktop for PC version is called Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol, as Apple Remote Desktop is only available on the Apple Mac App Store.

Below this Apple Remote Desktop review and guide will describe the Apple Remote Desktop Mac app, how it enhances workflows, and supports Apple Mac Remote Desktop access.

Requiring no additional hardware, it allows users to transfer folders between their devices, access a remote desktop’s Finder menu, and can even act as a task automation tool.

Apple Remote Desktop Price: $79.99

As shown above, paying the Apple Remote Desktop cost won’t break the budget, but it was mainly developed for large organizations with many devices to manage on a network.

Apple Remote Desktop App

The features that make the Apple ARD Mac app a must-have

Convenient remote assistance

Using Apple Remote Desktop app allows users to easily control a remote end-users screen when assisting with troubleshooting or system management tasks. Users can even manage computers without displays, meaning that KVM switch (Keyboard Video Mouse) isn’t needed.

Users can even see if a specific computer has a Remote Management configuration, and whether it has (or has not) been added to the list of Remote Desktop computers.

Efficiently control the screen of a concurrently logged-in user, or any user with control and observe privileges enabled with Apple Mac Remote Desktop.

Apple Remote Desktop support allows users to manage another computer’s mouse, trackpad and keyboard—as well as transmit files, folders, and documents between Mac devices with the Drag and Drop feature. They can also copy and paste data between any two machines, regardless of their OS/platform.

Note: Client computers using Apple Remote Desktop are not impacted by elements such as sound volume, special keys, screen brightness, or Media Eject keys.

Remote administration, management, and control

Apple Remote Desktop installations offer an exciting number of commands for sleep, wake, restart, shutdown, remote screen-locking, and more… users can even execute UNIX shell scripts/commands on the client machine.

Use Apple Remote Desktop to manage computer lists

Within the main window, Remote Desktop displays your computer lists, add additional computers to a list, monitor the entire group, or execute other managerial priorities.

Conveniently, when a management task is performed on one computer, it is reflected upon every computer on the same list.

Default computer lists are called All Computers lists. This lists outlines all potential clients that have been found and authenticated. Users can create an infinite number of lists, and add one computer to multiple lists at a time.

Enjoy automation for your Mac computers

Apple Remote Desktop’s Automator action makes time-consuming tasks a breeze, All users must do to implement Automator actions is drag and drop actions into a workflow.

Apple Remote Desktop offers over 40 Automator actions, including options for Energy saver preferences, default time zone preferences, desktop wallpaper preferences, Finder preferences, and so much more

File installations are easy with Remote Desktop

Quickly and easily install files and folders with the installer packages, 3rd-party installer apps, or dragging and dropping data onto the client.

When will the Apple Remote Desktop be useful?

  • • Great for office workers, educators, startups, and business admins

  • • Use the app to distribute, upgrade, and maintain all software on Macs connected to your network

  • • Collect important system information and store it on a database

  • • Use the app to assist fellow users sharing your network (especially useful for education professionals who must demonstrate how to use a specific program to students—as well as organizations providing live customer support)

Additionally, Apple Remote Desktop lets users interact with each other in engaging new ways.

  • • Send messages

  • • View each other’s desktop screens

  • • Compare screens

  • • And more

This Apple Remote Desktop app is equally helpful in business-oriented affairs. Remote users can access their onsite office computers from home, allowing employees to utilize important programs and documents no matter where they are.

Educators can enjoy oversight and control over shared network computers, and admins can manage entire remote systems at once, adding to productivity and expense benefits.

The pros and cons of Apple Remote Desktop

The Pros

The Cons


Automator Actions is an exciting and cost-efficient feature that automates task workflows that reduces user effort


Only available on Mac and is not cross-platform-compatible


Curtain Mode allows users to block their local user's view of the desktop while executing administrative processes


No mobile device UI—can only be obtained from the Mac App store, thus Apple Remote Desktop iPad or iPhone iOS isn’t available


Spotlight Search saves time by performing ultra-quick searches on machines using the OS X spotlight search feature


Apple Remote Desktop free versions aren’t available, making the app more expensive than alternative tools and software

How to Enable Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) Remotely

  1. Step 1: While operating the Mac, open the Apple menu > System Preferences
  2. Step 2: Hit Sharing
  3. Step 3: Choose the Remote Management checkbox

    Configure Apple remote access
  4. Step 4: Select the tasks a remote user can perform if prompted

    Apple ARD

Note: If there is no prompt, users can define tasks by opening Options

Follow the steps below:

  • Option 1: Choose “All users” to allow anyone with a user account on your Mac to share your screen

  • Option 2: Choose “Only these users”, then hit the Add button—then specify which users can share your Mac

  • Option 3: Hit Computer Settings, then choose options for the Mac— if other users connect with a VNC viewer, you must set a password.