Create Your First Screen

Creating a Screen for a Discovered Computer

On a local network, Screens will automatically detect any Mac computer that has Screen Sharing enabled -- and most Linux PCs as well.

To make your Windows PC discoverable on the local network, download and install Screens Connect for Windows.

To create a new screen for a discovered computer:

  • Tap the + button at the top-right of the display.
  • Select New Screen.

You should now see every computer currently available on your local network.

Tip: If you only need to establish a one-time connection, tap the Info button to do so.

Saving a New "Screen"

Screens will take care of filling out the required fields for you. You'll then need to select the proper authentication method and fill out the related fields.

Mac

Adding a Screen Manually

If your computer is not discoverable on your local network, or you simply need to enter the connection information manually, follow these instructions:

  • Tap the + button at the top-right of the display.
  • Select New Screen.
  • Tap Custom.
  • Fill out the required information.

Computer Info

If you're creating a "screen" from a detected computer, this section will already be filled out for you.

If you're creating a "screen" manually, enter an IP address (ex: 10.0.1.17), a URL (ex: mycomputer.dyndns.org), or a hostname (ex: Johns-MacBook-Pro.local.), along with the port number your VNC server is configured to use. By default, the port number is set to 5900. Make sure the correct operating system is selected to reflect the computer you'll be connecting to.

Authentication

Mac

While Screens supports authentication with VNC passwords, it is recommended that you use the Macintosh User method. The required username and password are the same as the one you use to sign into OS X/macOS...

...or when OS X/macOS prompts you for your password when you make system-wide changes or install a new app.

Simply use the same username and password in your saved "screen" settings.

Can't Remember Your Username?

When you first set up your Mac, you entered your full name and created a username. This is sometimes called a "short name" since it is usually a shorter version of your full name. When asked for your username — for example, in the login window or when connecting for file sharing or screen sharing — you can enter either your full name or username. The username is used by your Mac to keep track of all your files and information. Because of this, the username is permanent -- it cannot be changed.

If you can’t remember your username, open a Finder window and look for the house icon in the sidebar (the house icon identifies your home folder.). Your home folder is named using your username.

If you don’t see the house icon, choose Finder > Preferences, click Sidebar, then select your home folder under Favorites.

Windows and Linux

If connecting to a Windows or Linux PC, select VNC Password (if you've configured your VNC server to use a password) or None if no password is required. You can leave the password field blank to direct Screens to prompt you for your password every time you connect to the computer in question.

Secure Connection

Though recommended for privacy's sake, it is not necessary to use a secure (SSH) connection with Screens to connect to your computer.

Mac

If you're connecting to a Mac and have already enabled the Remote Login service, enabling this setting will direct Screens to create a secure connection between your iOS device and your computer. This connection will then be used to connect to the Screen Sharing service. (To learn more about about secure network connections, consult the Enabling Remote Login on your Mac section.)

To configure these settings, tap Advanced. Normally, changes to these settings aren't required, unless you are an advanced user with a special use-case.

Windows

If you've installed freeSSHd on your Windows PC, tap Advanced and enter the username, password and port number your SSH server is configured with. (To learn more about about secure connections, consult the Installing freeSSHd on your Windows PC section.)

Linux

If you've installed and configured OpenSSH on your Linux PC, tap on Advanced and enter the username, password and port number your SSH server is configured with. (To learn more about about secure connections, consult the Enabling SSH on your Linux PC section.)

SSH Keys

If you wish, you may use an SSH key with Screens to log into remote computers. To learn more about how to use SSH keys, refer to Secure Connection with SSH Keys.

More Settings

When you create a "screen," the following settings are set to working default values. If necessary, these can be changed.

Display

Color Depth

Choose between thousands or millions of colors. Setting this to "thousands" tends to result in faster performance, especially on slower network connections.

Start in Observe Mode

This setting disables the iOS keyboard and will not send mouse/trackpad commands to the remote computer during your Screens session. Once the connection has been established, tap the Actions button on the Scrollable Toolbar to switch back to Control Mode.

Remember Selected Display

If there are multiple displays connected to your Mac, you can select your preferred display. which one you'd like to use. Enabling this setting directs Screens to remember which display was active during your last session and automatically re-select that display the next time you connect to that computer. See the Display Selection section for more details.

Curtain Mode

This feature blocks the display on the remote Mac you're connected to. It's useful if you don't want the user to see what you're doing, whether because it's distracting or because you're entering confidential information, such as a password.

When Disconnecting

Screens can send an Action (mouse movement, keyboard shortcut) to your computer right before disconnecting your Screens session.

Perform Action

These actions are available:

  • Do nothing
  • Top-left Hot Corner
  • Top-right Hot Corner
  • Bottom-left Hot Corner
  • Bottom-right Hot Corner
  • Log out user
  • Ctl-Alt-Del

The Hot Corner actions trigger the corresponding Hot Corner behavior as configured on the remote Mac.

Grab Screenshot

This setting directs Screens to take a snapshot of the remote display and use as a thumbnail for this "screen" in the saved connections list. (You can also select a custom image to use instead of a screenshot.)

Legacy Support

Hide Local Cursor

If you're connecting to a Windows PC and seem to get disconnected for no apparent reason, enabling this option may solve the problem.

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