MacMost Now 334: Back to My Mac

Take a look at Back to My Mac, a feature of MobileMe that allows you to easily connect to your home Mac while away. You can share files and the screen. Back to My Mac will communicate with MobleMe so you can connect even if you are on a different network and have changing dynamic IP addresses.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 334: Back to My Mac.

Hi! This is Gary at MacMost Now. In today's episode , let's take a look at Mobile Me's back- to- my- Mac. One of the features that I like most about MobileMe is Back to My Mac. It allows you to connect to your Mac when you are away from your home or from your work, for instance, if you have a Macbook and you are travelling and you want to connect to your IMac at home, you can use MobileMe to quickly and easily get access through screen sharing or file sharing. To use My Mac, the first you need is to open a MobileMe account and to enable to both Macs; the remote one and the one at home or at work. So you do that in "System Preferences" and entering your username and password, and you do that for both Macs. Then, of course, you need to turn on the sharing for the Mac that you are connecting to. You want to turn on both the "Screen Sharing" and "File Sharing" to take full advantage of Back to My Mac. So the other thing that you are going to need is a compatible router. At home you use Airport stream or Time capsule or a router from D-link or Linksys. Most modern routers will allow the computer to connect through the router to MobileMe and tell MobileMe exactly where it is located. This way when you try to log on to it, your remote computer, your Macbook will ask MobileMe where that computer is located and then will go through your router to your computer at home and this will work even if you a dynamic IP address like most people have that is changing constantly. MobileMe keeps an updated address for that home Mac so MobileMe can just connect you using Back to My Back. Once you have signed into MobileMe, you will have Back to My Mac tab, and you can have it turned on. You can also stop it. You can, of course, go directly to the "Sharing Preferences" right here. So, here is where Back to My Mac really shines. In the "Finder," in the sidebar here, you have local devices and you also have shared devices. I have got two devices that are shared at my local network. The great thing with Back to My Mac is these will appear even when I am away from the office. So, I can be travelling in the other side of the world, connect to the internet and after a few seconds, the shared devices will appear and my home and office Macs. Now, if I click on one of these, they will show the connecting feature right here and they will connect to it as the default in this case. Guess, I also click on "Connect As" and it will allow me to connect and do a ID and password. I can also click on "Share Screen," and it will start screen sharing and allow me connect with a ID and password. I can do file sharing and screen sharing from anywhere in the world with Back to My Mac. What you need to know is the IP address of the computer connecting to. You also have to tell the router to forward screen sharing or file sharing to the proper Mac. There is lot of text set-up, and then if your IP address changes, you've got to update it. The Mac takes all that work out of it and not only that but puts in the sidebar of your finder so that you don't have to mess up with any settings at all. Now, if you have a firewall in place, like say you have one at work, you have got to make sure certain ports are opened up, and Apple gives you the information, but this is rare. For most users, usually Back to My Mac, simply works, if you have a compatible router and you just turn it on for both machines. And also remember that screen sharing and file sharing through Back to My Mac is very secure; it's all encrypted; so you don't have to worry about security and privacy issues. Back to My Mac is also a great way to provide text support to other family members. You can simply have them set-up their machine through your MobileMe account, so that you can then get access b=via screen sharing and show them how to do something or fix something that is not quite right on their Mac. If you want to know more about screen sharing, take a look all the way back at episode 77 that allows you to see and control screen on another Mac either on the local network or on a different network, perhaps half a way around the world. Back to My Mac is an invaluable tool for those of us who have a laptop Mac and a desktop Mac and travel a lot. Hope you found this useful. Till next time, this Gary Rosenzweig from MacMost Now.
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  • Comments: 6 Responses to “MacMost Now 334: Back to My Mac”

      9 years ago

      Hi Gary, on a related subject, I’ve installed Mocha VNC Lite on my iPhone which I use to connect to my Macbook on my LAN but I haven’t worked out how to set this up to use over the internet. Perhaps this is an idea for an episode? Cheers, Randall

        9 years ago

        It can be tricky because all the problems come down to the router. And there are so many different ones. It is a matter of making sure that the VNC ports in the router forward to the Mac, and that the Mac stays at the same IP address inside the local network. But how to do that all depends on the type of router.

      9 years ago

      I have mobileme set up on both my mac mini and my macbook. I never have much trouble connecting them through back to my mac. When I’m at home, is there a way to tell if the two computers are connecting through the mobileme service, or if they’re connecting directly through my local router? For some reason it feels like they are connecting from far away even when both computers are connected to the same wireless router. I can share files with a non-mobileme enabled laptop on the same LAN much faster! Can I force them to connect through LAN when they’re on the same network?

        9 years ago

        They are connecting through your router. Back-to-my-Mac just tells them where to look. Back-to-my-Mac is just a way for them to find each other when not on the same router. The data is not flowing through MobileMe in either situation.

      Jon Swank
      8 years ago

      Hello Gary. I really appreciate your videos. Have they been removed from the ROKU lineup? I can not get you for over a week now on the ROKU.

        8 years ago

        They should appear on Roku in the channel. Which channel were you looking at before?

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