While I am traveling, I would like to access my downloads, recents, and documents folder on my Mac Mini hard drive, and my desktop if that is possible. I am a bookkeeper and I have an external hard drive with sensitive data that I physically take with me. But I do have a lot of folders and documents in those folders on my Mini hard drive that I would like to have access to while I am away. The documents in those folders are not sensitive, but I don’t want them on the cloud.
I would love to be able to open my Mini and have it be just as if I am at home working as usual from my laptop.
It seems like years ago there used to be a way to easily do this using remote access or something like that. It’s not so intuitive now.
I don’t know how to do it, but I can learn how to set up a VPN or something like that if that is the correct way to handle this.
I have a 2018 Mini using Big Sur 11.5.1 with a 120GB hd with about 20 GB free. It is driving two 32 inch curved displays and an external 2TB drive, a CD drive (which is currently not working) and a mic/camera and a couple other USB devices.
I am starting to be away from my desk for two weeks at a time. I travel with my Air and I bring an HDMI to USB C cable and use the large screen tv wherever I am as a monitor. It’s not like having two monitors as I do at home because I can only mirror displays, but at least it is bigger and I can see my clients financial docs more easily. I also bring my external HD with the client-sensitive data on it.
To do this, you don't need direct access to the computer at all. That would require either a static IP address from your Internet provider, or installing remote access software on your Mac mini, and perhaps paying for a service that would connect you to it.
But to just access your files, it is very easy. Just use iCloud Drive. This is exactly what cloud file services like iCloud Drive do very well. With iCloud Drive, you can see all of the files in your Documents and Desktop folders across all of your Apple devices and on the Web if you need them. It is not only easier than some remote access service, but also more versatile and has other benefits as well.
You mentioned having your Downloads folder also accessible. Typically the Downloads folder is not part of iCloud Drive since it is meant to be a temporary place to store a download until you use it (install an app or view some content) or move it into your regular file organization structure, usually in the Documents folder. I recommend doing that. Otherwise, you can always use the Downloads folder under iCloud Drive (create it if you don't have it already) by setting the default download location in Safari (or your browser of choice) to that folder.
If you feel you need more than just access to your files, I'd first see if you can just do it on your MacBook Air without relying on a strong Internet connection while traveling. For instance, have all of the apps you need installed on your MacBook Air too. Otherwise, search for "Mac remote desktop app" and see what is available. I don't use any, so I can't recommend one over the other.
As I said in my text, the information in these documents are not sensitive, but they are related to clients so I do not want these folders in the cloud.
So it's not possible then to remote into my mini from my Air?
Thanks in advance.
Lynn: What is your concern there? iCloud Drive is end-to-end encrypted. I can't see any way that is less secure than accessing those documents via remote file sharing or screen sharing. In fact, using remote access software would just add another point of entry to those files, so I would say it is more secure to use iCloud Drive and to not allow remote access to the Mac mini.
As for your question "So it's not possible then to remote into my mini from my Air?" please read my entire response.
I think the problem is my ignorance. I will re-read your response and follow the guidelines.
Thanks so much,
iCloud should be more secure than remote access. See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202303
Assuming that your mac mini is on a home network, you can remote in the mac mini in two ways:
1. Allow inbound VNC port on your home router. Not a very good idea as it allows anyone to remote in.
2. Use the remote access software that uses a cloud junction point. i.e. the mac mini talks to a cloud server and your air talks to the same server. again, it is cloud based.
I would use iCloud.
Lynn, you should be able to use a Hotel TV monitor as a extended one not just mirror. It might be painful to look up and down, but it is doable. Just need to open Displays in the system settings on your MacBook Air. Hotel TV are set to 16:9 overscan mode, so you might see the edges missing (e.g. part of top bar or bottom taskbar going beyound the TV screen edges. Sometime, the hotel TV will allow "just scan" mode (e.g. Samsung) or similar for LG. That will show full 1080p with no edge loss.
I do it constantly from my Mac to a mini in the company. Search the mini and also local Linux servers. I have a fixed ip there but is also possible with dynamic via services. You should have Wireguard in both running to allow a VPN.