Mac Screen Sharing Through the Messages App

You can help out a friend by showing them something on their Mac by taking over their screen. There are many ways to start screen sharing between Macs, but the easiest is probably by using Messages. You can request to take over their screen during a chat. You can simply point things out to them, or you can actually take control over their cursor and text input.

Comments: 19 Responses to “Mac Screen Sharing Through the Messages App”

    Law Thim Fook
    4 years ago

    Much thanks, Gary, for this useful video. I’ve actually tried this before, with another friend, but we were not able to share screens. We did the steps that you have mentioned here – except till the part of accepting the screen sharing, as this screen didn’t pop up. And, in System Preference, Sharing/Screen Sharing, we have also turned it on, but it still didn’t work. In the first place, does this option need to be on? Also, how many versions back of OS X can we perform this screen sharing? Thks

    4 years ago

    Can’t be sure why it didn’t work for you. Could be a router at either end, or an ISP, blocking traffic on the ports that are needed. I don’t think you need to turn on the direct Screen Sharing option. If you did, then it wouldn’t appear as an option in the first place. I’ve only tried this on matching versions of El Capitan. It may work on Yosemite, but I doubt much before that.

    Cora Dugan
    4 years ago

    That was a great video! Thank you for that!

    At first, it didn’t work…but I made sure my face time was turned on…and I used my “apple ID”. I sent the message, and then the “details” came up. Thanks for the tips!!

    Law Thim Fook
    4 years ago

    Thanks for your quick reply, Gary. Hmmm, ISP, blocking traffic, etc? FYI, I have VPN on, Ghostery and AdBlock … so I wonder if that’s causing it. Anyway, I’ll retry later. I’ve actually spoken with an Apple Support staff, and she said the Screen Sharing on iMessage has been removed in El Capitain. Guess it’s not true (anymore). Shhhhhh …. FaceTime has to be turned on …?

    Thanks again and regards.

    4 years ago

    Law: “Screen Sharing on iMessage has been removed in El Capitan”? Huh? That’s what I’m showing in the video. Perhaps you mistyped?
    As for those other things, it should be easy enough to turn them off to test. I would say that VPN is indeed a suspect if you are having trouble. FaceTime should be turned on, yes. Why have it turned off?

    Law Thim Fook
    4 years ago

    Yes, Gary, that was what I was told by one of Apple’s Support staff, when I mentioned to her that I couldn’t perform screen sharing on iMessage on El Capitain- which I don’t think is true, or true anymore, as shown in your video. OK, I’ll test out later with VPN off, and FaceTime on. Fyi, I didn’t turn on FaceTime the last time
    – maybe this could be another reason why it didn’t work earlier.

    Law Thim Fook
    4 years ago

    Quick update, Gary. Confirm that with FaceTime on, I was able to share the screen on iMessage. I didn’t even need to turn off VPN. Guess the earlier error/oversight was not turning FaceTime on.

    Much thanks for your assistance, Gary. Greatly appreciated.

    Regards.

    Nonnie
    4 years ago

    Great topic and as always well explained. As a Mac teacher with lots of distant clients, this is invaluable! Thanks.

    Jamie
    4 years ago

    Hi Gary…my screen sharing icon is greyed out…can’t get this working. FaceTime is on..i’m in Mavericks. I’ve switched on screensharing in preferences too (it wasn’t on before). Hmmm..any help please? Frustrated…

    4 years ago

    Jamie: Not sure how well this will work in Mavericks. Remember it takes two to do this, so even if you have it set right, then if they have FaceTime turned off, a VPN, or some sort of router firewall then you can’t connect to them.

    Jamie
    4 years ago

    ok thanks – i don’t think this is going to be as straightforward as you have suggested after all! Argh!

    JPF
    4 years ago

    Screen sharing has been around and working fine since at least 2009. Its only since Yosemite that it stopped working for some people. It probably has to do with Apple’s increased security but I still have not found the cuplrit. What exactly do you guys mean about ‘turning FaceTime ON’, do you mean launching FaceTime and have it running in the background?

    4 years ago

    JPF: Run FaceTime. Go to FaceTime, Preferences. Are you logged in? Is “Enable this account” checked? This shouldn’t affect direct VNC connections for screen sharing (like on a fixed IP address) but it will probably shut down many functions of Messages if you have disabled FaceTime. The two apps really work hand-in-hand.

    JPF
    4 years ago

    Thanks Gary, my FaceTime settings were fine, I’ll have to check the4 preferences on my ‘support customers’.

    Adam Snyder
    4 years ago

    Excellent video Gary. I did not realize this was possible nor this simple.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Pat Mcknight
    4 years ago

    Great tip. Will this work to share a screen with an iPad?

    4 years ago

    Pat: No. But you can use a VNC app on the iPad to view/control the screen on your Mac. Search for VNC in the app store. You can’t use Messages to initiate it, so you’ll have to know the IP address, have your router set up correctly, or use another technique to “locate” the Mac from the VNC app on your iPad. It is more of an expert-level technique and no where near as easy to do as what I show here.

    Bob Gerard
    4 years ago

    I have Screen Shared using Messages multiple times with different folks in the past. Yesterday, with my daughter using Yosemite in SC and me using El Cap in MD, it would not work. The problem, whatever it was, was at her end: when she moused over Details, the subsequent icons were all greyed out. Cannot figure out why. Used Team Viewer instead. Wish I could figure out why it would not work on her end.

    Donald
    4 years ago

    I’ve used screen sharing via Messages/iChat since 2007 to help my mom remotely. Last July, the AOL version of the application stopped working; the icon at the bottom of the buddies list appears “grey” as unavailable. We switched to using the iCloud version of the application demonstrated in the video above and that had work great for roughly seven months through the upgrade to El Capitan. Since January 2016, the screen sharing icon under “Details” now appears grey and unavailable. Strange.

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