Setting up your home Mac for remote file access

“Working at home all the time can make even the hardiest soul a bit stir crazy, so I like to leave the house most days, just to mix it up a bit,” Dan Moren writes for Six Colors. “However, that also means I frequently run into situations where I need to retrieve a file from my home iMac that I don’t have handy on my MacBook.”

“I keep most of my smaller files in Dropbox or iCloud Drive, but on occasion I need to grab something like, say, a podcast MP3,” Moren writes. “There are a number of ways to do this — configuring an SFTP server, for example, or using Back to My Mac — but the one I’ve found most handy is using OS X’s built-in Screen Sharing.”

“Once you’re looking at the screen of your remote computer, you can use it just as if you were sitting at it (albeit with some degree of lag, depending on your connection),” Moren writes. “But the best part is that you can also easily transfer files by simply dragging any file icon off the remote computer and onto your desktop.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Anybody use this method? SFTP server? Back to My Mac? Which do you prefer and why?

Instructions for setting up Back to My Mac here.


  1. Back to my mac is amazing! When i updated to Yosemite I lost the access from different wifi locations and never understood why….but i finally dug in and found out both computers being used for the setup had to have back to my mac on. when they were both on it worked. I only have once computer with those needs though. If i had multiple computers i had to access…sftp would probably be the better option.

  2. sftp server (“Remote Login” in Sharing) only allowing me to get in, then usually Panic’s Transmit client. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t take a great connection.

  3. I use Air Connect, from Avatron Software. It’s awesome. It’s a free download from their website,, but needs a $15/year subscription to really use it. It can dig through a firewall and dynamic IP, but you don’t need to know anything about networking to use it. And it lets you use the Mac’s built-in screen sharing or Terminal services remotely. Air Connect also supports AFP file sharing but frankly I wouldn’t recommend that one.

  4. VPN.

    BTMM is hardly dependable.. mostly due to the routers and servers and firewalls that can sit between my home computer and wherever I am when I need something. Once the VPN is established, then its usually vnc:// the IP address of my home computer.

  5. Apple Remote Desktop is my favorite, but you have to control the router. Sometimes when people call and want assistance, I’ll use CISCO Go To Assist. It requires that the person be on the other end, which is good. If I’m going to be supporting the computer regularly, like installing FLASH updates 2 or 3 times a week, I might have them install Team Viewer. I’m considering buying a Team Viewer license. Once they allow me in though, I usually take control of the router and open the ARD ports for support that way.

    I find with cloud storage, I seldom need to go “back to my macs” at home.

  6. Another way that might be easier and more desirable for some is to use TeamViewer. Setup for unattended and you don’t need to setup any dynamic DNS or open up ports on your Wifi/Wired network. I use this for helping my Dad who is a long ways away and it works great. And it’s free as well.

  7. I use Screen Sharing, when I can. It’s consistently flaky, requiring the frequent checking of three different factors to figure out why it isn’t working at any particular moment in time. IOW: CLUNKY and often disappointing. 😛

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