At night I don cape, leotard, mask and boots to fight the crimes against Apple. By day, I slave over my Mac’s hot keyboard. At least, about half the time. The other half of the time I’m in travel and training mode in and around New York (with an all too often jaunt to a remote office). How do I connect back to the Mac on my office desk?
Let me back up a step or two. My company was kind enough to provide me with a MacBook Air so many of my important files could travel with me. An interesting thing happened along the way to the tablet revolution started by the iPad. I love my MacBook Air, but it’s getting used less and less, thanks to three phenomena.
iPad. iPhone. An app to connect to my Mac in the office from wherever I might be at the time.
After trying a dozen different virtual network computing (VNC) apps I settled on Remotix. It’s the one that gave me the best ratio between it just works and oh good grief. What it does is simple (though I suspect that what’s going on behind the scenes is anything but simple). It connects your Mac or iPhone or iPad to another Mac or PC or even a Linux PC using VNC.
There are other apps that let you connect to a home or office Mac from a remote location. Here’s why I like Remotix.
First of all, it’s fast. If there’s one that’s faster I haven’t tried it yet. Second, it uses Apple’s built-in screensharing for the Mac, which includes clipboard syncing. Also worthy is the iCloud server and settings option so you get the same settings on iPhone and iPad and Mac.
If you’ve ever tried to connect to a Mac or PC back at home or the office you know there can be times of frustration. Remotix has a setup process that eliminates the guesswork for the connection, and then scales the connection to reduce the need for a fast bandwidth connection.
I don’t advocate using the iPhone version because the iPhone’s screen is so much smaller than the Mac screen it connects to back in the office. But it works. Just be careful what you touch, and take a little more time to scroll buttons into position before clicking.
The iPad version, however, works quite well. More pixels makes for easier controls. The built-in multi-touch trackpad lets you zoom to adjust the remote screen size. On a local network, home or office, Remotix can discover nearby devices with ease using Bonjour. It also handles Back To My Mac (you really need to have a modern router, though; so try it out before heading onto the road).
If security is an issue, Remotix delivers SSH tunneling with password and public key authentication methods, and, for the Mac, usernames and passwords are stored in the OS X Keychain.
As good as I’ve found Remotix to be, I do have a couple of gripes. The Mac App Store version has been slower to update than the version available from the developer, Nulana. That might be more of an issue with Apple’s store policies, though. And, despite the speed of this VNC app, it is important to have a good, steady internet connection from your remote location if you’re connecting back to the office.
I keep a Mac version of Remotix on my MacBook, but Remotix for iOS works well enough that traveling without the Mac happens more often than I expected.