by Jim Lynch

Use the Messages app to share your Mac’s screen in OS X

Dec 22, 2015
MacOSSoftware Development

You can share your Mac's screen with family and friends via the Messages app in OS X. It's great way to help someone or get help from someone with your Mac.

OS X has many useful but nearly unknown features that are missed by many users. And one of the most helpful is the ability to share your Mac’s screen via the Messages app in OS X. Yes, it’s actually possible for the family member or friend you are chatting with in Messages to see your Mac’s screen or vice versa.

This can be particularly useful if your friend or family member is having trouble with something on their Mac, and wants your advice on how to use it or fix it. They can show you their screen while you guide them through fixing the problem or learning how to use a particular feature.

In this how-to I’ll show you how to share your Mac’s screen via the Messages app.

How to share your Mac’s screen via the Messages app

osx screen sharing

You can easily share your Mac’s screen with family and friends via the Messages app in OS X.

Sharing your Mac’s screen is quite simple and easy, here’s how you can do it.

1. Open the Messages app and begin chatting with your friend or family member.

2. Click on the Details link in the upper right corner of Messages.

3. Click the share screen icon (two rectangular boxes).

4. Click on “Invite to Share My Screen” or “Ask to Share Screen” to begin screen sharing in OS X.

And that’s it, that’s all you need to do to share your screen with a family or friend, or have them share their screen with you.

Screen sharing via the Messages app in OS X surprises many users

I wasn’t kidding when I said that most people don’t know how easy it is to share your Mac’s screen in the OS X Messages app. I found the tip via a thread on Reddit, and a number of the folks that commented were also quite surprised to find that they could share their screens.

Here’s a sample of that discussion thread in the Apple subreddit:

Relatedartists: ”Yea, this used to be a part of iChat and I think it’s been in messages for a while.”

Mynormalaccount: ”DUDE! I thought this feature was canned years ago!!!! I’m completely floored, I was just thinking the other day how bummed I was that I couldn’t help my mom easily anymore. Wow, thanks OP.”

Physiology9: ”OMG thank you for this. I use this function on skype a few times a week and it sucks on that app.”

Jjayguy23: ”Nice find drapor! I had no idea!”

Eriamjh1138: ”Screensharing has been part of OS X since Leopard, 2005. Type the IP of the target Mac in safari and go!”

Vhalen50: ”Did this to help my mom the other day. Love that my cursor acts as a magnifying glass to point things out. ”

Allocinit: ”And something I learned this week is that you don’t need iMessage. Just open Screen (use Spotlight to locate, it’s hidden in the system core services folder) and type in the persons iCloud email address. They may need Back to my Mac active. Was able to troubleshoot a family friends Mac without having them creeping in my iMessage.”

More at Reddit

It just goes to show you that some of OS X’s best features are often the least obvious ones. I hope you’ve found this how-to useful, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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