Reliable secure remote access from MAC to Windows

A new client of mine wanted access for remote workers due to Covid. He had already spent a lot of money on a firewall that only supports IPSEC vpns and you have to pay for each user connecting (very annoying). So I decided to use the connectwise (screenconnect) access service. It works well with his windows users. I have 2fa installed and his business only uses windows machines.
The owner then went and bought a Macbook Air. I have used Screenconnect to remote into Macs before and it’s worked pretty well. A bit of a pain to talk the user through the hoops but we get there. So I thought I would try and set him up (big mistake!).
After talking him through the installation it reported the Macbook being crippled. Each keystroke was taking 3 seconds to register on the screen. It was pretty much unusable. I actually had to go out on site and uninstall it using the scripts that connectwise have on their site. Because it was new and because a big update came down after I restarted the machine. I assumed that I had asked him to install an access client that was designed for the most recent version of the OS. I reinstalled and it appeared to work well and the Mac ran fine.
I then got a call from him over the weekend. Same thing was happening. As far as I can work out, the remote session was not disconnecting properly on the Mac but it had disconnected on the screenconnect server so the access client was continuously trying to re-establish the connection only to be told that the connection on the host had ended. Needless to say the client was very unhappy.
Because of this, I’ve decided not to used Screenconnect for this remote access use. I’m probably going to recommend that he goes and buys an inexpensive laptop that he can use just for remote access. I know that’s what should be done anyway. It’s not good practice but you know what users are like!
Does anyone have any recommendations of 3rd party remote software that is solid allowing a user to connect from a Mac to a windows machine? I’ve read on reddit that some appear to work but then Apple release an update and it borks the remote client and they have to wait until the vendor releases a patch which might take days/weeks/months.
It would be great to hear back from anyone with your experiences…negative or positive.


Teamviewer supports apple, I used that years ago, they had security issues so I stopped. Though in your situation I can’t see why it won’t work. Who knows whether it will work after an apple update but the user will have to live with it or switch over to Windows.

Yeah. The problem is the client has had a bad experience. It pretty much screwed up his weekend after I went out and reinstalled the product. Particularly because he’s new…I don’t want him to have a similar experience. I’ve heard Splashtop is pretty good and I have another user using Logmein pro but he occasionally has keyboard mapping issues.
I think I’m just going to recommend getting Windows as I haven’t had any problem with other users I have setup with that.
It would be good to know what experiences others have had but thanks for your input :slight_smile:

Apache Guacamole will work, but you’ll need a local server for it. Worst case it needs 1 thread/core per remote connection. Start small and pretty much any computer from the last 5 years should be enough for one or two connections. RDP, VNC, SSH and a couple other methods to connect to the remote workstation. I was using RDP during testing to edit video, the project didn’t get funded so I stopped working on it back in July.

If you are only going to have a single connection, then running Guac in a VM might work out, but larger scale really should be on bare metal.

I have some metrics from my testing posted in here somewhere.

+1 for teamviewer. I’m using v12 which is old but it works fine, you have to jump through a couple of hoops to get it working with the Mac as the remote end but that’s not what you are doing.

You could also setup an OpenVPN box if there is a spare PC around. You could then use the MS terminal services client to safely(*) connect to the workstation through the VPN tunnel.

(* obviously TS is never actually safe but at least with a VPN it’s only vulnerable to people on the LAN which by the sounds of it you already have as a possible issue)

The Open VPN solution (do it through pfSense ) also makes you look good when they don’t need all those VPN licenses next time they come up for renewal!

Thanks Gareth.
Because the user has had a bad experience…I don’t want him to jump through any more hoops than he needs too. I can’t recommend an older version of teamviewer because at some point we’re going to have to upgrade that and I don’t want any problems.
OpenVPN is probably the way to go. The firewall he has isn’t very intuitive. It’s a german company and although there is documentation, it’s a literal translation so I find myself asking ‘do they mean this…or do they mean that’…lol
I think I need to get myself a relatively inexpensive mac running the latest OS or try a mac vm (possibly) and just get testing.

Thanks for your feedback.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that the newer versions of TV are fine, I have just never used them.

The hoops are if you need to remote access the mac (allowing accessibility settings) to go out from the mac is straightforward.

I know Gareth. I’m sure the newer versions of Teamviewer will work. A certain amount of hoop jumping is to be expected with Apple :slight_smile: