Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Back to My Mac Dies With Mojave

Howard Oakley:

Apple has announced that its Back to My Mac feature will not be supported in macOS 10.14 Mojave, when it is released shortly.

In that announcement, it provides links to articles detailing the services which it recommends users change to instead. These are iCloud Drive for file sharing, accessing another Mac using built-in screen sharing, and managing your Mac remotely using Apple Remote Desktop (which costs £74.99 from the App Store, and hasn’t been updated since February 2017).

Colin Cornaby:

Back To My Mac created a virtual Bonjour group across all your remote devices. Useful for so many things. Besides being able to share screens you could SSH back into your home machine.

iCloud Drive is not at all a replacement. :(

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Back to my Mac’s removal just underscores that there is no place for anything at Apple that isn’t 1) iCloud-based, and 2) iOS-compatible. This is a running theme; everything else is on borrowed time


Screens (iOS and Mac) and Screens Connect are a great alternative to Back to My Mac. In fact, Screens Connect essentially behaves like the soon to be defunct service; it manages to open a port on your router and sends that information to our server. Then, Screens retrieves that information in order to connect to your Mac remotely.

Screens Connect starts at boot time so it makes sure that your Mac remains reachable, even if no user has logged in.

I have also had good luck with TeamViewer.

Update (2018-08-22): Kevin Ballard:

Theory: Back To My Mac is going away because without a Bonjour sleep proxy, you can’t wake up your home computer remotely. And without an AirPort Extreme you don’t have a Bonjour sleep proxy. So the death of the AirPort means BtMM doesn’t work well.

Previously: Apple Officially Discontinues AirPort Router Line.

Cabel Sasser:


Wil Shipley:

This is some epic level bullshit. Apple should be encouraging home servers instead of pulling their features one by one.


I can’t even parse the logic of the change from ‘back to my Mac is part of icloud services’ to ‘back to my Mac is ending; use iCloud’ because Apple is much quieter and vague about exactly what these services are anyway. It’s all mkting buzzwords I’ve never found personally useful

Meek Geek:

Another Mac feature bites the dust, with no decent replacement.

Back to My Mac’s integration with the Finder was the best. Access your Mac & hard drives from anywhere. Although flaky at times, it’s a life saver when you’re out and about.


Apple is killing Back To My Mac in favor of the Pro Subscription Plan. Just buy more iCloud storage and pay $80 for Apple Remote Desktop.

Most people don’t need it, so we should start charging extra for it. The new Apple.

John Gruber:

I’m not sure screen sharing and remote desktop access are adequate replacements.

See also: MacRumors.

Update (2018-08-23): Luc Vandal:

Is @screensvnc the first app being un-Sherlocked?

Previously: Removed in macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Update (2018-08-30): Glenn Fleishman:

I found Back to My Mac such an exciting proposition back then—and so complicated to get working just right with different routers and network setups—that I wrote a nearly 100-page book for the Take Control series just about Back to My Mac. (And a separate one about screen sharing!)


First, some good news: the loss of Back to My Mac doesn’t affect macOS’s built-in screen sharing, which you can still use over your LAN or invoke via Messages.


People who still need a Mac-to-Mac secure tunnel will have to look into more complicated solutions, like installing VPN server software on their Mac. That used to be an option with macOS Server, but Apple is removing the VPN server in future versions (see “Apple to Deprecate Many macOS Server Services,” 26 January 2018).

Update (2019-05-31): Juli Clover:

Apple today announced in an updated support document that the Back to My Mac service is being eliminated from all versions of macOS on July 1, 2019.

10 Comments RSS · Twitter

I have used TeamViewer for years for near-zero-setup remote support (and it works to share iOS too, which is nice).

Screens gets a lot of mentions (I own it and use it) and it is extremely polished, but it is VNC only and my experience with their support has not been stellar.

There are a couple other options that I've infrequently seen mentioned but which I have had great luck with.

For accessing my own machines I am fond of Jump Desktop. There are servers for Mac and Windows (which support a proprietary protocol in addition to VNC/RDP) and clients for iOS, Mac and Windows (which I use) and Android (which I don't). Jump Desktop has Bluetooth LE mouse support on iOS. It's definitely not as polished as Screens and particularly on the Mac feels a little non-native but it's stable, functional and featureful, particularly in the area of input — it just added the ability to send multitouch from iOS to Windows, for example. It goes on sale on a pretty regular basis, as well.

Finally, there is Remotix. Like Jump Desktop, it is VNC/RDP/proprietary protocol and Mac/Win/iOS/Android. I only use the iOS app — never tried the Mac app — but it has the *best* feeling "trackpad emulation" of any screen sharing app I've ever used. If you're frustrated with your ability to efficiently point at things when controlling them via touch on iOS, you owe it to yourself to try Remotix. It's not as feature-rich as Jump Desktop, though it also has Bluetooth LE mouse support on iOS, and one unique feature — *bidirectional* audio over RDP, which I have used to dictate to a remote Windows machine from my iPad. Its UI is plain but functional and more polished than Jump Desktop’s.

Had been meaning to turn the above into a blog post, but this is easier...

> and my experience with their support has not been stellar.

I'm sorry to hear that. I did a quick search on Zendesk and could't find any tickets under your name so I don't know where or when we did wrong.

We're here to help if there's anything we can do!

Teamviewer gets my vote for remote desktop access as well. It's what I use to provide support to my mom and my friends when their computers have issues. The fact that it's free for personal use and does not require installation to work clinches the deal.

However, when I want to control the headless media centre in the other room, I turn to Splashtop - it's free to control devices on the same Wifi network as I am on, and I like the interface quite a bit better than Teamviewer, especially on IOS. If I was paying for a remote control app for work, I would definitely choose Splashtop over Teamviewer based on the interface.

Bad Uncle Leo

+1 and a big thank you to Michael for recommending Team Viewer. Let's run down the remote apps I have a license for:

ARD - Very pretty, very beefy "screen sharing" app that also allow running of shell scripts, reports, etc. No normie should buy this. BUT it worked great with BTMM. Screen Sharing had no quality settings to increase speed by dropping color/resolution. ARD has that and more.

Screens - very pretty, very cranky, sorry Edovia, not bulletproof. Can't cope with current double NAT ISP environments, even if you eliminate that using a VPN + NAT-PMP then you get "port errors" from Screens Connect. Edovia has a ways to go because the next two...

Chrome Remote Desktop - Free and when it works it's GREAT. Uses Google infrastructure & a VPN tunnel to slice thru double NAT issues and is QUICK. Two problems: "new engineers" may have taken over 6 mos ago, it stopped working consistently & is prone to "white squares of death" where all UI elements become unreadable white squares.... Google doesn't care and they are phasing Chrome Apps out to make CRD a 'web app' -- ugh, death of BTMM *and* CRD. A double whammy. LUCKILY---

I just installed Team Viewer. FREE for personal use. Better security and as reliable as CRD before the "white squares of death" issue. Will probably de-install CRD as Team Viewer just does a much better job and covers all the platforms that Google now doesn't care about.

That's my 2 yen. Keep the change. And Edovia: step up your game.

@Luc Vandal — my apologies as I can't find the interchange I was thinking of. I probably got confused with another app and really should have checked before posting that publicly.

My only request for support on Screens was in December 2013 and you personally responded twice and appropriately. (Subject was "Hiding toolbar, showing more screens" if you still have mail going back that far.)

To everyone else — please pretend I didn't write the end of that sentence :-/. If you're Mac or VNC-only, Screens is awesome.

Apple makes no mention of one of the most useful features they never bothered to advertise: SSH to your machines from anywhere. Apple also doesn't make clear whether "not supported in Mojave" equals "we're permanently turning off the BTMM servers for everyone. Typical lowest common denominator decay of a once great platform.

Ehh. Nerds gonna nerd. +1 for get TeamViewer already.

For everyone else in the world, BTTM is A. of no use, B. of no interest, C. a potential security hole, and D. poor working practice anyway. Increased costs and increased liabilities for no benefit to vast majority of users? Never shoulda been put in the OS in the first place.

"Nerds gonna nerd."

Strip out all the nerd features & technologies of Mac OS X and you get iOS. The only thing worse than iOS and Mac OS X merging is the Mac being slowly gutted, castrated, & amputated, until it can only do the same things as iOS–only worse. This is death by a thousand cuts for the greatest platform for humans in computing history.

“the greatest platform for humans in computing history“


“the greatest platform for humans in computing history“
I think that level of hyperbole hardly enhances the argument. Seems like there are other services that will work just fine and cross platform to boot.

Lot of Apple software has been killed over the years, no reason third parties can't fill the void. Seems like a VPN would allow the same functionality, no? Then you can SSH, vnc, file share, etc just as if you are on the same LAN? am I misunderstanding this feature? There are a lot of other apps that allow screen sharing over WAN. Plenty of file sharing services too. Assuming VPN configuration is too difficult for some users.

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