How to Share Your Mac’s Screen Using Messages

Mac Screen Sharing Cover

macOS users can use iMessage to send and receive messages from other Apple users. But the Messages app allows for greater functionality than you might know. One of the features is the ability to share your screen with another user. This will save you the effort of having to install third-party apps to remotely access another Mac. Here is how to share your screen with other with the Messages app.

Note: it’s recommended to share your screen only with someone you know and trust, as sharing your screen allows others to control your computer and access your files and data, too.

How Does It Work?

This method of sharing your Mac’s screen (or accessing someone else’s screen) works only on Messages on Mac, meaning you won’t be able to access a screen from your iPhone / iPad even if you have iMessage enabled. As iMessage is used, you’ll need to make sure that you and your friend (with whom you’ll be sharing your screen) are logged into iCloud and have iMessage enabled.

If you don’t know how to check whether iMessage is enabled, simply follow the guide below:

1. Open the Messages app on your Mac.

2. From the top menu, click on Messages -> Preferences.

Mac Screen Sharing Preferences

3. In Message settings, make sure that your Apple ID listed is correct, and the option to “Enable this account” is checked.

Mac Screen Sharing Enable Account

Now, to share your screen with a friend, follow the steps detailed below:

1. In the Messages app on your Mac, find the contact you want to share your Mac with and start a chat. You can do this by clicking on “File -> New Message” and selecting the contact you want in Recipients.

Mac Screen Sharing New Message

2. Click on the small drop-down menu on the contact and choose from the following options:

  • If you’d like to share your Screen with them, select “Invite to Share my Screen.” If you’d like to request the contact share their screen with you, simply select “Ask To Share Screen.”
Mac Screen Sharing Share
  • Alternatively, you can also choose these from the top menu by clicking on “Buddies -> Invite to Share my Screen.” (In my experience, this option rarely works, so I’d recommend using the contact drop-down method to share your screen.)

Note: If the “Invite to Share my Screen” or “Ask To Share Screen” options are greyed out, it’s most probably because of one of two reasons: the contact you’ve selected isn’t on a Mac / doesn’t have iMessage enabled on their Mac, or you haven’t selected the chat before starting the screen sharing. A quick check on both of these should fix the issue.

3. The person on the other end will now receive a notification to view your screen. If they accept, they’ll be able to see and access your screen in a window on their monitor.

Mac Screen Sharing Request
Mac Screen Sharing

4. Here, by default, Apple will not allow the contact to control your screen and instead only view it. If you’d like to to request access, click on the Control icon in the top-left corner of the window.

Mac Screen Sharing Control Screen

5. On the other hand, if you’re on the screen-sharing side and would like to grant access control, you can do so by selecting the Screen Sharing icon in the menu bar and selecting “Allow contact to control my screen.”

Mac Screen Sharing Control Screen Approval

6. Once done, simply close the window as you’d normally close an app by clicking on the Red circle in the top right corner. You can also pause or end screen sharing from the menu bar icon.  This will end the Screen Sharing.

That’s it. You can now use this feature on your Mac to your liking! Be aware that screen sharing will automatically enable your microphone which will be a means of an audio chat between you and your friend. This can be quite useful if you want to explain something, but if not using it, we’d recommend muting the microphone (for privacy reasons, of course).

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