Screenshot 2014-08-19 14.13.01

In June, we noted that Apple is adding a handy new feature to the upcoming OS X Yosemite: the ability for iMessage/Apple ID users to screen share via the Messages app. Screen sharing was a hallmark of early versions of Apple’s Mac “iChat” application, but it has always required an Aol Instant Messenger (AIM), Gmail, Jabber, or Yahoo account. With Yosemite, users can have the same screen sharing experience with just an iMessage/FaceTime/or Apple ID account. Apple activated the feature in this week’s beta release, and it brings some new tricks not found in earlier implementations:

Screenshot 2014-08-19 14.15.36

- First, you can block the person (in this case I will block Mike) sending you the screen share request directly from the notification banner.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 14.09.36

- You’re also able to turn on or off the audio conversation.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 14.22.08

- You also have to authenticate (a second time) for the other user to be able to actually control your screen. Before, a user could just view and control your screen upon the initial start of the screen sharing session.

The screen sharing worked (albeit inconsistently and unreliably) in our testing today, but Apple will certainly (hopefully?) get the feature working properly by Yosemite’s public launch in late-October.

Thanks, Vladislav for the screen sharing lead!

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27 Responses to “Apple activates screen sharing over iMessage accounts in latest Yosemite beta”

  1. Now when are they going to add multiple users?

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    • Tim Jr. says:

      Eh? Mac has supported multiple user accounts for a decade.. I think your confused.

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      • Paul Horne says:

        I think Chris is referring to group chats, which is sorely needed in messages. Although Skype video quality is so much better than facetime I don’t think they’ll ever catch up. And since Skype has group chats, even though it’s confusing to set up and poorly implemented, Skype is way ahead of Apple, I am very depressed to admit.

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      • Very curious about your Skype quality being “much better” than FaceTime. I’ve never seen Skype come close to the video/audio quality of FaceTime. You going Mac-to-Mac or what?

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      • Fred Cintra says:

        iChat (and Messages) had group chat long before Skype, since 2002

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    • anilutkulu says:

      It must not be so hard to add that multiple user function.I wonder what kind of concern they have

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    • Robin Bull says:

      How heavy of an install will Yosemite be? That’s one reason why I don’t use Skype for screen sharing with my clients. It can bog everything down. My clients complained so I did some research and switched. I would also wonder just -exactly- how secure it is. I know that you can block someone, but will they be blocked only for that session or blocked from any session you initiate? What about languages? I have clients all over the world so those are the things I think about. I use Mikogo because I can switch language and it has great security (and it’s not a heavy install).

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    • Paul Horne says:

      Fred – we’re talking about group video chats.

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  2. xbepax4224 says:

    Why doesn’t 9to5mac have an app yet?!?! This is my fav website

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  3. tomtubbs says:

    Does it change the Sharing settings in Control Panel whilst you’re using this? Looks like a useful feature for helping friends/family…

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  4. PMZanetti says:

    Clearly this is Mac to Mac just like it was under iChat. Would be great if u could show your screen to an iOS user.

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    • or vise versa. The times I have to trouble shoot a iphone or iPad would be so much easier. I figure that would be easier since there is the iOS simulator already.

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    • I wish the article actually touched on this. I read the entire thing looking for any mention of iOS or the iPad. Might help to mention it’s OS X to OS X only. Especially now that Apple is putting so much emphasis on consistency across multiple devices.

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    • gnumero says:

      Hang on: you CAN see and even take over a Mac screen from iOS: use the TeamViewer app. i’ve use this to do Remote diagnosis on my dads iMac from my iPad.

      It’s pretty good for what it is. I found this app when I could no longer use iChat to do reliable Mac to Mac screen sharing.

      I hasten to add that TeamViewer does have limitations, mainly around using iOS’s touch ui to manipulate aspects of the Mac interface. It’s a bit tricky to work with. But it definitely saved me a couple of times, when I was able to solve a problem remotely without having to go on site.

      Check it out. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Apple provides this support natively; we already know that it’s technically possible.

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  5. It would be cool if you could share cross-platform to/from iOS devices

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  6. It would be awesome if screen sharing was enabled across iOS and MacOS.

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  7. FINALLY! I’ve been clawing my eyes out trying to get this to work for the last year and a half.

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  8. Hiram Walker says:

    Doesn’t seem very intuitive to share screens. I liked iChat better. Just drag your pic or doc or movie onto the chat to show it.

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  9. So will the features be in iOS 8 too?!

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  10. Craig Jacobs says:

    So, can this be set up so that I can access my Mac remotely when I need to like I can on Mavericks using the screen sharing app? Because they removed the screen sharing app from the core services folder in Yosimite.

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  11. Hi, I just downloaded OS X Yosemite Beta 2. I don’t know if the iMessage supposed to work yet or do i still have to for iOS 8 so it can work? because it doesn’t connect to my Apple ID account!

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  12. Paul Horne says:

    Just tried screen sharing on Yosemite and as usual it was a total shit show. Connecting, failed connection, the other end is confused, no messaging, confirm that screen sharing is enabled, still doesn’t work, there’s a large connection window in the middle and a smaller redundant connection window in the toolbar for no reason…. and bottom line, it didn’t work — just says connecting with no end result. I don’t know why screen sharing was always so easy on AOL’s foundation but Apple has no idea how to do it.

    Trying to do tech support for family members and friends for YEARS and it’s always such a buggy problem. So disappointed in Apple — although I’ve found Messages in general to be a disaster compared to iChat. It’s totally random hit or miss whether messages show up in my iPhone, iPad, and iMac. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. How is that acceptable?

    Also miss photo sharing via iChat videoconferencing — that was cool and intuitive.

    Like