We have a remote Mac Mini acting as a build server that we use Screen Sharing to connect to and remotely manage.

Well I recently upgraded this box to El Capitan and now Screen Sharing won't connect to it at all.

I've upgraded the OS remotely before and never ran into a problem. Is there any way to connect to this box and get screen sharing working or am I S.O.L.? I can ping it, but I can't seem to do anything else (file sharing, ssh, screen sharing).

Update: I did a port scan on the server and it can't find any open ports. I guess that pretty much settles it then. I still don't understand how upgrading and rebooting the box could have so completely bricked it. I mean did Apple really not remote upgrading a possibility?

I'm half picturing some "Welcome to El Capitan, just a few screens to click through before you get your computer back" dialog to be sitting on the screen right now. 😒

Update 2: So we got this resolved, but it looks as though something may have gone wrong during the upgrade process as our IT guy says it wasn't responsive when he plugged a monitor into it. He had to reboot the machine before it would respond. Anyway just wanted to give a heads up to others.

  • Do you have ssh enabled ? Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 6:45
  • It should be enabled, but is refusing a connection on port 22 when I try.
    – devios1
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 18:18
  • Ok looks like the firewall is enabled and blocking all incoming connections :( unless you get Team Viewer, LogMeIn, or another tool, you'll have to be on-site and reconfigure the services/firewall Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 1:13

2 Answers 2


The three ways to connect are Apple Remote Desktop, ssh and remote Apple Events. If you have one of those enabled, you can kickstart screen sharing with a command line tool:

   sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -configure -access -on -restart -agent -privs -all

See these for more details:

If not, you will have to have the machine shipped to a human or a human shipped to the machine to take local corrective action and diagnose the failure.

  • Unfortunately I can't even get to a command line at present. The only indication I have that the server is even there is a ping. It's refusing ssh connections, screen sharing, http, and file sharing. We're sending someone over there next week, but was just exploring my options.
    – devios1
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 18:23
  • 1
    This works better - "sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -configure -access -restart -agent -privs -all" - your line gave me a Extra arguments: 'restart' error Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 9:49
  • @DannySchoemann Want to edit my post to fix it :-) I think I missed the -, but am not certain. Thanks for the comment!
    – bmike
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 22:51

eAfter a local update to El Capitan, I could also not get the Screen Sharing (VNC://) to work. Not with ARD or the Screen Sharing Client. Rebooting and re-set the Sharing setup did not work. I got it back to work with this Shell commands (it will work local via Terminal or remot via SSH): (put in YOUR-SHORT-USERNAME eg: admin)

 sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -configure -allowAccessFor -specifiedUsers
 sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -configure -access -on -privs -all -users YOUR-SHORT-USERNAME
 sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -restart -agent
 sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate

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