I have a few Macs running as servers, in a remote location.

Usually, I control them using Screen Sharing or Timbuktu.

Sometimes, e.g. when performing some system updates, the Mac does not start up fully, so that the Mac is not reachable over the network, yet.

Using a video digitizer, I can send the Mac's video output to another Mac in order to be able to see what the problem might be.

But I also need to be able to perform keyboard input on the stuck Mac. What are my options for this?

I've read about programs such as Type2Phone, which might be able to simulate a Bluetooth keyboard that the other Mac can then connect to. Not sure if that works. At least one of my Macs is a PPC Mac running OSX 10.5, so I am also looking for alternatives, such as a wired (USB) keyboard connection I can control from another Mac. Is there anything available like that?

Any other ideas? I guess there must be some solution for Macs installed in co-location centers that allow such kind of remote control, especially if the Mac somehow screwed up its network settings or is getting freshly installed.

  • Sometimes, you just reach the point where you have to go sit in front of it. You can't remote into the machine before it's booted up, so you can't get to single user or recovery etc on a remote.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 21, 2016 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


The usual way to solve this is using a KVM-over-IP switch (Keyboard-Video-Mouse). This is a general solution that works with almost any type of computer - PC, Mac, whatever.

KVM switches comes in many forms and price ranges from many brands such as for example Raritan, Avocent, Aten, etc. Most have for example 12 or 24 RJ45 connectors where you plugin a normal network cable. You connect an adapter to the far end of the cable. The adapter will provide for example USB and DVI, PS/2 and VGA or similar connectors that you plugin to the computer you want to remotely control.

Cheaper KVMs also exist that uses USB or proprietary cabling, provides fewer ports, etc.

You can then from your desktop PC at any location connect to the KVM switch over the network and control keyboard/mouse and see what's on the remote computer's display. Some KVM switches also allow you to create a virtual DVD-drive or floppy-drive over USB that allows you to remotely install operating systems, etc.

You mention co-location centers and they normally use KVM switches for this purpose. However, modern servers usually have built-in management controller using a seperate processor on the mainboard with its own network interface (or piggy-backing on an existing interface). This management controller usually gives you a web interface (or IPMI interface) for remotely controlling the server including video and mouse/keyboard. Usually they also let you power on/off the server and sometimes also providing virtual DVD or floppy drives.

Here's links to different KVM-over-IP products:

Cheaper range:

1-port Lantronix Spider KVM (299.99$ on newegg)

8-port Avocent DSR1021 (389$ on newegg)

1-port Raritan KX II-101 (373$)

32-port Raritan DKX3-232 (3.895$)

16-port Aten CS1716I (661$)

  • Ah, I knew about KVMs, but that was from many years ago when all they did was to route a real kbd and video cable through. I had no idea that never ones have a smart interface that lets me control them this way you describe. BTW, I already have a network-enabled power switch, letting me turn off/on my Macs remotely. Thanks for the shopping list, too! Dec 21, 2016 at 9:49
  • No problem! - It's not really a "new" thing - it just got cheaper over the years. You could buy these devices 20 years ago! - Please mark the question as answered if you have everything you need!
    – jksoegaard
    Dec 21, 2016 at 9:53

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