I have two macs on the same local network. What I want to do is to ssh into one mac from the other and open GUI windows. I do not want to share the whole screen, just windows I open from the terminal.

Between Linux computers it is possible to do ssh -X user@host, an equivalent to this on mac is exactly what I want.

Is this possible? If so, how?

  • 3
    To clarify, are the apps you want to run native Mac apps, or X11 apps? If the latter, you can do the same as you can on Linux (if you install XQuartz at both ends)... but I'm guessing you mean the former, for which there is no practical solution I'm aware of. The OS X window manager doesn't have this functionality. – calum_b Mar 13 '17 at 23:03
  • Okay, thank you for answering my question. I was talking about native Mac apps. – tjespe Mar 14 '17 at 11:26
  • Do you need to use terminal? For native apps, depending on your sharing preferences, you can find the computer on the network, connect to it, and then navigate to the application using finder. – NoahL Mar 14 '17 at 18:49

Well, if you start an Application that uses X11, just like that : ssh -X user@host

You can run most "Linux GUI" X11 applications on mac as described here using docker: How to run a Linux GUI application on OSX using Docker

Make sure to check out XPRA for Mac, too. You can forward X11 apps on mac or forward the whole mac desktop using xpra, to install do

brew install Caskroom/cask/xpra

to shadow the desktop

/Applications/Xpra.app/Contents/Xpra_NoDock.app/Contents/MacOS/Xpra  shadow --bind-tcp=


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .