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I am able to share my screen on my macbook pro from my iMac, however, I can only access the screen at the same size as it is on the laptop.

Is there a way (like RDP on Windows) to be able to remotely connect to the machine, but not be limited by the laptop resolution ?

  • Maybe cscreen? I haven't tried it in years. – bmike Mar 22 '17 at 11:36
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In short, you can't.

There is a fundamental difference between VNC and RDP. VNC is a remote frame buffer whereas RDP is more semantic in nature and fully aware of the underlying desktop.1

RDP actaully creates a desktop on the client machine and interprets handles fonts, pixels and resolution. VNC just gets the pixel data. This is also why VNC is horrible over anything but LAN connections whereas RDP is very efficient over even 56K dial up. Repainting a bunch of pixels to move a window is vastly more inefficient that sending a command that says "draw window of size (HxW) at coordinates (X,Y)"

The VNC protocol is pixel based. Although this leads to great flexibility (i.e. any type of desktop can be displayed), it is often less efficient than solutions that have a better understanding of the underlying graphic layout like X11 or desktop such as RDP. Those protocols send graphic primitives or high level commands in a simpler form (e.g. open window), whereas RFB just sends the raw pixel data, albeit compressed.

So, while your iMac is capable of much higher resolutions, the RFB protocol will only send pixels that are being displayed and your MBP or VNC can't create pixels where none exist.


1 RFB protocol. - RFB (“remote framebuffer”) is an open simple protocol for remote access to graphical user interfaces. Because it works at the framebuffer level it is applicable to all windowing systems and applications, including Microsoft Windows, macOS and the X Window System. RFB is the protocol used in Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and its derivatives.

  • That's unfortunate, but thanks for the detail. – Anonymouslemming Mar 22 '17 at 14:59

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