I administer a number of Windows machines, and am trying to find a really good application to remote desktop in to them from my Mac. I've tried CoRD, and I really like its library approach to saved sessions (as opposed to Microsoft's file based approach), and tabbed sessions are great when working on a bunch of machines. Unfortunately, it's just too buggy for serious use, and given that it averages less than 2 releases a year, I have little hope that that will change. Microsoft's official client is very bare bones and doesn't support connecting on non-standard ports (which I need).

Is there a remote desktop client for Mac out there that's both fully featured and not buggy?

Edit: Apparently the Microsoft doc I read that states that the Microsoft RDC client can't be used on non-standard ports is out of date.

  • 2
    I'd given up on CoRD myself, and gone with the standard MS RDC client. And, as you've since discovered, it works fine with non-standard ports (I don't think I have a 'standard' port anywhere in the entire estate!).
    – robsoft
    Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 8:02
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    I seem to be able to use non-standard ports without any problem, and I'm using version 2.0.0 of Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. Just enter machinename.domain:port in the connection field of RDC.
    – gub
    Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 16:47
  • 1
    Microsoft's client works OK for displaying stuff, but I'm getting the mouse buttons reversed — when I do a left-click, it's like a right-click when it gets to the Windows 7 box. Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 21:19
  • @David See stanford.edu/group/macosxsig/blog/2010/12/…. Worked a charm for me, once I found the property! (swapMouseButtons… something)
    – Amelia
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 1:58
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    Since this question was originally asked and answered about 2.5 years ago, CoRD is reported to have fixed the performance problems. In the meantime, Microsoft has announced that they do not support Lion and above. So it sounds like now CoRD is the clear choice.
    – Yitz
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 8:00

16 Answers 16


Use RDC (Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2)
This free download runs natively on both Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs

Use One Mac, unlimited Windows.

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  • 5
    ya i do it all the time just by adding ":<portnumber>" onto the end Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 18:10
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    I'm very happy with RDC as well. It isn't completely stable on OS X 10.7 - I have had several crashes and broken connections already, even on the local network - but most of the time, it's working well, and it's free.
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 21:02
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    Official from Microsoft website: "Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac (version 2.1.1) is not intended for use with Mac OS X v10.7 (Lion) or later". That's a shame!!! And we almost have 10.8.1 released :p
    – sorin
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 9:57
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  • 1
    This product has been replaced by "Microsoft Remote Desktop 10". You can find it for free in the App Store. The old "Remote Desktop Connection" won't connect to some newer versions of Windows.
    – wisbucky
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 23:53

New Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 supposed to be best RDP client for Mac. Works super smooth btw.

  • why would a company offer two different RDP clients?? At least the other is quite buggy (in version 2.1.1).
    – n1000
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 19:09
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    Yes, RDC (Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2) is discontinued.
    – jpkeisala
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 10:06
  • And now Microsoft Remote Desktop 8 is superseded by Microsoft Remote Desktop 10. You can currently find both versions in the App Store.
    – wisbucky
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 23:54

Check out Royal TSX if you're after a full featured connections manager that can do RDP as well as other protocols like, VNC, SSH, Telnet, etc.


Disclaimer: I'm the developer of the mentioned product.

  • Please have a look at the faq, especially the part about self-promotion.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 15:00
  • The old Microsoft client is really, truly awful. The new Microsoft client is great. RoyalTSX is better. I really like having folders for my connections and resizable windows. Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 20:18
  • OS X 10.8.5 connecting to Windows Server 2012 R2 on Azure. Microsoft's client 2.1.1 fails, searching for 2.1.2 only finds warez sites, newer client requires OS X update and CoRD fails with "Connection reset by peer". Royal TSX 2.2.4 works!
    – jjrv
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 17:55
  • Either way, this belongs to an alternative answer. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 3:29
  • Edit: just tested, doesn't work with macSierra. It crashes. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 3:50

I use a program called CoRD.

It's worked well for me without fussing with any configuration files or properties.

It's been a while since I tried any alternatives, so I'll give RDC another try. I don't remember why I rejected it before.

  • 1
    +1 for CoRD, I prefer this one to RDC since it's simplify interface and easier to manage connections :) Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 21:21
  • by far cord is the best.
    – grepit
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 4:28
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    It is defunct now.
    – Raymond
    Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 18:31

In my experienced opinion, CoRD and Jump Desktop are the best RDP clients for Mac. CoRD is more for those that know what they're doing - it's simple, stable, fast and reliable. Jump Desktop however is for those that are new to Remote Desktop Connections and want something that makes things easy. It's easily the slickest RDP client for Mac too and looks great. There's a useful extensive review of the best RDP clients for Mac here: http://machow2.com/rdp-for-mac/

  • 1
    I agree with you whole heartedly about Jump Desktop, but I cannot agree with you on CORD. I often see visual distortion and poor performance in CoRD. I just purchased JumpDesktop, which now has RD Gateway support. I'm so glad I did.
    – codewise
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 21:17

Reading this answer I learned about Royal TSX and after a few hours I'm happy with it.

In addition to RDP it has a terminal plugin for SSH/Telnet connections with X forwarding. Mac OS terminal can do the same, but connection documents are handy.

The terminal plugin also allows COM port use. I have not tested this but I hope that works OK because I have not found a good terminal program for plain COM port. I still use minicom.

Licensing terms are generous enough that in my case I can use it for free but I may consider purchasing to encourage the maintenance.

  • 1
    I wholeheartedly agree. Royal TSX solved the problems I had with CoRD and MRDP.
    – Jamgold
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 18:27
  • I cannot get RDP with Gateway to connect... :( Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:22
  • I wanted to try the trial version. After I installed it, the first frustration was that I still needed to do extra steps online even to test the application. When I went to see what this implied, I removed it immediately. In order to even try it out you have to go through a loooooong process of giving a ton of your data. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 10:15

The best RDP client for OSX (whether free or not) is Thinomenon RDC. It supports audio, printing, scanning, and most importantly, RemoteApp/RAIL.

  • I disagree... Thinomenon didn't provide access to local drives. Nor does it solve any issues I had with MS RDP such as keymappings not working in all cases... Command + C can't be used as a replacement for CTRL+Z in all applications.
    – blak3r
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 4:15
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    For me, drive mapping and device redirection are working flawlessly. Did you try contacting Thinomenon support? The product is backed by a commercial entity. I would go for tech assistance. For instance, there is a support forum at thinomenon.com/forum
    – jeremy
    Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 10:40
  • Welcome to Ask Different! Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. Please take a look at the FAQs for more info.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 12:13
  • Thinomenon has not been updated to be a 64bit app, so does not work on Catalina or later.
    – dvorak
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:41

If you are willing to spend some money, there is LogMeIn, which I have used for my home Macs with great success. On the free side, we used to use "Chicken of the VNC" but decided to go with Microsoft's official client for reasons unknown to me. Six of one half dozen of the other, if you ask me. Frankly, the VNC market is pretty banal.

  • There is a free version of Logmein.
    – Harv
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 20:07
  • OS X use VNC, Windows use RDP Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 17:37

You may want to try iTAP.

It seems it does support NLA per the specs. (I only tested TSG, which works fine).

If you come from CoRD, you will find the overall frame quite basic, but the emulation itself seems to work pretty well (I normally work in full screen mode and switch windows with the top menu).


Chrome Remote Desktop is cross-platform. "Provide remote assistance to Windows, Mac and Linux users, or access your Windows (XP and above) and Mac (OS X 10.6 and above) desktops at any time, all from the Chrome browser on virtually any device, including Chromebooks."

Used LogMeIn til they yanked free utility, Chrome RD works almost as well, but I can't reboot a computer without losing connection completely. It must then be reconnected locally - AHRRRG.

So, still looking for cross-plat solution, too.


Since updating my iMac to El Capitan 10.11.4, CORD Version 0.5.7 (5701) is no longer crashing.

I've been using it since Tiger. It began crashing intermittently with OSX Yosemite, then would always crash on quitting with El Capitan before 10.11.4, and often crash on changing screen resolution. After 2 days of use, I have no longer seen a crash with OSX 10.11.4.


try Teamviewer I am not sure about the multiple tabs for easy switch never had a chance to test it. Also you can set it for lan incoming connection so you can connect via a lan rather than internet. You can create a free account and add all machines to it, So you can even see which system is on and connect with one click


Microsoft now has a beta for yet another new RDP client: Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac v8.2.20

It still has a variety of problems, but it at least looks more like a MacOSX application.


The best RDP client for Mac is Thinomenon.

I can even run .rdp files from remote apps and work only the application does not show the entire desktop

  • You said, "only the application does not show the entire desktop", then it certainly is not the best as you claim! Also, this client has already been mentioned in another answer in this thread, so there is no need to duplicate what's already offered! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 1:21

I’m looking for an RDP client to work with Windows on VirtualBox running on my Linux server. The idea is that when I upgrade my Mac with the newer processor, the Linux server can handle the old Intel stuff.

I tried Microsoft’s RDP client, but window sizing is a real pain, and I really hate the way a window floats around inside the larger RDP window.

So far, Jump Desktop is working well, and window resizing is good. It also does for my VNC client. I’ve had a few issues with sessions crashing when adjusting the Windows screen resolution, and have submitted a support request.


I use Real VNC. It works really well for me.

  • 1
    They asked about Microsoft RDP, not VNc.
    – kinokijuf
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 8:49

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