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I use an iMac (2017, 27 inches) and a MacBook Pro (2013,13 inches) for software development and UI design. My work is remote 90% of the time and I use GitHub and other cloud services for sync.

Problem: The problem I'm facing is that my iMac and MacBook both need to have the same software suites like Xcode, Adobe Suite, etc. to run the projects themselves. I have to keep multiple licenses of same software, not to mention my MacBook has only 128 GB and only 4 GB RAM, it takes a hell load of time to compile the same application too.

What I have tried:

  • Screen Mirroring: Numerous screen sharing services (Native screen/file/remote sharing, Screens Viewer, Team Viewer, many others!) but the lag is HUGE and the aspect ratio is completely messed up to the point that I cannot see text.
  • Server OS: Bought MacOS server with a hope to have complete "native" file system and application (Xcode, Photoshop) access from my MacBook but it doesn't let me access the whole file system and 0 application access even as an admin with login privileges granted.

Can anyone direct me to a solution that I can use?

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Hardware

You have two vastly different hardware platforms. One (iMac) has twice the standard memory of the other (MacBook Pro) - 8GB versus 4GB and two generations and (approx) 30% difference in clock speed. You're also developing UI on a 27 inch screen then switching to a 13" screen

There's no getting around this discrepancy in horsepower.

Software Licensing

This shouldn't be an issue on two computers.

  • XCode is free and you can install it on multiple computers that is associated with your developer ID

  • Adobe CC products can be installed and activated on two computers simultaneously, but you can only use one at a time.

Remote Work

If your work is 90% remote as in you live out of a suitcase, your best bet it is get the most powerful MacBook Pro you can afford and utilize external monitors (hotel TVs perhaps?).

If it's remote as in you work out of your house, your current setup is fine - you just need to move your data to the cloud (iCloud, OneDrive, etc.) and sync the data and install the apps on each Mac.

  • Its the second use case in remote work, I'm now using iCloud for project and document syncing, and I guess I'll live with slow app compilations till I get a new MBP... thanks! – Jeet Oct 19 '17 at 19:12
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Screen-sharing still remains the most possible, economical and widely-used solution to cases like yours. I used TeamViewer/Chrome Remote Desktop throughout the years and it's acceptable. If you want to spend money, don't go for the server route to achieve this. Instead, maybe sell your iMac and upgrade to a better MacBook. It's the best solution.

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