I forgot to turn on "VNC viewers may control screen with password", to enter on my working Mac, is there way to turn-on this feature remotely via SSH (I'm on WindowsXP now)?

2 Answers 2


Source: http://technotes.twosmallcoins.com/?p=279 (archived)

Putty is a good SSH client for Windows.

  1. SSH into your remote OS X machine with an administrator’s log in and password.

  2. Enable Remote Desktop (a.k.a. Screen Sharing, a.k.a. VNC) with this command:

    sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart \
    -activate -configure -access -on \
    -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes \
    -clientopts -setvncpw -vncpw mypasswd \
    -restart -agent -privs -all
  3. Login using a VNC client. As I mentioned, TightVNC worked for me; for some reason, RealVNC and UltraVNC didn’t. Your password is “mypasswd” (see the -vncpw flag in the above command; you can and should change this).

  4. When you are done, turn off screen-sharing using your SSH session:

    sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart \
    -deactivate -configure -access -off
  • 2
    Amazing! Works!
    – StNickolay
    Nov 4, 2011 at 22:43
  • 3
    3+ years later and works perfectly in Yosemite. Thanks!
    – Jordan
    Feb 22, 2015 at 2:19
  • 1
    Warning: this breaks with the "Remote Desktop Client Update v3.8.5" update. See here: discussions.apple.com/thread/7501620?start=15&tstart=0
    – shrx
    Mar 28, 2016 at 23:38
  • 1
    @Novellizator Both Mac and Linux have ssh available out of the box. No need for a separate package like you need on Windows. Jul 15, 2016 at 0:40
  • 6
    Warning: macos 10.14 and later only allows control if Screen Sharing is enabled through System Preferences.
    – grAPPfruit
    Feb 19, 2019 at 10:55

Here is a different way, that enables screen sharing access for all current users, instead of using a single VNC password:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart \
 -activate -configure -access -on \
 -configure -allowAccessFor -allUsers \
 -configure -restart -agent -privs -all

Disable it with this:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -deactivate -configure -access -off

This allows you to connect to the remote computer from a mac using the share screen button in Finder.

Reference: http://ss64.com/osx/kickstart.html

  • 2
    For posterity: if you do this, you can also connect via /System/Library/CoreServices/Screen Sharing.app.
    – Danica
    May 27, 2013 at 20:50
  • 1
    Note that you can (very) easily launch the Screen Sharing app using a Spotlight search Nov 7, 2016 at 22:05
  • doesn't work for me on macOS Sierra 10.12
    – SegFault
    Jul 19, 2017 at 14:20
  • 1
    worked for me on macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Aug 20, 2018 at 7:10
  • 15
    Got this response on macOS Mojave: "Warning: macos 10.14 and later only allows control if Screen Sharing is enabled through System Preferences."
    – toralux
    Aug 15, 2019 at 8:26

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