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Why is the iMessage screen sharing option not available? What causes it to be greyed out?

(see screenshot, green arrow)

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4 Answers 4

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Make sure the person is signed into iCloud (check System Preferences>iCloud). This fixed it for me.

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    This is the correct answer. Aug 28, 2020 at 23:18
  • Actually, it's the "Find My Mac" option that needs to be enabled. Nov 13, 2020 at 15:46
  • For me the problem was that the other person wasn't signed in to iCloud in System Preferences => iCloud and that another email address was used in the Messages app. Once I made sure that the user's contact on the other computer had both email addresses in the contact card (one was an @icloud.com and the other @mac.com) everything worked fine.
    – gabrielf
    Sep 11, 2021 at 12:55
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Assuming that your contact is an iMessage user, a grayed screen sharing button indicates that he can't receive screen sharing at this time.

He may have disabled screen shaping in the Mac settings for instance, or he may be using his iPhone so he cannot perform screen sharing.

Ask your friend if he is using his Mac and ask him to enable Screen Sharing in System Preferences → Sharing.

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  • Yes, screen sharing is turned on. Jun 25, 2018 at 9:26
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    As far as I understand System Preferences => Sharing => Screen Sharing is for screen sharing over local network connections only. Not sharing via iMessage/Messages app. I've just successfully setup and used screen sharing via iMessage on two computers where everything is disabled in System Preferences => Sharing
    – gabrielf
    Sep 11, 2021 at 12:53
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If your friend has "Do Not Disturb" on, Screen sharing will be disabled. I found this out the hard way. To turn it on and off, you click on the slide-out menu button on the top right of the screen. (it will be greyed out if DO NOT DISTURB is turned on).

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I was troubleshooting a friends MacBook (Sierra) and could not get my El Capitan to work but my MacBook Air on High Sierra did.... suppose to work on anything over Yosemite.

Sharing On iCloud logged in and Messages sent and received via El Capitan but grey video on my side. His "Invite" from MacBook was live but failed with no error message

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