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I've installed a Mac into my parents' house. They're not tech people and I'll need to take care of all the system update/ software update, and possibly some remote assistance to them (screen sharing). I live in another country so this needs to be carried on over the internet.

I'm wondering what's the best option I have considering the following requirements:

  • I'm on Mac as well, so it doesn't need to be cross platform
  • Both me and them have dynamic IPs, I need to be able to connect to them without knowing their IP address
  • Ideally they'll use a non admin account with limited rights, but I'd like to remote login as administrator to perform administrative tasks.
  • It might be a paid service but it shouldn't be too expensive (10 euro/month)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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  • Oh, I feel you :) Can you elaborate a bit more about your/your parents setup? Can you VPN into their home router/network? What macOS version do you/they use?
    – Gummibando
    Jul 10 '20 at 11:44
  • Are your parents able to install software onto their Mac?
    – Gummibando
    Jul 10 '20 at 11:55
  • Did you try any of the suggestions in the answer? Did anything work?
    – Gummibando
    Jul 12 '20 at 11:19
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If you and your parents both have an Apple ID, you can use screen sharing via iMessage (Messages app).

Open a conversation w/ your parents, click on the "Details" link in the top-right corner of the Messages app window, then on the two screens icon, then on "Ask to Share Screen". Your parents have to confirm the request dialog with the option allowing to control their computer selected. This will open the Screen Sharing app and will allow you to control the remote Mac. You can even copy files to their machine via drag-and-drop from your local machine into the remote screen window.

Administrative tasks in the Finder can be performed in non-admin accounts by just entering admin credentials into the respective prompts (for instance, login/password dialog after clicking a lock icon in Preferences.app or when installing an app via Installer.app). Just add an admin account for you and a non-admin account for your parents.
Administrative tasks in the command line can be performed via sudo.

Additionally, for remote administration/access, you can try

• TeamViewer (free for private use) https://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/mac-os/

or

• Screens (ca. 35 € one-time license) https://edovia.com/en/screens-mac/

Both have methods/software components to work with dynamic IPs/behind a NAT.

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  • Thanks Gummibando, I'm preparing my parents imac in these days at my home, so I have the freedom to install anything I want before sending the imac to them. I think imessage is a good option for file sharing. I'll give it a go but I'll install team viewer, just in case I'll need it. I was also wondering how would a major os update be possible. If a restart is needed the connection would drop
    – gabric
    Jul 12 '20 at 11:55
  • @gabric If the security implications are not a concern, you could configure the Mac to auto-boot into your parents account. Otherwise, only a please-login-to-the-Mac phone call will help :)
    – Gummibando
    Jul 12 '20 at 20:47
  • thanks for all the good suggestions!
    – gabric
    Jul 12 '20 at 20:50

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