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Is it possible to share the screen OR remotely ssh login to a Mac that has no user logged in, i.e. it's sitting on the login screen after power-on/restart? The Mac in question uses macOS 10.15.6(ish).

Background story

I'm having a problem with getting the monitor to wake up properly, connected to a Mac Mini 2018 - purchased two months ago.

( The monitor problem is the original, but separate, long story problem on its own so I'll leave it out for now, if you're interested check out lots of threads over the net about it, especially https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8623270 - the original problem itself warrants its own thread(s))

So from a powered-up state, if I power on the Mac mini, as the monitor won't turn on properly, but I suspect that it actually might be on (because the power LED is on), it maybe ends up on the macOS login screen. The Mac mini itself has screen sharing and remote login turned on, so I was wondering if it should be possible to remote login to this computer from another Mac etc. Current attempts however; I haven't been able to spot the computer on the network. It doesn't show up in Network in Finder. I've tried pinging "mac-mini.local" etc, to no avail. The network name of the Mac mini should be just that, the default "Mac Mini". My idea is, if I can login to the monitor-less Mac Mini, I can make sure it's even "alive".

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My mac mini is shutdown at 01.00 and restarts at 06.00 every day.

It starts without a monitor and the tv it is connected to is off.

I can them remote login using the remote server menu & browse which shows all the macs I have that are connected to the network and even thiugh it has not been logged into directly yet, I can login to it from any of the other machines.

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  • Sounds like you have some bigger setup. I just have one Mac mini, most of the time. Curious however why you can remotely access your computer without logging into it locally first. – Jonny Aug 19 at 13:54
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After some research, here is what I found. There seems to be two separate cases.

Well the question is: Is it possible to share the screen OR remotely ssh login to a Mac that has no user logged in, i.e. it's sitting on the login screen after power-on/restart?

Answer 1: No. After a cold boot or restart, the computer does NOT appear in Network in Finder.

Answer 2: Yes. If we ignore the cold boot or restart, and login to said computer at least once, and then log out of all accounts such that we end up on the login screen.

So answer 1 seems to be the correct answer to the question I have (I have no way to login to the computer on the computer itself because the screen is black).

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  • ssh should work at all times. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Aug 19 at 5:25
  • Workaround: set the mini to auto-login to one user. [If you're paranoid make that a supervised account, though personally I don't bother & just sign it into my admin.] – Tetsujin Aug 19 at 6:44
  • I originally thought so too, that at least ssh would work at all times, but I guess macOS changed at some time during recent years. You used to be able to login to another Mac at office from home over iCloud and that wild stuff. I guess the auto login thing might be a interesting idea actually, I might try that out. This is my home box after all. – Jonny Aug 19 at 13:37
  • It turned out I can't use automatic login because FileVault is enabled. – Jonny Aug 19 at 13:52
  • I've never seen the point in FileVault for a puter that never leaves the building. Didn't realise it would interfere. btw, Apple gave up on 'back to my Mac' unfortunately. – Tetsujin Aug 19 at 14:31

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