I am trying to get my head around the difference between the Apple products above.

To me, Apple VNC (or rather generic VNC clients) perform the same basic function as Remote Desktop implementations (Apple, Microsoft, Citrix, etc), and various Screen Sharing apps.

Also, it seems that Apple Remote Desktop can push scripts down to clients, and change some settings, much the same way as Apple Remote Management, and Remote Events seem to infer they do, by name.

Moreover, Remote Login is something (unless you wanted a shell) that you would do as part of a Remote Desktop / Screen sharing / VNC operation, no?

  • Have you read about the various features of Apple Remote Desktop on the Apple web site? apple.com/remotedesktop
    – user9290
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 2:44
  • Yes, Wheat Williams, I have done a fair amount of research into Apple Remote Desktop. What I cannot find it a good article on the differences between the all the technologies listed.
    – user66001
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 3:22

2 Answers 2


You are correct, VNC is a simpler version of Remote Desktop (note: Remote Desktop uses the VNC protocol in addition to adding a lot more features)

Remote Desktop offers more management features; ability to black out host computers screen, push updates, file transfers etc (think TeamViewer but by Apple). http://www.apple.com/remotedesktop/

VNC doesnt have any of these options, its just a simple way to access a remote screen.

Remote Login allows you to SSH to a remote computer (command line - you dont see the remote desktop)

eg You may want to run a command on a remote computer, you could connect using VNC and open terminal or instead you could remote login via SSH and run the command without actually interacting with the screen of the remote computer

Updated to include @Wheat Williams notes below

  • Your statement "VNC is a simpler version of Remote Desktop" might need a bit of clarification. VNC itself is a published protocol based on open-source code, and there are many products made by many companies that provide VNC implementations on many platforms for different purposes. Apple Remote Desktop is a proprietary commercial program made by Apple that uses the VNC protocol, but adds many Mac-specific and proprietary features designed specifically for Mac network administrators to manage multiple Macs.
    – user9290
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 2:35
  • Wheat Williams, the point of that sentence (incorrectly quoted) was to point out that I believed they are similar in nature, hence why have two products which are subsets of each other. Further, this is not about the standards, closed / open source, price, this is about the functional differences.
    – user66001
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 3:26
  • @OrangeBox - Thanks. If I may - A) Is there any difference between Apple VNC, and Apple Screen Sharing? B) Care to propose any idea as to why both Apple VNC and Apple Remote Desktop are available concurrently? C) Is Apple screen sharing, part of Apple VNC, or are they yet another "double up" in functionality? D) What is Apple Remote Events, and lastly (sorry) E) How does Apple Remote Management fit into the picture. Thanks again for your time!
    – user66001
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 3:30
  • a) Enabling screen sharing allows VNC connections. You can use the built in VNC client in OSX to establish a connection. b) Screen Sharing is free to use but lacks any features. Remote Desktop is paid software because it has more features. c) Apple Screen Sharing IS Apple VNC. d) Simply allows Apple Events to be forwarded to another computer e) Apple Remote Management is used for Apple Remote Desktop - ARD does more than just screen share so you need to enable it specifically @wheatWilliams feel free to correct me if I'm wrong :)
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 7:52
  • Thanks @Orangebox. So what "relationship" does Apple Remote Management and Apple Remote Desktop have exactly. Is one the host service and the other the client, or is Apple Remote Management the console for Apple Remote Desktop and Apple Screen Sharing / Apple VNC? Also, forgot to ask what Apple Remote Login, and Remote Desktop Dashboard Client are? Thanks once again for your help.
    – user66001
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 14:31

Apple remote desktop, remote management etc. are remote support tools provided by Apple Inc. in order to remotely access any Mac or Windows Computers. In addition to it, computers can also be accessed remotely by deploying on premise remote support appliance such as Bomgar or RHUB appliances or using remote support tools such as logmeinrescue, gosupportnow, GoToMyPC etc.

  • Thanks for the answer Aliasgar, but I know about the non-Apple options. I only need to get my head around the purpose and functionality of the stated Apple software.
    – user66001
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 18:12

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