I have a PC with a big monitor and a 13" MacBook sitting on my desk. I have to do some development in PC environment and also some iOS development on MacBook.

Is there a way I could use my PC's monitor, mouse and keyboard with both PC and MacBook?

Basically, I want to be able to switch between PC's and MacBooks's desktops at will. Something like two virtual desktops: one showing what's going on on PC and the seconds one showing what's MacBook doing. All mouse movements and keystrokes should go to currently active desktop.

I do not want to purchase any additional hardware if possible.

Is it possible? If so, how?

  • try Synergy
    – Jason
    Oct 28, 2012 at 13:58
  • @Jason I need everything on one monitor (so I can tuck MacBook somewhere but still be able to use it for iOS development). It looks like Synergy is unable to help me with this.
    – Bobrovsky
    Oct 28, 2012 at 14:00
  • 2
    sorry, did not read your question clearly. I think your best option is to get an inexpensive KVM ($30) or just use a VNC client to connect to the Mac
    – Jason
    Oct 28, 2012 at 14:26
  • A real KVM is by far the best solution. I'd heartily upvote that if you posted it as an answer, @Jason.
    – gabedwrds
    Oct 28, 2012 at 20:02

3 Answers 3


You can install a free, open-source VNC client and server on your PC. You can then use the PC to connect to the Mac through Apple's built-in screen sharing capabilities, which can use the VNC protocol, or you can find a free VNC client for Mac OS X.

VNC stands for "virtual network computing"; it is a well-established protocol for letting one computer view the screen on remote computers and use the keyboard and mouse to control them, all over a network connection.

For your PC, check out RealVNC.

I haven't used this to connect between a PC and Mac in several years, but you can configure things on your Mac to permit VNC on your PC to connect to your Mac. You may have to make adjustments on your Mac to your firewall and open ports. Other people here can probably provide more details on configuration.


As others have contributed, you could go the virtual route with a VNC or the like. You mentioned you don't want to buy any hardware, so that's probably the way to go.

If you find it costs too much performance (and makes your keyboard a bit unresponsive, which can be a pain while coding), I do recommend to shell out a few bucks and get a KVM switch - it lets you switch your keyboard/monitor/mouse between the Mac and PC with the flick of a button.


This is not the best solution for sure but a workaround.

Connect the monitor, keyboard and mouse to your MacBook and start the monitor mirroring in order to see you MacBook Desktop on the secondary monitor.

Start the App Remote Desktop Connectiom which allows you to remote control a PC from the Mac. The PC should have enabled the remote control. You configure that from Computer properties.

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