I would like to give some restricted access to my OSX 10.8.2 to somebody who's using Windows on their computer. TeamViewer, VNC, LogMeIn, etc. all work fine, as long as I do not want to use my mac at the same time.

Is it possible to give remote users the option to login and see the GUI and run limited apps without disturbing the user logged-in on the console?


Yes, it is possible to give a user restricted access to your Mac. That's what parental controls are for (http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11471):

You may not want all users to have unrestricted access to a computer, the apps on it, or content from the Internet. For example, you may want to prevent some users from changing their user settings or limit the apps they can use. To manage what a user can do on a computer, you use parental controls.

To configure it, as explained in the link above, create a new user for your colleague and turn on parental controls:

  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Users & Groups, click the lock if it’s not unlocked, and enter an administrator name and password. Click Add (+) below the list of users, choose “Managed with Parental Controls”:

    enter image description here

    from the New Account pop-up menu, enter name and password information, and then click Create User. Click Open Parental Controls to set up the controls:

    enter image description here

    To restrict the apps the new user can open, click the App tab and limit the applications the new user can open. You also could select simple Finder to further restrict the new user's environment:

    enter image description here

Now configure your Mac so that two people can use it at the same time:

  1. Enable Screen Sharing in System Preferences>Sharing:

    enter image description here

  2. One of you must log in remotely using VNC. Install it on another computer and connect to your Mac. You will get best results if both computers are on the same network and if the apps you run don't need much graphic power.

  • 1
    Thanks! but restricting the access is only the half way there. How can I have 2 users logged in at the same time on my single mac working independently...
    – Alex D
    Feb 19 '13 at 9:16
  • You can do that, but one of the users must log in remotely from another computer using VNC (download from here: realvnc.com/download/open ). For that, you must enable Screen Sharing in System Preferences>Sharing. I'll add this info to my answer.
    – jaume
    Feb 19 '13 at 9:24

Google Remote Desktop allows this. I accidentally discovered this last night while testing alternatives to LogMeIn.

You'll need to install it via Chrome and sign in to your Google account while logged into OS X under the account that will be doing the remoting.


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