The very best VNC client for Mac OS X is right under your nose!

Posted by David The Expert on: Monday, April 16, 2012
Topic: Mac OS X     Read 742,524 Times

It's called Screen Sharing and it's been packaged with OS X since 10.4. It's FREE and you already have it installed!

I've spent a lot of time searching for a decent VNC client to use on my Mac. Several people and Google searches have suggested an app called Chicken of the VNC. It's been around for a very long time, and is pretty popular. But if you ask me, it's a complete waste of memory. It's buggy, it crashes frequently, and it just isn't very pleasant to use. Another frequently suggested alternative is called JollysFastVNC. This option is not free, however they do offer a 30 day free trial. I tried this program and found it to be just as buggy as Chicken of the VNC. It didn't crash as much, but it was still fairly annoying to use. After the free trial ran out, I decided to uninstall it and never speak of it again.
Valve logo

Screen Sharing is already installed in OS X

I had just about given up my search for a nice, free VNC client for OS X when I discovered something amazing! OS X actually has a VNC client built in! It's been installed in every version of OS X since 10.4 (at the time of writing, the current release is 10.7). I have no clue how I managed to pass right over it for so many years. So many misleading Google searches while the best solution was right under my nose the entire time. It's called Screen Sharing and it's located in your CoreServices folder, a difficult to find folder which is part of OS X.

Like all of Apple's software, Screen Sharing is incredibly simple, easy to use, and it works extremely well. Ever since I started using it, it hasn't crashed a single time, whereas Chicken of the VNC crashed almost every time I opened it, and JolllysFastVNC crashed a couple times a day. Screen Sharing has exactly the features you need in a VNC client. It runs quickly and smoothly, it remembers your recent servers, and it can remember your passwords. What else can you ask for from a VNC client? You can even resize the viewing windows smoothly by dragging the corners, a task that is impossible with the other alternatives.

How to find and open Screen Sharing on your Mac

You can access Screen Sharing several ways, and I will tell you a couple of the simplest methods. Just don't forget to create a shortcut in your Dock (or wherever) once you find it!

The easiest method is to use Safari. Just open up Safari and in the URL bar (where you would normally type a URL like type vnc:// instead of http://, followed by your VNC server's IP address. For example, it should look something like this: vnc://
Screen Sharing will then show up in your Dock and you can drag it into the middle of your Dock to create a shortcut.
Safari VNC Screen Sharing

Another method is to simply find your CoreServices folder where the app is located. It is located here: /System/Library/CoreServices/Screen
My favorite method of accessing hard to reach folders is to go through Terminal (Applications Folder -> Utilities -> Just open up Terminal and type: open /System/Library/CoreServices
[note: as of OS X 10.10 Yosemite the containing folder is now located in /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications - Thanks to Disqus user Steegg for pointing this out!]
That will open a Finder window where you will see Screen Sharing and you can open it or create an alias as you please.

Accessing your Recent Servers through Screen Sharing

Now that you have a shortcut to Screen Sharing, it's a snap to get back to your last opened server! Every time you open Screen Sharing it will prompt you to enter your Server's IP address. If you have already connected once, you can ignore this and instead click on the Connection menu in your menu bar, and select "Open Recent" from the drop down. Don't forget to explore all these menu items because Screen Sharing has a lot of very handy features.

David The Expert

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