Start or Request Screen Sharing from Messages in Mac OS X
Messages app is generally associated with conversations, but new to Mac OS X is a feature which allows Mac users to initiate screen sharing with another Mac user directly from an active iMessage window. This is great for remote collaboration, showing off something on your computer, a file transfer between remote Macs, or even for quick troubleshooting assistance, and it’s not only easy to start but it works really well too.
In order to initiate or request a screen sharing session from Messages app, both Macs must have Mac OS or OS X 10.10 or newer, and they must have iMessage configured through the Messages app. That’s not to say screen sharing is limited only to those Mac users on the newest versions of OS X though, it’s just this particular super-easy means of starting and requesting a remote screen sharing session that requires the latest versions. For users of any versions of Mac OS X, old or new, you can follow these directions to use screen sharing on the Mac, that works remotely and locally too.
How to Start Screen Sharing in Mac OS X Using Messages
This is by far the easiest way to initiate a screen sharing session on the Mac:
- Open the Messages app in Mac OS if you haven’t done so yet
- From any conversation window in messages, click on the “Details” button in the upper right corner
- Click on the two overlapping boxes to see the screen sharing options – if it’s dark blue, you can start a screen sharing session, if it’s light blue, the option will not be clickable because the user does not have a proper version of Messages setup on their Mac
- Choose “Invite to share my screen” to share your own Mac screen with the message recipient, or “Ask to share screen” to request access to the other users display through screen sharing
When the screen sharing session begins, their desktop will open in a new window over your current desktop, it will resize to fit if your screen or their resolution are different:
Additionally, a screen sharing icon will appear in the Mac menu bar indicating a session is open.
If you’re sharing your own desktop this way, no additional window will open, but the menu bar icon will demonstrate that screen sharing is active.
You can terminate the screen sharing session at any time through the menu bar item, by closing the screen sharing window, or by closing the active Messages window.
As already mentioned, screen sharing is possible in all versions of Mac OS X that are even somewhat modern, it’s just this specific means of initiating a screen share through the Messages app that is new and limited to Macs with OS X 10.10 and newer.