Remote Desktop Connection from Mac to Ubuntu


Remote connection has multiple practical use cases, such as providing technical support and accessing business files and applications when working from home. GUI sharing systems and protocols, such as RDP and VNC, allow users to access their machines remotely regardless of their operating system.

This article will show you how to access an Ubuntu machine from Mac and vice versa.

Remote Desktop Connection from Mac to Ubuntu.


To connect to Ubuntu from Mac:

To connect to Mac from Ubuntu:

Establish Remote Desktop Connection to Ubuntu From Mac

The easiest way to connect to a remote Ubuntu machine using a macOS computer is via the Remote Desktop protocol developed by Microsoft. Before connecting with the Remote Desktop client on macOS, ensure that your Ubuntu system has remote desktop sharing enabled.

Set up Ubuntu to be Accessed Remotely

Use Settings to enable remote desktop sharing on Ubuntu. Follow the steps below to make the necessary adjustments to the system:

1. Select the Activities button in the upper-left corner of the screen.

2. Type sharing in the search box and select Sharing in the search results.

Navigating to Sharing Settings in Ubuntu.

3. Activate sharing in the upper-right corner of the Settings window.

4. Select the Remote Desktop option.

Accessing the Remote Desktop option in Ubuntu settings.

The Remote Desktop dialog appears.

5. Enable Remote Desktop and Remote Control.

Enabling Remote Desktop and Remote Control in Ubuntu settings.

6. Scroll down to the Authentication section. Make a note of the User Name and Password fields. The password is automatically generated, but you can replace it with a custom one.

The Authentication section of the Ubuntu sharing settings.

The Ubuntu system is now ready to accept remote connections.

Use RDP to Access Ubuntu from Mac

Creating a remote connection from a Mac via the Microsoft Remote Desktop application requires:

Follow the steps below to connect to a remote Ubuntu machine from a Mac:

1. Press Command and Space to activate Spotlight Search.

2. Start typing Microsoft Remote Desktop and select the app when it appears in the search results.

Microsoft Remote Desktop in Spotlight Search.

3. Select the Add PC button in Microsoft Remote Desktop.

The location of the Add PC button in Microsoft Remote Desktop.

4. Type the remote computer's domain or IP address in the PC name field.

5. Choose a User account. Alternatively, leave the Ask when required option to enter the credentials later.

6. Select Add to create the remote connection.

Creating a new remote connection in the Add PC dialog in Microsoft Remote Desktop.

The new connection appears in Microsoft Remote Desktop's main window.

7. Select the connection.

The new connection on the main screen of Microsoft Remote Desktop.

8. Type in the Ubuntu credentials and select Continue.

Entering credentials in Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Ubuntu desktop appears in a window.

Ubuntu desktop in macOS.

Establish Remote Desktop Connection to Mac From Ubuntu

macOS uses the VNC protocol to allow remote connections. To connect a Mac to Ubuntu, enable the sharing option in macOS and use Remmina to create a connection.

Set up Mac to be Accessed Remotely

Sharing in macOS is not allowed by default. To enable it from System Settings, follow the steps below:

1. Select System Settings from the Apple logo menu.

Accessing System Settings in macOS.

2. Select General in the menu on the left side, then go to the Sharing section.

Location of the Sharing section in System Settings on macOS.

3. Select the (i) icon next to the Remote Management option.

Accessing the Remote Management options in macOS.

4. Activate the remote management switch in the upper-right corner of the dialog.

5. Activate the VNC viewers may control screen with password option.

6. Select Done.

Remote management options in macOS.

The macOS system can now accept remote connections.

Use VNC to Access Mac from Ubuntu

Remmina is a simple open source remote desktop client for Linux. The section below explains how to use it to access a macOS system remotely.

1. Select the Activities button in the upper-left corner of the Ubuntu desktop.

2. Type Remmina in the search box and select the application from the search results.

Running Remmina in Ubuntu.

3. Select the VNC protocol from the drop-down list.

4. Type the domain or IP address of the remote macOS machine in the text field and press Enter.

Connecting to a remote machine in Remmina.

5. Enter the credentials in the dialog.

A remote macOS session appears in the window.

A remote macOS session.


After reading this tutorial, you know how to connect to a Ubuntu machine using macOS and how to connect to a Mac from Ubuntu. In both cases, the article explained the necessary procedure on the server and client side.

If you do not need a graphical interface, you can also learn to use SSH to connect to a remote server.

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Marko Aleksic
Marko Aleksić is a Technical Writer at phoenixNAP. His innate curiosity regarding all things IT, combined with over a decade long background in writing, teaching and working in IT-related fields, led him to technical writing, where he has an opportunity to employ his skills and make technology less daunting to everyone.
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