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Can a Mac be used by multiple users at same time?

Is there a remote desktop app for the Mac that allows multiple people to be remoted in at the same time, similar to RDP in Windows? I've used VNC, but that only allows one person to control the computer.

For some background: I'd like to set up a mac that many users can RDP into from PC's to do XCode development. I did some searching and didn't find anything, so I'm assuming it's just not possible, but I want to confirm.

Update: Thanks to a link in one of the answers, I found a reasonable solution: AquaConnect

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marked as duplicate by random Apr 8 '12 at 16:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

So everything you have tried so far just allows one connection to the mac "remote desktop service"? – Troggy Aug 26 '09 at 18:58

What you need is Vine Server (it's free) and a suitable client (I use TightVNC from a Windows machine).

There's some setup effort involved - Fast User switching needs to be enabled, and each user needs to actually login to the machine first so that they have an active session on the machine. Also, each user needs an instance of Vine Server running (and therefore each needs a different port number), but that can be configured to start at login. The machine also remains useable by a user actually sat in front of it.

Edited to add:

Just in case it wasn't clear in the original explanation, the above solution is:

  1. Completely free
  2. Not dependant on OSX Server
  3. Multiple, simultaneous, independant users
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Could you explain how you did it exactly? – twerdster Jun 14 '11 at 11:21
Okay. I tried this and even on the same network it is painfully slow. – twerdster Jun 14 '11 at 13:47
This worked (Y) – ilight Nov 20 '12 at 11:56

As of OS X Lion this is supported by the built-in Screen Sharing, if you have set up multiple accounts:

Per-user screen sharing

You can remotely log in to a Mac with any user account on that computer and control it, without interrupting someone else who might be using the computer under a different login.

However, I failed to make it work using Windows clients. Your mileage may vary of course.

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The "failed to make it work with Windows client" is pretty much a deal killer and ample reason to curse under one's breath. – Michael Apr 28 '13 at 17:08

Just to clarify, you can simultaneously connect multiple VNC clients to the same Mac using the built-in Screen Sharing server, and they can all control the computer. You can use a regular VNC client such as Chicken of the VNC to connect. Usually there is an option in the client that you have to set to enable multiple clients (it is a checkbox in the Open Connection dialog in Chicken of the VNC). However, all of the clients will be controlling the same login session, so that may not be suitable for what you are doing.

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Thanks for the answer. This is good to know, but we'd like to have separate sessions since we want to set up one box as an XCode playground box for everyone at our firm. – Peter Walke Aug 27 '09 at 22:03

This link suggests there's no equivalent.

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Thanks to @djhowell for the link. Looking in the comments, it looks like there is a 3rd party product called AquaConnect ( that does what I'd like. Pricing isn't available, but it looks interesting.

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Please note that this works on OSX server and not the client OS. – William Hilsum Aug 26 '09 at 19:11
Agreed... It is understandable that this is the price we'll have to pay to try this out... 500 bucks for a server license plus whatever aquaconnect costs. – Peter Walke Aug 26 '09 at 19:17
Suggestion: Please add updates to your original question and just specify that it is an update on what you have found. It helps keep the website neat and tidy. – Troggy Aug 26 '09 at 19:20
Done... I'll also accept my answer in 2 days once its available. – Peter Walke Aug 26 '09 at 19:26

A possible solution is to connect to the computer with ssh and use CLI of Xcode, which is xcodebuild.

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I have set up VineVNC before and it works. But for the use case above (developers using just one application on the Mac) I would suggest installing X11 on their PCs, and using ssh -X to start xcode on the Mac with a tunneled X11 display.

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What you are looking for is basically a Apple terminal services equivilant.

As far as I know, it does not exist and it would not be possible to implement in standard software as it would need a change of architecture in the way OSX works.

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You can follow this link .. it worked for me .. I was able to allow multiple user ( in my case 3) sharing different session for each to run the xcode )

Test Plant - Vine Viewer

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True, but the same as Chris answered. Still welcome to Super User! – Arjan Dec 22 '10 at 11:41

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