Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm currently using Jolly's Fast VNC and Mac OS X's built-in VNC server (System Preferences, Sharing, Screen Sharing) to access my iMac remotely.

Here's my problem: When I'm using the iMac remotely, the screensaver deactivates and the screen is unlocked. If someone had physical access to my iMac they could walk up to it and start using it.

Is there some way I can set things up so that when I'm using my iMac remotely the screen stays locked, like Windows XP Professional does when you're using RDP?

I know I can use X remotely with the iMac locked, but I would like to use Mac applications remotely, too.

share|improve this question

Using ARD, use the Curtain option to control the computer. That will ask for a "Lock" message, that will be displayed while you are controlling the computer. The display will be changed to a picture of a "Lock", and your message... So be polite.

Otherwise, you can take control of the computer normally, and click on the "Lock" message.

If you are using the built-in remote control software with Leopard / Snow Leopard, there is no method to lock the screen while controlling it. There had been some functionality in 10.5.0 - 10.5.5, but Apple removed it in 10.5.5. (It was unadvertised and required a hack to enable it)

share|improve this answer
"Curtains" are exactly what I need. I pinged the author of Jolly's FastVNC; unfortunately it is an undocumented Apple extension to VNC, which means I have to buy ARD 3. Let's say, hypothetically, that I'm extremely cheap... – Dominic Cooney Oct 7 '09 at 11:15
Try RealVNC Server. They advertise the lock screen support, but I believe it's only at the "higher" levels... (eg. Enterprise edition). But they do have a 30 day trial package... – Benjamin Schollnick Oct 7 '09 at 14:32
Benjamin, when you say "Otherwise, you can take control of the computer normally, and click on the "Lock" message.", what do you mean ? Is it possible to send a message to the Apple computer without running ARD, for example, when taking control from logmein plugin ?? If anybody has an idea how to lock the screen when remote controling an Apple computer, please let us know... Best regards, – Roger Apr 14 '10 at 22:34
"Is it possible to send a message to the Apple computer without running ARD, for example, when taking control from logmein plugin ??" - If you are using VNC, or some other VNC based software, the lock functionality will probably not be there... Apple Remote Desktop is the best solution for this. Jolly Fast VNC may be able to use that functionality, but they will have to add it to their software... – Benjamin Schollnick Mar 23 '12 at 16:33

On Tiger (i.e. without the built-in VNC server) I use the Vine VNC server. And what is supported there is fast user switching. So if the server is running, I can switch to a different user (or to the log-in screen) and still are able to connect to VNC server.

I am not sure if the built-in VNC server is supporting this as well, but you could give it a try.

The disadvantage of this solution (if it works) is still that you have to remember to do the fast user switching when you leave the iMac (and want remote access later on).

share|improve this answer
I don't understand how this helps: The computer will still be unlocked while I am using it. – Dominic Cooney Oct 7 '09 at 11:18
Actually, this does look promising; I will give it a try. – Dominic Cooney Oct 7 '09 at 11:22
On Tiger (and maybe on later versions too), this even supports multiple simultaneous users). – Arjan Sep 10 '10 at 20:35

Using your ARD / VNC client there should be an option to take control of the screen, this will not allow other users to generate user input while you're controlling it. Then when you're done, simply lock the screen and disconnect.

share|improve this answer
Per @benjamin-schollnick's answer this is a feature of ARD, but unfortunately not Jolly's FastVNC. – Dominic Cooney Oct 7 '09 at 11:17
No, wait, you're right--even Jolly's FastVNC has options to set the keyboard "invasiveness." But I'd really like something that left the screen hidden too. – Dominic Cooney Oct 7 '09 at 11:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .