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With more people working with each other all over the world and the Internet becoming more ubiquitous by the minute, the physical computer is becoming less important. Rather than relying on taking your physical computer with you everywhere you go, as long as you can get to a “dumb terminal” with an Internet connection, you can reach your computer from anywhere.
Here are 8 apps to help you gain a remote access connection to any of your computers around the world.
Remoter VNC (iOS)
This is my go to VNC (virtual network computing) client on my iPhone. Out of the box it works with Mac screen sharing, as well as UltraVNC and any newer VNC server for Mac and Windows. Remoter VNC can also use RDP, Telnet, and SSH protocols to get a remote access connection, but you have to upgrade the app with in-app purchases.
You can setup and save your remote access connections, emulate a mouse and keyboard, and even use Windows keys. Right now Remoter VNC is $0.99 in the App Store and well worth the price, even to upgrade to RDP and Telnet access.
TeamViewer is a free for consumer application that can be used to remotely access your computer. It’s super secure using 256 bit AES encryption and an RSA private or public key exchange. You first install TeamViewer on any client machine that you want to gain a remote access connection with and then use the client on another machine to access it.
In my quick tests remoting into my home and work computers, TeamViewer worked great and helps you get rid of the overhead of setting up VNC servers and tricky OS level remote access.
TightVNC is a free VNC server for Windows. It can be a bit of a bear to setup (if you aren’t the most tech savvy), but works well to share your screen with another VNC viewer client.
One thing you have to keep in mind with TightVNC is that it isn’t as secure used directly “out of the box”. If security is a real concern for you, then TightVNC recommends establishing an SSH connection with the host before starting your remote access connection.
I love join.me because it is fast, easy, and secure. While being more of a screen sharing app, you could potentially use it for remote access connection. Basically, all you have to do is go to join.me, click the big orange “share” button, download and run a small executable, and use the join.me sharing number to access your machine with join.me in the browser.
I’ve been using this a lot for remote help with clients and it’s proven to be a really great tool. If you need a free way to remotely access computers and work with people, this is one of the best ways to do it.
CrossLoop is a fremium application that allows for screen sharing and a remote access connections to 1 computer for free (more than 1 requires a subscription plan). CrossLoop’s interface for remote access is in the browser and reminds me of using LogMeIn.
To get CrossLoop working you have to install the CrossLoop app on your Mac or PC and then you can gain a remote access connection to it from any browser. CrossLoop also offers a free screen sharing solution.
LogMeIn is still one of the best ways to remotely access your PC and Mac from anywhere. The free version allows you to access your computers securely from your browser or even from LogMeIn’s companion iOS app. The connection is fast and secure (join.me uses the same technology), and is one of the quickest and best ways to get a remote access connection to your machines.
With LogMeIn you can even remotely wake up a computer from sleeping.
RealVNC is an implementation of VNC that has a free version, but to gain the features most people are looking for (connection to Macs and Windows Vista and greater machines), you will have to pay for a license. RealVNC works well and is secure allowing you to access any number of machines through the VNC server-client model.
There are also VNC Viewer apps for iOS and Android that can be used to connect to a RealVNC server.
Remote Desktop Client (Android)
Remote Desktop Client works with Android allowing you to access any non-Home version of Windows computer through RDP, which is already built into the Windows operating system. All the user has to do is make sure that the Windows computer can be connected to remotely for the Remote Desktop Client to work on the Android device.
Using remote access connection applications is a great way to be productive from anywhere. Rather than staying tied down to your physical computer, use these 8 apps to give yourself the excuse to work from home, or even the beach if you are so inclined.