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Charles Anderson
Charles Anderson

Free Apple Remote Desktop 3.9: The Best Tool for Mac Administrators



Free Apple Remote Desktop 3.9: A Powerful Tool for Managing Mac Computers




If you are looking for a way to manage multiple Mac computers across your network, you might want to check out Apple Remote Desktop. It is a remote administration tool that lets you distribute software, provide real-time online help, create detailed reports, and automate routine tasks all from your own Mac. And the best part is, it is free!




Free Apple Remote Desktop 3.9



In this article, we will explain what Apple Remote Desktop is, why it is free, and how you can get it. We will also show you how to use its main features, such as software distribution, remote assistance, remote administration, asset management and reporting, and automation. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of how Apple Remote Desktop can help you save time and money while managing your Mac computers.


What is Apple Remote Desktop and what are its main features?




Apple Remote Desktop is a software application that allows you to remotely access and control other Mac computers on your network. You can use it for various purposes, such as:



  • Software distribution: You can easily copy and install software on remote Mac systems, encrypt network data when copying packages and files, and configure a Task Server to assist with package installations on offline computers.



  • Remote assistance: You can observe and control remote Mac computers, transfer files between Mac computers using drag and drop, copy and paste information between any two computers, prevent end-users from viewing the screen while you control their systems with Curtain Mode, and control VNC-enabled computers including Windows, Linux, and UNIX systems.



  • Remote administration: You can perform over a dozen commands securely on remote Mac systems, such as remotely lock screens, sleep, wake, restart, and shutdown. You can also execute UNIX shell scripts or commands on client systems.



  • Asset management and reporting: You can perform lightning-fast searches with Remote Spotlight search, gather reports on more than 200 Mac hardware attributes, see reports on user logins and application use, and use a Task Server to assemble inventory reports, even from mobile systems not connected to the network.



  • Automation: You can automate routine management tasks using Automator in macOS, get started immediately with over 40 actions, chain actions together to create powerful system administration workflows, combine actions with other application actions to create end-to-end solutions, and save workflows as plug-ins to provide simple, customized interfaces to Apple Remote Desktop features.



As you can see, Apple Remote Desktop is a versatile and powerful tool that can help you manage your Mac computers with ease and efficiency. Whether you need to install software, provide technical support, monitor system performance, or automate tasks, Apple Remote Desktop has you covered.


Why is it free and how to get it?




Apple Remote Desktop used to be a paid application that cost $79.99 for a single license and $299.99 for an unlimited license. However, in 2019, Apple decided to make it free for all Mac users. This was a welcome move for many Mac administrators who wanted to use the tool without paying extra fees.


To get Apple Remote Desktop for free, you need to have a Mac running macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later. You also need to download and install the latest version of the Apple Remote Desktop app from the Mac App Store. This app will allow you to view and control other Mac computers on your network.


In addition, you need to download and install the latest version of the Apple Remote Desktop Client software on each Mac computer that you want to manage remotely. This software will allow your Mac computers to be viewed and controlled by the Apple Remote Desktop app. You can get the Apple Remote Desktop Client software from the Apple Support website or from the Software Update feature on your Mac.


Once you have installed the Apple Remote Desktop app and the Apple Remote Desktop Client software on your Mac computers, you are ready to start using the tool. You can find more information and instructions on how to use Apple Remote Desktop in the user guide or in the help menu of the app.


Software Distribution




One of the main features of Apple Remote Desktop is software distribution. This feature allows you to easily copy and install software on remote Mac systems using a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can also encrypt network data when copying packages and files, and configure a Task Server to assist with package installations on offline computers.


How to copy and install software on remote Mac systems using Apple Remote Desktop?




To copy and install software on remote Mac systems using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Manage > Copy Items.



  • In the Copy Items window, click Add (+) and select one or more items (such as applications, files, or folders) that you want to copy from your Mac or from a network volume.



  • Specify a destination folder on the remote computers where you want to copy the items. You can also choose to delete existing items before copying, verify copied items, or change permissions of copied items.



  • If you want to install a package file (such as .pkg or .mpkg) on the remote computers, select Install Packages After Copying and choose whether to restart or logout the remote computers after installation.



  • If you want to encrypt network data when copying items, select Encrypt Network Data.



  • Click Copy.



The Copy Items task will start and you can monitor its progress in the Task History window. You can also view the details of each copy operation in the Task Details window.


How to encrypt network data when copying packages and files?




To encrypt network data when copying packages and files using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Manage > Copy Items.



  • In the Copy Items window, click Add (+) and select one or more items (such as applications, files, or folders) that you want to copy from your Mac or from a network volume.



  • Specify a destination folder on the remote computers where you want to copy the items. You can also choose to delete existing items before copying, verify copied items, or change permissions of copied items.



  • If you want to install a package file (such as .pkg or .mpkg) on the remote computers, select Install Packages After Copying and choose whether to restart or logout the remote computers after installation.



  • Select Encrypt Network Data. This will encrypt all data sent over the network using AES-128 encryption.



  • Click Copy.



The Copy Items task will start and you can monitor its progress in the Task History window. You can also view the details of each copy operation in the Task Details window.


How to configure a Task Server to assist with package installations on offline computers?




A Task Server is a Mac computer that runs Apple Remote Desktop and acts as a proxy for performing tasks on remote computers that are offline or not reachable by the administrator. A Task Server can help you with package installations on offline computers by storing the packages and installing them when the computers become available.


To configure a Task Server to assist with package installations on offline computers using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • On the Mac computer that you want to use as a Task Server, open the Apple Remote Desktop app and choose Apple Remote Desktop > Preferences.



  • Click Task Server and select Enable Task Server.



  • Enter a name and a password for the Task Server and click OK.



  • On the Mac computer that you use to administer remote computers, open the Apple Remote Desktop app and choose Window > Task Servers.



  • Click Add (+) and enter the name and password of the Task Server that you configured in the previous steps. Click Add.



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window that you want to assign to the Task Server.



  • Choose Manage > Change Client Settings.



  • In the Client Settings window, click Task Server and select Use Task Server For Offline Computers.



  • Select the Task Server that you added in the previous steps from the pop-up menu and click OK.



Now, when you copy and install packages on remote computers using Apple Remote Desktop, the Task Server will store the packages and install them when the computers become online. You can monitor the status of the Task Server and its tasks in the Task Servers window.


Remote Assistance




Another main feature of Apple Remote Desktop is remote assistance. This feature allows you to observe and control remote Mac computers using a simple mouse and keyboard interface. You can also transfer files between Mac computers using drag and drop, copy and paste information between any two computers, prevent end-users from viewing the screen while you control their systems with Curtain Mode, and control VNC-enabled computers including Windows, Linux, and UNIX systems.


How to observe and control remote Mac computers using Apple Remote Desktop?




To observe and control remote Mac computers using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Interact > Observe or Interact > Control. Alternatively, you can double-click a computer icon or thumbnail to observe or control it.



  • A new window will open showing the screen of the remote computer. You can use your mouse and keyboard to interact with it as if you were sitting in front of it. You can also use the toolbar buttons to adjust the view, send messages, take screenshots, lock screens, or end sessions.



You can observe or control multiple remote computers at once by selecting them in the Remote Desktop window and choosing Interact > Observe Mode or Interact > Control Mode. This will open a new window with a grid of screens showing each remote computer. You can click on any screen to observe or control it individually, or use the toolbar buttons to perform actions on all screens at once.


How to transfer files between Mac computers using drag and drop?




To transfer files between Mac computers using drag and drop using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Interact > Control to open a new window showing the screen of the remote computer.



  • Locate the file or folder that you want to transfer on your Mac or on the remote computer.



  • Drag and drop the file or folder onto the desktop or a folder of the other computer. A progress indicator will appear showing the transfer status.



You can also transfer files between two remote computers by opening two control windows and dragging and dropping files between them. You can also transfer files between a remote computer and a network volume by mounting the volume on your Mac and dragging and dropping files between them.


How to copy and paste information between any two computers?




To copy and paste information between any two computers using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Interact > Control to open a new window showing the screen of the remote computer.



  • Select the text, image, or other information that you want to copy on your Mac or on the remote computer.



  • Choose Edit > Copy or press Command-C to copy it to the clipboard.



  • Select the destination where you want to paste the information on your Mac or on the remote computer.



  • Choose Edit > Paste or press Command-V to paste it from the clipboard.



You can also copy and paste information between two remote computers by opening two control windows and using the same steps. You can also copy and paste information between a remote computer and a network volume by mounting the volume on your Mac and using the same steps.


How to prevent end-users from viewing the screen while you control their systems with Curtain Mode?




Curtain Mode is a feature of Apple Remote Desktop that allows you to block the screen of a remote computer while you control it. This can help you protect the privacy of the end-users and prevent them from interfering with your actions. To use Curtain Mode, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Interact > Control to open a new window showing the screen of the remote computer.



  • Choose View > Curtain Mode or click the Curtain Mode button in the toolbar.



  • A dialog will appear asking you to confirm that you want to use Curtain Mode. Click OK.



The screen of the remote computer will be replaced by a gray curtain with a lock icon and a message saying "This computer is being controlled by (your name)". You can still control the remote computer as usual, but the end-users will not be able to see or do anything on their screen. To exit Curtain Mode, choose View > Curtain Mode again or click the Curtain Mode button in the toolbar.


How to control VNC-enabled computers including Windows, Linux, and UNIX systems?




VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a protocol that allows you to remotely access and control other computers using a graphical interface. Apple Remote Desktop supports VNC, which means you can use it to control not only Mac computers, but also Windows, Linux, and UNIX systems that have VNC enabled. To do so, follow these steps:



  • On the Windows, Linux, or UNIX computer that you want to control, install and configure a VNC server software, such as TightVNC, RealVNC, or UltraVNC. Make sure you set a password for the VNC server and note down its IP address and port number.



  • On your Mac computer, open the Apple Remote Desktop app and choose File > New Server.



  • In the Server Address field, enter the IP address and port number of the VNC server, separated by a colon. For example, 192.168.1.100:5900.



  • In the Name field, enter a name for the VNC server.



  • In the Password field, enter the password for the VNC server.



  • Click Add.



The VNC server will appear in the Remote Desktop window as a computer icon with a VNC badge. You can double-click it to observe or control it using Apple Remote Desktop. You can also use the toolbar buttons and menu commands to perform actions on it as you would on a Mac computer.


Remote Administration




A third main feature of Apple Remote Desktop is remote administration. This feature allows you to perform over a dozen commands securely on remote Mac systems using Apple Remote Desktop. You can remotely lock screens, sleep, wake, restart, and shutdown Mac systems. You can also execute UNIX shell scripts or commands on client systems.


How to perform over a dozen commands securely on remote Mac systems using Apple Remote Desktop?




To perform over a dozen commands securely on remote Mac systems using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Manage > Send UNIX Command.



  • In the Send UNIX Command window, choose a command from the Command pop-up menu. You can choose from commands such as:



  • afctl: Start or stop AirPlay services



  • bless: Set volume bootability



  • defaults: Read or write Mac OS X user defaults



  • diskutil: Modify disk partitions



  • dscl: Directory Service command line utility



  • hdiutil: Manipulate disk images



  • killall: Kill processes by name



  • networksetup: Configure network settings



  • pmset: Power management settings



  • scutil: Manage system configuration parameters



  • softwareupdate: System software update tool



  • systemsetup: Computer and display system settings



  • tmutil: Time Machine utility



  • If you want to enter your own command, choose Custom Command from the Command pop-up menu and type the command in the text field.



  • If you want to save the command for future use, click Save and enter a name for the command.



  • If you want to encrypt network data when sending the command, select Encrypt Network Data.



  • Click Send.



The Send UNIX Command task will start and you can monitor its progress in the Task History window. You can also view the details and results of each command operation in the Task Details window.


How to remotely lock screens, sleep, wake, restart, and shutdown Mac systems?




To remotely lock screens, sleep, wake, restart, and shutdown Mac systems using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Manage > Lock Screen, Sleep, Wake, Restart, or Shut Down.



  • In the confirmation dialog, click OK.



The selected action will be performed on the remote computers and you can monitor its progress in the Task History window. You can also view the details of each action operation in the Task Details window.


How to execute UNIX shell scripts or commands on client systems?




To execute UNIX shell scripts or commands on client systems using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Manage > Open UNIX Shell.



  • In the Open UNIX Shell window, type the shell script or command that you want to execute on the remote computers. You can also use the pop-up menu to insert variables such as computer name, IP address, or user name.



  • If you want to encrypt network data when executing the script or command, select Encrypt Network Data.



  • Click Execute.



The Open UNIX Shell task will start and you can monitor its progress in the Task History window. You can also view the details and results of each script or command operation in the Task Details window.


Asset Management and Reporting




A fourth main feature of Apple Remote Desktop is asset management and reporting. This feature allows you to perform lightning-fast searches with Remote Spotlight search, gather reports on more than 200 Mac hardware attributes, see reports on user logins and application use, and use a Task Server to assemble inventory reports, even from mobile systems not connected to the network.


How to perform lightning-fast searches with Remote Spotlight search using Apple Remote Desktop?




To perform lightning-fast searches with Remote Spotlight search using Apple Remote Desktop, follow these steps:



  • Select one or more remote computers in the Remote Desktop window.



  • Choose Manage > Search For Files.



  • In the Search For Files window, enter a search term in the Search field. You can also use the pop-up menus to refine your search criteria by file name, kind, date, size, label, or content.



  • If you want to encrypt network data when searching for files, select Encrypt Network Data.



  • Click Search.



The Search For Files task will start and you can monitor its progress in the Task History window. You can also view the details and res


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