Jump Desktop, is a powerful and easy-to-use remote desktop application that lets you connect to your computer from anywhere. It's a bit pricy but you are getting what you pay for. Setup was moderate. I feel like the onboarding could have been explained a bit more.
- EASE OF USE
Jump Desktop is a reliable, secure option for remote connection between machines.
A long time ago, I used to repair computers. I had an independent IT company that I started with a friend and we had a set of clients that were regular customers. Sometimes, when an issue seemed minor and didn’t require hands-on support, I would use an application to connect directly to their computer – remotely. At the time, the system was a little clunky but since remote work has become somewhat commonplace now, the applications that are available today are a lot more advanced.
I’ve had my eye on one called Jump Desktop for a while now because I love the idea of being able to connect to my personal computer when I am not right next to it – or even in a completely different physical location.
About Jump Desktop
In the simplest terms, Jump Desktop is an application that allows users to securely connect to any computer in the world (assuming they have the proper credentials). This ability gives users the freedom to work from anywhere. They can take their mobile devices to any remote location and still be able to connect to their stationary computer with a simple login/password option.
Jump Desktop is compatible with both Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Network Computing (VNC). RDP allows users to graphically control a remote computer while VNC lets remote users control a computer while the main user can interact and watch. RDP is a Microsoft proprietary protocol while VNC is platform-independent. In addition to supporting RDP and VNC, Jump Desktop also has its own high-performance protocol called Fluid Remote Desktop.
Fluid Remote Desktop has the power to share screens at 60fps while only using 1/10th of the bandwidth in comparison to RDP and VNC. Fluid allows users to manage servers, work on documents, watch videos, edit photos, and collaborate with multiple users through the remote connection.
Jump Desktop’s developers made it very easy to configure the system with an ‘Automatic Setup’ feature through their website. It provides step-by-step instructions for the user to follow to be up and running in five minutes or less. Once the system is set up, users can connect to computers using an IP address or hostname.
- Multi-protocol: supports RDP, VNC, and Fluid Remote Desktop
- Collaborative screen sharing
- Remote support
- Full international keyboard support for RDP, VNC, and ARD
- Dictation support (Mountain Lion and later)
- Tabs (macOS Sierra and later)
- 3 different ways to zoom and pan the remote screen (really useful when controlling multi-monitor remote systems from laptops)
- Easy and secure setup: Automatically configure your PC or Mac for remote access without worrying about your router settings. Set up as many computers as you like and manage them all using all your Google account (optional)
- Built-in SSH tunneling for RDP and VNC connections
- Tested on: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012/R2/2016/2019, SBS Server, Windows 10
- RD Broker and Load balancer support
- RD Gateway support
- Dynamic resolution updates (Win 8.1/2012 R2+)
- Desktop Scaling (Win 8.1/2012 R2+)
- Multi-monitor support Secure: 128-bit RDP, TLS/SSL, FIPS, and LA authentication supported
- Printing redirection support (including an optional, super-fast server side-driver)
- Audio streaming
- Console sessions
- Folder sharing
- International keyboard layouts
- Tested with macOS 10.5+, TightVNC, RealVNC, UltraVNC, Linux (Ubuntu Remote Desktop)
- Secure: Supports SSH tunneling as well as SSL encryption (SSL only available when using automatic setup)
- Black and white, Grayscale, 8-bit, and 16-bit color modes to help manage bandwidth
- Clipboard syncing
- Multiple monitor support
Pricing and Availability
Jump Desktop is available for macOS, iOS, and Windows devices. Individual users can download it from the respective app stores and universal purchases are not supported. This means that each version of the software has its own license fee.
- Mac App Store – $34.99 – available on the Mac App Store, Jump Web Store, and Setapp
- IOS App Store – $14.99
- Windows – Free for personal and business use
Jump Desktop also has support for Teams. This level of support is available for the Pro level ($9.99 per user/month) and Enterprise level users($19.99 per user/month). If purchased for a year at a time, there is a 20% discount.
While the action of this app seems simple, it actually does require a bit of setup to get it functioning. Fortunately, Jump Desktop makes it really easy with their Automatic Setup option. This takes all the guesswork out of the installation process, which can get convoluted if you don’t have all the necessary information for the computer you are trying to connect to. So, letting the application do the work is really what’s best.
One thing I noticed right off the bat is that when you log in, the app takes you back to the browser rather than logging the user in from the app. In addition to that, most of the syncing/connecting to other computers happens from the web dashboard, as well. In order to add computers to your account, you have to install Jump Desktop Connect to the remote computer (the one you want to connect to).
I happen to have access to a separate laptop that is used for my fiancé’s day job. We used it as the remote computer for testing. It’s a MacBook Pro (2019 model). Users have the option of connecting to iOS, Android, Windows, or Mac devices. We tested an iPhone to Mac connection, too, but I will get to that shortly.
We installed the Jump Desktop Connect (a free download) onto the remote computer, which asked for several system permissions to be granted (accessibility and screen recording). If you want to use Jump Desktop as intended, you’ll need to allow these permissions. Jump Desktop Connect will also take the user to the browser to finish the account connection.
Once the browser connection is completed, users will see a dialogue window that reads “Access this Mac from Anywhere” or “Share your screen.” Both of these options will give the host control over the computer, but with the screen share option, the user on the remote computer will be able to see the way the operator is interacting with the computer.
It’s the same way that Google Chrome Remote Desktop operates. My fiancé used to work for an organization where she had to connect to remote computers frequently and Chrome Remote Desktop was the best option to do so at the time. She said that it worked, but it was clunky and jittery. The screen share feature of Jump Desktop works really well. The connection was quick and aside from the screen being a little pixelated, it worked.
That said, the actual tunnel connection between two computers using the Jump Desktop access was a much better option. It was sort of the difference between an HD video signal and a standard definition video. The Jump Desktop tunnel was a smooth connection. It was fluid and was almost as if my host computer was just a second screen for the remote computer whereas the screen-sharing connection felt as if the computer were miles away.
I did test both types of connections while both computers were connected to the same network and when the host was on a different network. I actually connected the host computer to a cellular hotspot and I had nearly the same type of experience as I did when both computers were on the same network.
One of the main reasons that I wanted to use Jump Desktop was so that I had the option to connect to my laptop when I wasn’t at my desk using my iPhone. This required that the iPhone be the ‘host’ machine, which meant that I needed the iPhone version of the Jump Desktop app. As I noted above, the iPhone app is a separate purchase from the Mac version.
The installation/setup process is similar to the macOS version. The user selects automatic or manual setup. The Automatic option takes the user to their browser to connect the app to their account. Once you finish the setup and select the computer you want to connect to, you open the connection and start using the remote computer as you wanted to.
Using Jump Desktop has been a big time-saver for me since I have the flexibility to jump between my iPhone and MacBook Pro using the app. I’m a big fan of the functionality. I do want to point out that an individual’s experience with Jump Desktop is completely dependent on the type of network connection they are using.
If it’s a stable, high-speed network then it should be a strong connection between the two systems. If the network is spotty and unreliable, the user could have a dreadful experience with the app and easily get frustrated. In that case, it’s not the app’s fault. In my time using Jump Desktop, it’s been a solid app and has worked the way it’s supposed to.
Jump Desktop is a handy utility for connecting between computers. It works and it works well. It’s important to remember that a strong network connection is essential for it to be a smooth operation. There were a few details I would have liked to discuss further with the developer, but unfortunately, they were unresponsive to emails after my first interaction with them. I would like to understand why the apps take the user back to a browser in order to connect to the Jump Desktop account. It’s a solid app and I’m very excited about continuing to use it.