Screens allows users to remotely connect to their home computer from iOS devices.
Many years ago, a friend introduced me to remote screen sharing and showed me how to connect to my home computer from work. This was in the days before cloud storage and it was very helpful to be able to access files that I had left at home. In fact, I started utilizing my home computer as more of a file server than anything else. Since I switched to using a laptop as my primary computer and I carry my files with me, remote screen sharing with a home computer has become less of a necessity for me. I have noticed that my laptop bag has gotten a little heavy these days and have considered only taking my iPad with me instead of both my MacBook Pro AND my iPad. Fortunately, for me, there is an app that allows remote screen sharing on the iPad and iPhone should I decide to start leaving my laptop at home. It’s called Screens.
Screens is a powerful screen sharing and VNC client that allows users to connect to their Mac, Windows or Linux PC through an easy-to-use, clean interface. Users can connect to their home computer from anywhere safely and securely. Even though it is compatible with three different operating system, this review will focus on the Mac interface.
When I first started the app, I will admit I was a bit confused on how to get started. Luckily, the developer included a user manual. The very first entry is “Initial Setup.” Under Initial Setup, the instructions tell you to visit “Sharing” under System Preferences. Once you check “Screen Sharing,” the computer’s name appears in the Screens list of “Nearby and Remote Computers.” After that, it’s very easy to connect and then use Screens to not only view your computer screen, but also control your computer remotely if you choose to. If you decide to use your iPad as a second viewing screen, you simply select “Set Observe Mode.” This is particularly helpful if you are running a presentation and simply want a client to be able to view what you are doing, but don’t want them hovering over your shoulder.
Some of the key features of Screens are:
- Worldwide connection to your home computer
- Synchronization through iCloud
- Quick connection to nearby computers
- Trackpad Gesture control
- Multiple display support
- SSH keys support
- Launch via URL schemes like vnc:// or ssh://
About a month ago, Screens released a major update with version 3.1. This update included the addition of 64-bit support for iOS devices, AirPlay mirroring, hot corners support, search through saved screens and custom image capabilities for saved screens. Additionally, there were several features that were improved or fixed including: full hardware keyboard support, improved pasteboard transfers, improved memory management and improved screen edge gestures.
Other than my initial confusion, I found Screens very easy to use. Once the initial setup was completed, I did not experience any other connection issues. In general, I’ve been very impressed with the functionality of Screens and find it very useful, both personally and professionally.
Screens is currently on version 3.1.3 and retails for $19.99 in the iTunes App Store.