Screen Sharing with Messages

Over the holidays I’ve spent a lot of time doing tech support for family. After showing a few people how to setup screen sharing via Messages (née iChat), I figured I should document the process1.

  1. You need to start Messages. If your computer is running OS X 10.7.x or earlier, this program is called iChat. I’ll just call it Messages from here in, but know that I mean iChat if you’re on an older operating system.

    Messages lives in the Applications folder

  2. Once you’re in Messages (or iChat), you should make sure the person you want to share your screen with is in your buddy list. If they’re not, you can find instructions for that here. In the worst case you might not have an instant messaging account setup; there are instructions for that here.

    Buddy List in Messages

  3. Open the context menu for the person you’d like to share your screen with. You can do this by holding the control key (^) while clicking, or by clicking with two fingers. In the context menu, select ‘Share My Screen with [name]…’.

    In the context menu, select Share My Screen with [name]…

  4. The person you’re sharing your screen with will see a notification pop up that’s inviting them to view your screen. They’ll click the notification and accept your invitation.

    The person you're sharing your screen with will receive an invitation to view your screen

Now you’re sharing your screen. The person on the other end2 will be able to control your screen and can help you figure out whatever you’re having trouble with.

Once you’re finished3, you’ll need to end the screen sharing:

  1. Bring up the context menu for the person you’re sharing with (hold the control button while clicking their name), and select ‘End Screen Sharing’.

    In the context menu, select End Screen Sharing

That’s the whole operation.

  1. Mostly so that I can easily send my family these instructions when they forget how to do this. These instructions are not for you to follow, they’re for your friends and family to follow. 

  2. Probably me. 

  3. Or the person on the other end starts snooping places you don’t want them…