Remote Access to OS X / MacOS Workstations

Self-administered OS X / MacOS workstations on the SBGrid network can be configured for remote access (both command line and graphical). You will need to be on the SBGrid/CMCD VPN to use this approach. This will work from a local OS X / MacOS system (aka - a mac laptop).


This should be configured with terminal access to your workstation (either a local terminal window, or through ssh), and assumes that the you have administrative (sudo) access.

  • enable ssh access: sudo systemsetup -setremotelogin on
  • configure the system to restart on power failure: sudo -setrestartpowerfailure on
  • configure the system to wake on network access: sudo systemsetup -setwakeonnetworkaccess on
  • enable graphical remote access (assumes that the user you run these commands as is the one who will be connecting locally): sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -activate -configure -access -on -users $USER -privs -all -restart -agent
  • record / remember the DNS hostname of your workstation, and your user name on that workstation.


Command Line (after connecting to VPN)

  • connect by ssh: ssh $my_workstation_user_name@$my_workstation_hostname (e.g. ssh

GUI (after connecting to VPN)

  • connect by vnc: open vnc://$my_workstation_hostname) (e.g. open vnc://