The following instructions are valid for OS X 6 (Snow Leopard). Instructions may differ slightly for different versions of OS X, but the principle is the same. If in doubt, consult the operating system documentation.

Downloading VNC

Download VNC for Mac OS X to the computer you want to control. A single program installs both VNC Server and VNC Viewer.

Note: VNC Viewer is freely available to download to as many other computers that you wish to exercise control from as you like.

Installing VNC

Using desktop tools

Double-click the package to start the Installation Wizard, and follow the instructions. Note the credentials of a user with administrative privileges on the computer are required.

At the command line

Installing at the command line or via SSH may be quicker and more convenient providing defaults are acceptable. To do this, run the following command as a user with administrative privileges:

installer -pkg <VNC>.pkg -target /
Alternatively, you can install just VNC Server or VNC Viewer as follows:
  1. Separate the products into a temporary directory containing separate packages:
  2. pkgutil --expand <VNC>.pkg <TempDir>
  3. Flatten the package you want to install to a temporary file:
  4. pkgutil --flatten <TempDir/VNCServer>.pkg <TempFile>.pkg
  5. Distribute the temporary file to target computers and install:
  6. installer -pkg <TempFile>.pkg -target /

Licensing VNC Server

VNC Server must be licensed. If it is not, users cannot connect. More information…

Note: VNC Viewer does not require a license key.

Using desktop tools

To obtain and apply a license key, start VNC Server, open the VNC Server dialog, and either follow the instructions in the VNC Server is not licensed error, or select More > Licensing.

At the command line

Obtain a license key, and then run the following command as a user with administrative privileges:

/Library/VNC/vnclicense -add <license key>

Additional steps

For best results, disable Screen Sharing or Apple Remote Desktop before starting VNC Server.

Removing VNC

Using desktop tools

To uninstall VNC Server, navigate to the Applications > RealVNC > Advanced folder, and double-click the Uninstall VNC Server program. Note the credentials of a user with administrative privileges on the computer are required. To uninstall VNC Viewer, repeat this operation using Uninstall VNC Viewer.

At the command line

Run the following commands separately as a user with administrative privileges:

/Applications/RealVNC/Advanced/Uninstall\ VNC\ Server.app/Contents/Resources/uninstaller.sh
/Applications/RealVNC/Advanced/Uninstall\ VNC\ Viewer.app/Contents/Resources/uninstaller.sh