How to Access Multiple Mac User Accounts Simultaneously from iPad


James writes: I’d like to use multiple iPads to remotely access the same Mac, with each iPad accessing a separate user account, preferably all at the same time. Is this possible and how can I set it up?


Yes, with OS X 10.7 Lion, it is relatively easy to set up a multi-user remote login configuration. Just follow the steps below:

  1. First, if you have not done so already, create separate User Accounts for each iPad or user that you wish to have access to the remote connection. This can be done by going to System Preferences > Users & Groups, and then clicking the “plus” button in the lower left to add each user. Note that you’ll need administrative privileges for most of these steps.
  2. Once your accounts are set up, you need to enable VNC sharing on your Mac. Head to System Preferences > Sharing > Screen Sharing > Computer Settings. Once there, check the “VNC viewers may control screen with password” box and enter a password (see image, below).
  3. Next, pick a VNC client for your iPads. There are many to choose from, but we’ve used iSSH (US$9.99) and RealVNC’s VNC Viewer (US$9.99).
  4. Now, when you connect to your Mac via the VNC client on your iPad, you’ll see the OS X Login screen, where you can choose one of the user accounts you set up in Step 1. Each iPad can now connect to a different user account at the same time, and each user will have their own Desktop and application access.

VNC Setup OS X Lion

Of note, this method is not limited to iDevices; you can use VNC applications on other Macs (or even PCs) in your network to connect to the same Mac as well.