Apple's Back To My Mac is a fantastic service that's provided free with Mac OS X and iCloud. Once Back To My Mac is set up it is used to beam files and share the screen from any Mac to any other Mac. You can remote-control your home Mac using your laptop over the internet. You can use your Mac just as if you were sitting in front of it, moving the cursor, opening programs, accessing files and so on.

It's easy to use Back To My Mac, and being able to access your files and computer on the move can be a real life-saver. Let's look at how to set up Back To My Mac.

How to set up Back To My Mac: Turn on iCloud

Set Up Back To My Mac

Back To My Mac is a part of Apple's iCloud suite of services. You've probably already got iCloud set up on your Mac, but you should double-check just to make sure. Open System Preferences and click on iCloud; you should see your Account Details. But if not, you need to enter your Apple ID and Password and click Sign In. If you haven't got an iCloud account yet select Create New Apple ID.

See: How to set up iCloud and Set up iCloud and back up your iPhone

How to set up Back To My Mac: Turn on Back To My Mac

How to set up Back To My Mac in Mac OS X Mavericks

Scroll down the iCloud Account Settings and tap on the tickbox next to Back To My Mac. Back To My Mac uses your Apple ID and Password to connect this computer to other computers using Back To My Mac under the same Apple ID and Password.

How to set up Back To My Mac: Turn on Sharing

How to set up Back To My Mac in Mac OS X Mavericks

You may find that Back To My Mac works better on a local network with Sharing set up. Click on Show All and Sharing (or tap More and Open Sharing next to Back To My Mac). Tick the box next to Internet Sharing.

See: AirDrop review: Apple's iOS file sharing tech makes it easy to transfer documents and How to Use iOS 7 Home Sharing and set up an Apple TV

How to set up Back To My Mac: Enable UPnP

How to set up Back To My Mac in Mac OS X Mavericks: Enable UPnP

Back To My Mac works better if you have UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) enabled on your router. Setting up UPnP works differently depending on which router yo're using. On our Virgin Media router here you use Safari. Enter the router's IP address into the Smart Search Field (192.168.100.1) and enter your router's Admin Name and Password. Now select Advanced, UPnP and tick the tickbox next to UPnP. Click Apply to update the setting.

See: iCloud: Sharing done wrong

How to set up Back To My Mac: Using Back To My Mac

How to set up Back To My Mac in Mac OS X Mavericks

You can now use Back To My Mac to access another Mac. Open up a second Mac and follow the first three steps above to set up Back To My Mac on that computer as well. It is important that you use the same Apple ID and Password.

To access the files on your other computer open a Finder window (File > New Finder Window) and look for it in the sidebar on the left. It should appear underneath Devices. When you click on the other Mac it should connect and show the main folders (it will take a while for you to connect to the Mac). You can now open these files on your remote Mac, or copy them to your local Mac.

How to set up Back To My Mac: Remote-control another Mac

How to set up Back To My Mac in Mac OS X Mavericks

A great feature of Back To My Mac is remote control. Highlight the remote Mac in the Sidebar and click on Share Screen. A window should open displaying the remote Mac's display. You can now control this Mac directly by clicking and controlling on the desktop in the window. Click on the red Close window button in the top-left when you're done.

How to set up Back To My Mac: Alternative ways to remote-control using an iPad

The one flaw with Back To My Mac is that it only works using another Mac. However, there are many apps that enables you to remote control a Mac computer from an iPad or iPhone. These are even bigger life-savers when you need to get to a Mac on the go.

Take a look at some of these other screen-sharing services:

Read more OS X tutorials