Both OS X and Windows are bundled with remote management tools. TeamViewer takes the functionality of those programs further, giving you cross-platform and collaborative access to PCs and Macs. Incredibly, you can do that either from your desktop or in a web browser.
You’ll need to be running TeamViewer software on at least one machine – and have a TeamViewer account. From there you can choose to launch remote access using the TeamViewer client or connect to a web account and administrate the TeamViewer-enabled machine from there.
If you’re already thinking about pranking your colleagues by taking control of their computer from your MacBook, forget it. An alert box tells users on the remote side that a connection is in progress. There are other security features too, like the fact that you can automatically generate a new password every time you start a session.
What does TeamViewer do? Pretty much anything you can do sitting in front of a computer. You can open and use programs, interact with them, type, even shut down a machine remotely. There are various levels of access, so you can restrict access if you’re worried about losing control of your machine. And data transfer is secure, using 256-bit encryption.
Perhaps the most impressive feature is the ability to connect to a TeamViewer-enabled machine in a web browser. This is very useful, if a little unnerving.
Server and system admins will love TeamViewer, as will travelling types with a need to regularly connect to the office. Your company will have to pay for it though – and commercial licenses start at €499 (£450). For non-commercial use, it’s entirely free.