“I’m a PC. I’m a Mac.” For our generation these two phrases go hand in hand but easily spark controversy. As technology head-to-heads go the Windows vs. Apple debate has been one of the most fiercely fought, with die-hard supporters in both camps. But these days it’s about love not war – we want our Macs and our Windows PCs to work together and in harmony. And no more so than when it comes to remote desktop protocol (RDP). If it’s all Greek to you, but the idea of whipping out your iPad and quickly accessing files or apps on another computer with a different Operating system sounds like your thing, then you’ll need a Mac RDP client.
What is RDP?
For newcomers to remote desktop access, an RDP is an application that allows the user to access a desktop computer, its files, email clients and even programs from laptops, tablets and Smartphones, simply by using an internet connection. It’s a way of taking control of another desktop on a virtual network that has often been the preserve of IT professionals when they needed to fix a problem. Not something that your average person might use, right? Well, perhaps not. What if you were away on business in a different city, or even a different country but needed to access a crucial document, file or program on your work iMac? With the new streamlined and easy-to-use remote desktop clients, it can be as simple as opening up a web-browser, such as Safari, logging in and you’ve got free rein to get at all your important files or use that program you so desperately need.
How does RDP work?
An RDP is usually a piece of software that you install on a device. They used to be reserved to desktops and laptops with more advanced operating systems but now they come in app and browser-based forms so they can be used across a variety of platforms and devices. Essentially, the computer you want access to needs to have been remote-access enabled then you can just use your chosen RDP to bring up the desktop over the internet. From there you can use it as you normally would. And it’s not just about that PowerPoint presentation you forgot, you can even watch movies and play games that are on your home desktop even when you’re on the road. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
Why use RDP?
There are many benefits to using an RDP. Imagine you’re using a Macbook without any Microsoft Office software installed; but you really need to open an Excel document. Not a problem when using an RDP and it means you don’t have to worry about installing the same software over several systems, which can be pricy as well as time-consuming. It also makes the workplace a little more forgiving. In the past if you’d forgotten a crucial file for a presentation or maybe lost the work USB stick, panic would break out and various attempts would be made to muddle through. Now all you need is an internet connection and those files are within reach again. Sure, the Cloud and Dropbox have file access pretty well covered but it’s being able to use Windows software from an iPad and vice versa that makes RDPs so appealing. Considering some RDP clients are free or are available at reasonable cost, it seems like a no-brainer for any business or individual.