OS X 10.7 introduced a built-in feature allowing remote control access into an account other than the user physically logged in, called Multiple User Screen Sharing. Example… if Mac1 has two user accounts named John and Sally, and Mac1 is physically logged in by John, someone from Mac2 could take remote control of Sally’s Desktop/session on Mac1. In this case both John and Sally would be logged into Mac1 individually at the same time. John would not even notice that Mac2 was remote controlling Sally’s Desktop, and visa/versa.

For this to work, Mac1 would need Screen Sharing enabled in the Sharing system preference pane, and Mac2 would need to use the Finder’s Share Screen feature to connect to Mac1 using Sally’s account. Mac2 would be prompted if they wanted to share the display with John, or login using Sally without interrupting John.

I personally dismissed this feature as a novelty, but Corey Muszak (All Covered Senior Systems Engineer in the Tri-State market) taught me something this week that has me re-evaluating it’s usefulness.

I was under the impression that this was limited to the Finder’s Share Screen feature, but Corey showed me how you can use Apple Remote Desktop Admin to do the same thing (i.e. ARD into a Mac using a different user account than who’s logged in, without interrupting their session). I don’t know how I’ve missed this all these years!

Here’s how it works: When you connect to a Mac in ARD Admin, you must enter a valid user account on that Mac. This is remembered for future connections. If you control-click on one of these Macs, select Get Info from the contextual menu, go to the Control & Observe tab, and click the Edit button… you’ll have the option to select the “Ask me what to do” option under the “When viewing this computer individual and another login is using the display” section. In the future when controlling this Mac, if it’s logged in with a different user account than what was used to add the Mac to ARD, you’ll get the option to take remote control of the virtual display of the user account remembered by ARD.

Thanks for showing me this Corey!!