Apple - How to enable OS X screen sharing (VNC) through SSH?

Source: (archived)

Putty is a good SSH client for Windows.

  1. SSH into your remote OS X machine with an administrator’s log in and password.

  2. Enable Remote Desktop (a.k.a. Screen Sharing, a.k.a. VNC) with this command:

    sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ \
    -activate -configure -access -on \
    -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes \
    -clientopts -setvncpw -vncpw mypasswd \
    -restart -agent -privs -all
  3. Login using a VNC client. As I mentioned, TightVNC worked for me; for some reason, RealVNC and UltraVNC didn’t. Your password is “mypasswd” (see the -vncpw flag in the above command; you can and should change this).

  4. When you are done, turn off screen-sharing using your SSH session:

    sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ \
    -deactivate -configure -access -off

Here is a different way that enables screen sharing access all current users, instead of using a single vnc password;

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ \
 -activate -configure -access -on \
 -configure -allowAccessFor -allUsers \
 -configure -restart -agent -privs -all

Disable with this:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -deactivate -configure -access -off

This allows you to connect to the remote computer from a mac using the share screen button in Finder.