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Connect Remotely to Your Mac with Back to My Mac

You can connect remotely to your Mac through iCloud, using a feature called Back to My Mac. Back to My Mac is a feature of OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion, and with it, you can transfer files from one machine to another, securely through the cloud.

Suppose that you're using a Mac laptop from your hotel room to prepare a presentation and would like to retrieve a picture from the hard drive or solid state drive of your machine at home. As an iCloud member, you can exploit Back to My Mac to get the photo you need.

There is some prep work involved. Choose iCloud under System Preferences and select the Back to My Mac check box to ensure that it is enabled. You'll also have to turn on screen sharing under the Share option in System Preferences.

Repeat this procedure on all the machines you want to access; they must share the same iCloud account. You may have to open ports in your firewall for Back to My Mac to work in all its remote computing glory.

Indeed, for Back to My Mac to work, you'll need a router that supports something called NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP) or Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). If you're not sure whether your router stacks up, check the documentation that came with your router or consult the router company's online support.

To locate the file you want to lift off the home computer, click that home machine (under Shared) in Finder and browse its drive for the file you need. Drag the file to the desktop of the computer you are using for remote access.

You can also share and control your home screen remotely by clicking Share Screen in Finder. Before you leave on your trip, remember to select the Screen Sharing option, found when you click Sharing under System Preferences.

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