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Applies To: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016

You can use the Remote Desktop client for Mac to work with Windows apps, resources, and desktops from your Mac computer. Use the following information to get started - and check out the FAQ if you have questions.

Note

  • Curious about the new releases for the macOS client? Check out What's new for Remote Desktop on Mac?
  • The Mac client runs on computers running macOS 10.10 and newer.
  • The information in this article applies primarily to the full version of the Mac client - the version available in the Mac AppStore. Test-drive new features by downloading our preview app here: beta client release notes.

Get the Remote Desktop client

Follow these steps to get started with Remote Desktop on your Mac:

  1. Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop client from the Mac App Store.
  2. Set up your PC to accept remote connections. (If you skip this step, you can't connect to your PC.)
  3. Add a Remote Desktop connection or a remote resource. You use a connection to connect directly to a Windows PC and a remote resource to use a RemoteApp program, session-based desktop, or a virtual desktop published on-premises using RemoteApp and Desktop Connections. This feature is typically available in corporate environments.

What about the Mac beta client?

We're testing new features on our preview channel on AppCenter. Want to check it out? Go to Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac and select Download. You don't need to create an account or sign into AppCenter to download the beta client.

If you already have the client, you can check for updates to ensure you have the latest version. In the beta client, select Microsoft Remote Desktop Beta at the top, and then select Check for updates.

Add a workspace

Subscribe to the feed your admin gave you to get the list of managed resources available to you on your macOS device.

To subscribe to a feed:

  1. Select Add feed on the main page to connect to the service and retrieve your resources.
  2. Enter the feed URL. This can be a URL or email address:
    • This URL is usually a Windows Virtual Desktop URL. Which one you use depends on which version of Windows Virtual Desktop you're using.
      • For Windows Virtual Desktop (classic), use https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/api/feeddiscovery/webfeeddiscovery.aspx.
      • For Windows Virtual Desktop, use https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/api/arm/feeddiscovery.
    • To use email, enter your email address. This tells the client to search for a URL associated with your email address if your admin configured the server that way.
  3. Select Subscribe.
  4. Sign in with your user account when prompted.

After you've signed in, you should see a list of available resources.

Once you've subscribed to a feed, the feed's content will update automatically on a regular basis. Resources may be added, changed, or removed based on changes made by your administrator.

Export and import connections

You can export a remote desktop connection definition and use it on a different device. Remote desktops are saved in separate RDP files.

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To export an RDP file:

  1. In the Connection Center, right-click the remote desktop.
  2. Select Export.
  3. Browse to the location where you want to save the remote desktop RDP file.
  4. Select OK.

To import an RDP file:

  1. In the menu bar, select File > Import.
  2. Browse to the RDP file.
  3. Select Open.

Add a remote resource

Remote resources are RemoteApp programs, session-based desktops, and virtual desktops published using RemoteApp and Desktop Connections.

  • The URL displays the link to the RD Web Access server that gives you access to RemoteApp and Desktop Connections.
  • The configured RemoteApp and Desktop Connections are listed.

To add a remote resource:

  1. In the Connection Center select +, and then select Add Remote Resources.
  2. Enter information for the remote resource:
    • Feed URL - The URL of the RD Web Access server. You can also enter your corporate email account in this field – this tells the client to search for the RD Web Access Server associated with your email address.
    • User name - The user name to use for the RD Web Access server you are connecting to.
    • Password - The password to use for the RD Web Access server you are connecting to.
  3. Select Save.

The remote resources will be displayed in the Connection Center.

Connect to an RD Gateway to access internal assets

A Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) lets you connect to a remote computer on a corporate network from anywhere on the Internet. You can create and manage your gateways in the preferences of the app or while setting up a new desktop connection.

To set up a new gateway in preferences:

  1. In the Connection Center, select Preferences > Gateways.
  2. Select the + button at the bottom of the table Enter the following information:
    • Server name – The name of the computer you want to use as a gateway. This can be a Windows computer name, an Internet domain name, or an IP address. You can also add port information to the server name (for example: RDGateway:443 or 10.0.0.1:443).
    • User name - The user name and password to be used for the Remote Desktop gateway you are connecting to. You can also select Use connection credentials to use the same user name and password as those used for the remote desktop connection.

Manage your user accounts

When you connect to a desktop or remote resources, you can save the user accounts to select from again. You can manage your user accounts by using the Remote Desktop client.

To create a new user account:

  1. In the Connection Center, select Settings > Accounts.
  2. Select Add User Account.
  3. Enter the following information:
    • User Name - The name of the user to save for use with a remote connection. You can enter the user name in any of the following formats: user_name, domainuser_name, or [email protected]
    • Password - The password for the user you specified. Every user account that you want to save to use for remote connections needs to have a password associated with it.
    • Friendly Name - If you are using the same user account with different passwords, set a friendly name to distinguish those user accounts.
  4. Select Save, then select Settings.

Customize your display resolution

You can specify the display resolution for the remote desktop session.

  1. In the Connection Center, select Preferences.
  2. Select Resolution.
  3. Select +.
  4. Enter a resolution height and width, and then select OK.

To delete the resolution, select it, and then select -.

Displays have separate spaces

If you're running Mac OS X 10.9 and have disabled Displays have separate spaces in Mavericks (System Preferences > Mission Control), you need to configure this setting in the Remote Desktop client using the same option.

Drive redirection for remote resources

Drive redirection is supported for remote resources, so that you can save files created with a remote application locally to your Mac. The redirected folder is always your home directory displayed as a network drive in the remote session.

Note

In order to use this feature, the administrator needs to set the appropriate settings on the server.

Use a keyboard in a remote session

Mac keyboard layouts differ from the Windows keyboard layouts.

  • The Command key on the Mac keyboard equals the Windows key.
  • To perform actions that use the Command button on the Mac, you will need to use the control button in Windows (for example Copy = Ctrl+C).
  • The function keys can be activated in the session by pressing additionally the FN key (for example, FN+F1).
  • The Alt key to the right of the space bar on the Mac keyboard equals the Alt Gr/right Alt key in Windows.

By default, the remote session will use the same keyboard locale as the OS you're running the client on. (If your Mac is running an en-us OS, that will be used for the remote sessions as well.) If the OS keyboard locale is not used, check the keyboard setting on the remote PC and change it manually. See the Remote Desktop Client FAQ for more information about keyboards and locales.

Support for Remote Desktop gateway pluggable authentication and authorization

Windows Server 2012 R2 introduced support for a new authentication method, Remote Desktop Gateway pluggable authentication and authorization, which provides more flexibility for custom authentication routines. You can now try this authentication model with the Mac client.

Important

Custom authentication and authorization models before Windows 8.1 aren't supported, although the article above discusses them.

To learn more about this feature, check out https://aka.ms/paa-sample.

Tip

Questions and comments are always welcome. However, please do NOT post a request for troubleshooting help by using the comment feature at the end of this article. Instead, go to the Remote Desktop client forum and start a new thread. Have a feature suggestion? Tell us in the client user voice forum.

What you need to install Windows 10 on Mac

  • MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2012 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 or later
  • Mac mini introduced in 2012 or later

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  • iMac introduced in 2012 or later1
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later

The latest macOS updates, which can include updates to Boot Camp Assistant. You will use Boot Camp Assistant to install Windows 10.

64GB or more free storage space on your Mac startup disk:

  • Your Mac can have as little as 64GB of free storage space, but at least 128GB of free storage space provides the best experience. Automatic Windows updates require that much space or more.
  • If you have an iMac Pro or Mac Pro with 128GB of memory (RAM) or more, your startup disk needs at least as much free storage space as your Mac has memory.2

An external USB flash drive with a storage capacity of 16GB or more, unless you're using a Mac that doesn't need a flash drive to install Windows.

A 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro on a disk image (ISO) or other installation media. If installing Windows on your Mac for the first time, this must be a full version of Windows, not an upgrade.

  • If your copy of Windows came on a USB flash drive, or you have a Windows product key and no installation disc, download a Windows 10 disk image from Microsoft.
  • If your copy of Windows came on a DVD, you might need to create a disk image of that DVD.

How to install Windows 10 on Mac

To install Windows, use Boot Camp Assistant, which is included with your Mac.

1. Check your Secure Boot setting

Learn how to check your Secure Boot setting. The default Secure Boot setting is Full Security. If you changed it to No Security, change it back to Full Security before installing Windows. After installing Windows, you can use any Secure Boot setting without affecting your ability to start up from Windows.

2. Use Boot Camp Assistant to create a Windows partition

Open Boot Camp Assistant, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. Follow the onscreen instructions.

  • If you're asked to insert a USB drive, plug your USB flash drive into your Mac. Boot Camp Assistant will use it to create a bootable USB drive for Windows installation.
  • When Boot Camp Assistant asks you to set the size of the Windows partition, remember the minimum storage-space requirements in the previous section. Set a partition size that meets your needs, because you can't change its size later.

3. Format the Windows (BOOTCAMP) partition

When Boot Camp Assistant finishes, your Mac restarts to the Windows installer. If the installer asks where to install Windows, select the BOOTCAMP partition and click Format. In most cases, the installer selects and formats the BOOTCAMP partition automatically.

4. Install Windows

Unplug any external devices that aren't necessary during installation. Then click Next and follow the onscreen instructions to begin installing Windows.

5. Use the Boot Camp installer in Windows

After Windows installation completes, your Mac starts up in Windows and opens a ”Welcome to the Boot Camp installer” window. Follow the onscreen instructions to install Boot Camp and Windows support software (drivers). You will be asked to restart when done.

  • If the Boot Camp installer never opens, open the Boot Camp installer manually and use it to complete Boot Camp installation.
  • If you have an external display connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port on your Mac, the display will be blank (black, gray, or blue) for up to 2 minutes during installation.

How to switch between Windows and macOS

Restart, then press and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key during startup to switch between Windows and macOS.

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Learn more

If you have one of these Intel-based Mac models using OS X El Capitan or later, you don't need a USB flash drive to install Windows:

  • MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2017 or later3
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2015 or later3
  • iMac introduced in 2015 or later
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro introduced in late 2013 or later

To remove Windows from your Mac, use Boot Camp Assistant, not any other utility.

For more information about using Windows on your Mac, open Boot Camp Assistant and click the Open Boot Camp Help button.

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1. If you're using an iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014) or iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) or iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) with a 3TB hard drive and macOS Mojave or later, learn about an alert you might see during installation.

2. For example, if your Mac has 128GB of memory, its startup disk must have at least 128GB of storage space available for Windows. To see how much memory your Mac has, choose Apple menu  > About This Mac. To see how much storage space is available, click the Storage tab in the same window.

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3. These Mac models were offered with 128GB hard drives as an option. Apple recommends 256GB or larger hard drives so that you can create a Boot Camp partition of at least 128GB.