Observe multiple client computers

You can observe multiple clients in the same window, cycling through the list of observed computers. This allows you to monitor many screens without having to select each one individually. If a screen saver is active when you observe the screen, the screen saver remains in effect. A Remote Desktop administrator can observe any client computer that has the Observe permission selected in Sharing preferences. For information about Remote Desktop permissions, see About access privileges.

Observe multiple client computers

When you’re observing multiple computers, each screen is scaled down so that several computers can be viewed simultaneously.

  1. In the Remote Desktop window, select a computer list, then select two or more computers.

  2. Choose Interact > Observe.

  3. Click Advance screen button to automatically advance to the next group of screens after a period of time (press the spacebar to pause the advanced to the next group). To manually move to the previous or next group of screens, click View previous screens button or View more screens button (you can also use the left and right arrow keys to move between groups of screens).

    You can also swipe right or left with two fingers on a trackpad or with one finger on a Magic Mouse to view the next or previous group of screens. When pages are advancing automatically, touch and hold two fingers on a trackpad or one finger on a Magic Mouse to temporarily pause it.

For information about using the toolbar to interact with computers you’re observing, see Multi-client observe window.

Change observe settings

While you’re observing multiple computers, you can adjust the Remote Desktop observe settings.

  1. While observing multiple computers, click View options button in the toolbar.

  2. Change the observe settings:

    Advance: Choose to scroll through multiple computers by page, column, or continuously.

    Arrange: Choose to display screens in list order by row or column.

    Page Delay: Adjust the number of seconds before automatically advancing to the next page of screens.

    Computers Per Page: Adjust the number of client screens visible on each page.

    Image Quality: Adjust the screen color depth from black and white to millions of colors.If you’re observing a computer with Remote Desktop client version 3.2 or later installed, drag the slider to the second notch from the right to use the Adaptive Quality Codec. This codec improves screen sharing performance over slower network connections like DSL.

Change the information you see for each computer

You can view information about each computer you’re observing. You can display a picture of the logged-in user, the computer’s name, the computer’s status, and more.

  1. While observing multiple computers, click View Options in the toolbar.

  2. Select Display Computer Information.

  3. Choose what to display:

    Title: Choose the title to display for each computer screen. You can choose any of the following:

    • Name (computer name)

    • IP Address

    • Hostname

    Account picture: Select this to display the account picture of the user logged in to the computer. The account picture is whatever was set for the user in Users & Groups preferences.

    Computer status: Select this to show a colored status icon for each computer.

    Use shapes for status: Select this to give a distinctive shape to the computer status icon.

If there isn’t room to display computer information effectively (for example, because you’re observing a large number of computers or you resize the observe window), the information disappears until there’s enough space in the window to display it again.

If you choose to see computer status, you see information about each computer’s CPU usage, disk usage, and free memory. There are two levels of detail for system status icons. To show the second level of detail, place the pointer over the high-level status icon so it changes to an “i,” then click the “i” to get more information.