Mac Screen Sharing Not Working: 9 Possible Reasons and Fixes

The ability to share your Mac’s screen with other Macs can be an extremely useful tool. Many in tech support and other professions rely on this feature. If you use screen sharing or are attempting to use it, it can be frustrating if it is not working on your system.

It’s not uncommon to have this issue; in most cases, it is caused by one of the reasons below.

  • Screen sharing disabled
  • No Admin privileges
  • Remote Management Interfering
  • Not on the same network
  • Screen recording access is disabled
  • Mac is going into sleep mode
  • The system needs a reboot
  • Firewall blocking access
  • mac OS needs an update

My name is Eric, and as a software engineer for 25 years and a computer enthusiast for even more, I have seen many system problems such as this one. With many possible causes, there are multiple solutions, and we often have to try a variety of them, starting with the most common.

If you are having problems getting your Mac’s screen sharing to work, continue reading below, and I will go through some of the possible problems and their solutions.

Mac Screen Sharing Not Working: Causes & Fixes

As you have seen above, there are various reasons that Mac screen sharing may not be working. Below are some of the most common issues with the fixes you can try for each. Let’s start and see if we can solve your Mac’s screen-sharing problem.

1. Screen Sharing Service not Enabled

This is probably the most common cause of screen sharing not working on your Mac, and thankfully, it is also one of the easier ones to fix. The problem is that the screen-sharing service is simply not enabled. 

Either you never turned it on, or it was somehow disabled by accident or by another application that may have turned it off for one reason or another. In any case, this is easy to check and fix if you find it is not enabled. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open System Settings.

Click on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of the screen and select System Settings from the menu.

Step 2: Select General from the left side panel.

In System Settings, click General in the left side panel to select the General settings.

Step 3: Select Sharing under the General settings.

On the right side of the screen, click on Sharing.

Step 4: Check Screen Sharing.

Check the Screen Sharing setting. This is probably your issue if it is turned off, as shown below.

Step 5: Turn Screen Sharing on.

If Screen Sharing is off in the previous step, you can turn it on by clicking on the switch on the right side of the property, as shown below. Once you click on it, it should show that it is turned on.

Step 6: Check to see if Screen Sharing is working.

Now that it is enabled, you can try screen sharing and see if it works. Hopefully, this will solve your problem.

2. No Admin Privileges

Most of us already have administrative privileges on our own Mac, but if you’re using a shared computer or, for some reason, the account you use to log in is not an admin account, this will prevent you from being able to screen share.

You need to be logged into an Admin account to get screen sharing to work. The simple solution for this is to log in with an admin account. You can check to see if your account has admin permissions by going to System Settings, typing user in the search field, and then selecting User & Groups.

Look for your account and check that it has the word Admin below it, as shown above.

3. Remote Management Interfering

If you have Remote Management turned on, it will prevent screen sharing from working. Even if you had Screen Sharing enabled first, turning on Remote Management will disable Screen sharing. 

You can check this by going to the Sharing properties and looking. Use the steps below to do this.

Step 1: Open System Settings.

Click on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of the screen and select System Settings from the menu.

Step 2: Select General from the left side panel.

In System Settings, click on General in the left side panel to select the General settings.

Step 3: Select Sharing under the General settings.

On the right side of the screen, click on Sharing.

Step 4: Check Remote Management.

Look for the Remote Management setting and check if it is turned on. If it is, it will look similar to the image below.

As you can see, when it is turned on, it has disabled Screen Sharing. You can see the message in the image above stating that the service is not currently available.

Step 5: Turn Remote Management off.

Suppose you found that Remote Management was on in the previous step. Click on the switch next to Remote Management to turn it off. 

Step 6: Turn Screen Sharing on.

Now that you have turned Remote Management off, you can turn Screen Sharing back on. Just click on the switch to the right of the Screen Sharing item, as shown below. The switch will turn blue, and you will see on the left side a green light showing that it is on.

Step 7: Try Screen Sharing again and see if it works.

4. Not on the Same Network

Mac’s screen-sharing feature only works if both computers are on the same network. Ensure that both Macs are connected to the network and that the network they are connected to is the same. You can easily check this in your wifi or network settings on each system.

5. Screen Recording Access Disabled

Many screen-sharing apps can record the screen-sharing session, and usually, the first time you run the application, it will ask for permission to do so with a message similar to the one below.

If you hit the deny button on purpose or by accident, it will disable this feature, preventing your screen sharing from working, especially if anyone needs to record the session. You can go into System Settings, select Privacy and Security settings, and then Screen Recording, and you will see the application’s settings.

Click on the switch for the application you are using to turn Screen Recording on. You can now go and try screen sharing again and see if it works.

6. Mac going into Sleep Mode

This can typically happen while you are in the middle of screen sharing. Suddenly the screen share session is interrupted. This can often be due to one of the systems going to sleep.  When participating in screen sharing, you should disable screen locking features.

You will find them in System Settings under Lock Screen.

You can change all of the settings above to either a long period of time, such as three hours, or you can set them to Never. This will prevent your screen from going to sleep while sharing if one has no activity for an extended period.

7. The System Needs a Reboot

The good ole system reboot can often fix several odd system problems, especially if you have not restarted your system for an extended period. Multiple background processes can often run in memory, and glitches can occur that can have system-wide effects.

Restarting your system will also force all of your applications to quit, including your screen-sharing app. If one of your applications is causing the conflict, this will shut that app down and alleviate your problem.

If you haven’t already tried it, try it and see if it makes any difference. It may sound too simple of a solution, but it often works, and you can then go about your screen-sharing tasks as needed.

8. Firewall Blocking Access

If you have a firewall enabled on your Mac, it could be blocking your screen-sharing application. Firewalls protect our computers from unwanted intruders, but sometimes we need to tell them what applications we can allow access to.

Your Mac’s built-in firewall may not even be enabled, but if it is, you may need to add specific screen-sharing applications to the list of allowed connections. You can see if your Firewall is enabled by going to System Settings, then selecting Network and Firewall.

If your Firewall is enabled, you will see the setting switched on if your Firewall is enabled, as shown below.

Click on the Options button to see if your application is allowed. If not, you can click on the + symbol, as shown below, to add it. The basic screen-sharing property should already be allowed if you have already enabled screen-sharing from the steps above. You will see it in the Firewall properties, as shown below.

9. OS Needs an Update

While it doesn’t usually prevent things from working, it is possible that an out-of-date macOS can cause a problem like this. In fact, an out-of-date macOS can cause many strange behaviors.

In any case, updating your macOS in situations like this is always a good idea, especially if it is out of date. You can check to see if yours needs an update by opening System Settings and looking just under your login id. If you need an update, it will say Software Update Available, as shown below.

You can perform the update by clicking on Software Update Available. Once you reach the Software update window, click on the Restart Now button, and your system will start the update.

Look at Apple Support for more information on updating your system to the latest macOS.


Screen sharing can be a complicated process, no matter what application you are using to do it. Because of this, there are a variety of problems that can keep screen sharing from working. I have listed some of the most common ones above and their solutions.

I hope one or more of the solutions I have listed can help you get your screen sharing working again. Let me know if you find other solutions that work for you. I would love to have your feedback and learn from your experiences.

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