Many people love the ease and elegance of Apple products, but did you know that with a bit of clever engineering, it is possible to access your Windows only Application from other devices? We do this for many of our clients through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Service.
Apple ships a basic RDP client with the Mac, but this has limitations if you intend to use an RD Gateway like we do for additional security. However all is not lost. There are other applications out there, and here’s a brief summary of our experience:
The best Mac/iDevice app to use that supports RD Gateways is called Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD) and is available via the App store at no cost. This app currently requires OSX 10.7 or iOS 7.0 or later. This requirement usually changes when new OSs are released so be careful to check this before you install.
Recently we have seen this app have major problems with iOS 8.0 in that it will not work with the RD Gateway properly as well as causing session crashes due to some of the passed through touchscreen gestures. We do not know at this time if either problem is fixed in iOS 8.3.
For people that do have these problems the other two choices are apps called 2X and CoRD. Both are free and have similar OS requirements as MRD. However neither supports the use of the RD Gateway.
Our Customers have reported 2X is actually a lot more fluid and adjust the display settings better than MRD when connecting to the server, and it does not suffer from the session crashing issue either with the touchscreen gestures.
We no longer recommend CoRD. It appears to no longer being updated or may even now be removed from the app store. It’s ability to forward printing devices from OSX was also deprecated some time ago with official word from the developer that they essentially have no intention to ever fix it.
if you do try an OSX update keep in mind that you may be running other software that will not work with the new OSX version without also being upgraded (usually at a cost). One very good example of this is Parallels. We’ve not yet seen a version of Parallels that will run on multiple OSX versions. You will have to also upgrade their Parallels version or abandon their Windows VM.
Also note that upgrading OSX is only free of charge for users upgrading from 10.6.8 or later to 10.10.3 (Yosemite). Mavericks is no longer available on the Mac App store and if you do not wish to upgrade to 10.10.3 you will have to purchase the intermediary versions e.g. 10.7, 10.8 etc. as these are not provided free.
If connecting from an Android phone or tablet then Microsoft Remote Desktop is also available from the Play Store as is 2X. The required Android version varies between devices so best method is just to test it.