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Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac: Features, Limitations & Alternatives

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In today's world, where remote work has become the norm, the importance of reliable and efficient remote desktop solutions cannot be overstated. Remote desktop software enables individuals and businesses to access their computers from any location, ensuring productivity and continuity regardless of physical presence.

Among the available options for Mac and PC users, Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac is a recognized tool for accessing Windows machines from Mac computers. However, it comes with several limitations that can hinder its effectiveness for Mac users.

This blog will explore these limitations and evaluate alternatives. Whether you need remote access for business operations, technical support, or personal use, understanding the limitations and alternatives of Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac will help you make an informed decision for your remote desktop needs.

What is Microsoft Remote Desktop?

Microsoft Remote Desktop is a remote access solution designed to allow users to connect to and control a Windows PC or server from another device. This tool is available to Mac users who need to access Windows environments. It enables the full use of Windows applications and resources as if the user were physically present at the Windows machine.

Despite its utility, Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac has notable limitations.

Limitations of Microsoft Remote Desktop App for Mac Users

Mac users often encounter several limitations that can impact their overall experience and productivity while using Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac. Here are some of the key drawbacks:

  1. Limited Feature Set on Mac: The Mac version of Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac lacks several advanced features available in the Windows version. Other features, such as seamless integration with macOS functionalities and full utilization of macOS-specific shortcuts and gestures,, reducing the app's usability for Mac users.

  2. Performance Issues: Users frequently report lag and unreliable connections when using Microsoft Remote Desktop on a Mac. These performance issues can disrupt workflow and make remote sessions frustratingly slow, especially when working with resource-intensive applications.

  3. Security Concerns: Although Microsoft Remote Desktop includes multi-factor authentication, its security protocols are not as robust or comprehensive as those found in more dedicated remote desktop solutions. This can be a critical drawback for businesses requiring stringent security measures.

  4. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Microsoft Remote Desktop is primarily designed for connecting to Windows PCs, offering limited functionality when it comes to accessing non-Windows systems. This lack of comprehensive cross-platform support makes it less versatile for users who need to manage a diverse set of devices.

These limitations highlight the need for a more robust and flexible remote desktop solution, especially for Mac users who require seamless, reliable, and secure remote access.

Alternatives to Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac Users

If you are a Mac user seeking reliable remote desktop solutions, there are several alternatives to Microsoft Remote Desktop that offer superior features and performance. Here are three notable options, with Splashtop leading the pack.

1. Splashtop

Splashtop stands out as the top alternative to Microsoft Remote Desktop, providing a seamless and powerful remote access experience for Mac users. Here’s why Splashtop is the preferred choice:

  • High-Definition Streaming and Low Latency: Splashtop ensures smooth, high-definition streaming with minimal latency, making it ideal for both professional and personal use.

  • Robust Security: With advanced encryption and multi-factor authentication, Splashtop prioritizes your data security, ensuring safe remote sessions.

  • Cross-Platform Support: Unlike Microsoft Remote Desktop, Splashtop offers extensive cross-platform compatibility, supporting Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Linux.

  • Rich Feature Set: Features like file transfer, remote printing, session recording, and chat functionality provide a comprehensive remote access solution.

2. TeamViewer

TeamViewer is another widely used remote desktop solution. However, it comes with several drawbacks:

  • Resource Intensive: TeamViewer can be resource-heavy, impacting system performance, especially on older Mac devices.

  • Limited Free Version: The free version is restricted to non-commercial use, and the paid plans can be quite expensive compared to Splashtop.

  • Audio Issues on Mac: The Mac version of TeamViewer does not support audio transmission, which can be a significant limitation for users needing full multimedia capabilities.

3. AnyDesk

AnyDesk is another common choice for remote desktop access. However, it also has its limitations:

  • Limited Features in Free Version: The free version of AnyDesk is limited to personal use and lacks several advanced features available in the paid versions.

  • Higher Pricing for Advanced Features: To access the full range of features, users must subscribe to more expensive plans, making it less cost-effective than Splashtop.

Splashtop emerges as the superior choice due to its high performance, robust security, extensive cross-platform support, and cost-effective pricing. Splashtop’s comprehensive feature set ensures a seamless and efficient remote access experience, making it the ideal solution for both individual users and businesses.

Comparative Analysis: Splashtop vs. Microsoft Remote Desktop

When comparing Splashtop and Microsoft Remote Desktop, it's clear that Splashtop offers a more comprehensive and user-friendly solution for Mac users. Here’s a detailed comparison highlighting why Splashtop is the superior choice for remote desktop access.

Performance and Reliability


  • High-Definition Streaming: Splashtop provides smooth, high-definition streaming with minimal latency, ensuring an optimal user experience even during demanding tasks.

Microsoft Remote Desktop:

  • Performance Issues: Users often report lag and unreliable connections with Microsoft Remote Desktop, especially on slower networks, which can significantly hinder productivity.

Feature Set


  • Comprehensive Features: Splashtop includes robust features such as file transfer, remote printing, session recording, and chat functionality, making it a versatile tool for various remote access needs.

  • Cross-Platform Support: Splashtop supports a wide range of devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, providing greater flexibility and convenience for users.

  • Security: With advanced encryption and multi-factor authentication, Splashtop ensures secure remote access, protecting sensitive data and user privacy.

Microsoft Remote Desktop:

  • Basic Feature Set: The Mac version of Microsoft Remote Desktop offers a more limited set of features compared to its Windows counterpart and other remote desktop solutions.

  • Lack of Advanced Security Features: While it supports multi-factor authentication, it does not offer the same level of comprehensive security features found in Splashtop.

User Experience


  • High User Satisfaction: Splashtop is known for its intuitive and easy-to-use interface, making it accessible even for non-technical users. The setup process is straightforward, ensuring quick deployment and ease of use. Users consistently rate Splashtop highly for its performance, reliability, and feature set, reflecting its effectiveness as a remote desktop solution.

Microsoft Remote Desktop:

  • Inconsistent User Experience: Due to performance issues and limited features, the overall user experience with Microsoft Remote Desktop on Mac is often inconsistent and less satisfying.

While Microsoft Remote Desktop offers basic remote access capabilities, its limitations make it less suitable for Mac users seeking a reliable and comprehensive solution. Splashtop, with its superior performance, extensive feature set, robust security, and user-friendly interface, clearly stands out as the best choice for remote desktop access on Mac.

By choosing Splashtop, users can ensure seamless, secure, and efficient remote access, enhancing productivity and overall user satisfaction.

How to Use Splashtop Remote Desktop on Your Mac

Setting up and using Splashtop remote desktop on your Mac is a straightforward process designed to provide seamless remote access with minimal effort. Follow these steps to get started with Splashtop on your Mac:

1. Sign Up for a Splashtop Account

First, visit the Splashtop website and sign up for an account. You can choose from various plans depending on your needs, whether for personal use, business, or IT support.

2. Download and Install Splashtop Streamer

Once you have an account, download the Splashtop Streamer application on the computer you want to access remotely.

3. Configure Splashtop Streamer

After installing the Splashtop Streamer, log in with your Splashtop account credentials. You can configure various settings such as security preferences, remote wake (if available), and the devices you want to connect.

4. Install the Splashtop Business App

Next, install the Splashtop Business app on the device you will use to remotely access your computer. This can be another Mac, a Windows PC, or a mobile device (iOS or Android). The app can be downloaded from the Splashtop website or from the app store on your mobile device.

5. Connect to Your Remote Computer

Open the Splashtop Business app on your local device and log in with your Splashtop account. You should see your remote computers listed as available devices. Click on your computer’s name to initiate the connection.

6. Start Using Remote Desktop

Once connected, you can control your desktop as if you were physically present. You can access files, run applications, and perform any necessary tasks with ease. Splashtop’s high-definition streaming ensures a smooth and responsive experience, even over longer distances.

Opt for Splashtop for Seamless Mac Remote Access

Choosing the right remote desktop solution is crucial for ensuring seamless and efficient remote access to your PC from Mac, and Splashtop excels in delivering this experience. Here are compelling reasons why you should opt for Splashtop for your Mac remote access needs:

Superior Performance

Splashtop is renowned for its high-definition streaming and low latency, making remote sessions smooth and responsive. Whether you are accessing resource-intensive applications or simply managing files, Splashtop ensures that your experience is as close to being physically present as possible.

Comprehensive Security

Security is a top priority with Splashtop. It offers robust encryption and multi-factor authentication to protect your remote sessions from unauthorized access. This ensures that your data remains secure, whether you are working remotely from a coffee shop or managing sensitive information from home.

User-Friendly Interface

One of the standout features of Splashtop is its intuitive and easy-to-use interface. The setup process is straightforward, and the user interface is designed to be accessible even for those who are not technically inclined. This makes Splashtop a convenient option for users of all levels of expertise.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Splashtop provides a range of affordable pricing plans tailored to meet different needs, from individual users to large businesses. This cost-effectiveness, combined with the extensive feature set, offers excellent value for money. You can enjoy premium remote access capabilities without breaking the bank.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Unlike Microsoft Remote Desktop, which is primarily focused on Windows systems, Splashtop offers extensive cross-platform support. It allows you to access your computers from a variety of devices, including Windows PCs, iOS, Android, and Linux devices. This versatility ensures that you can stay connected and productive regardless of the device you are using.

Enhanced Productivity Tools

Splashtop goes beyond basic remote access by offering a suite of productivity tools. Features like file transfer, remote printing, session recording, and chat functionality enable you to perform a wide range of tasks efficiently. These tools are particularly beneficial for professionals who need to collaborate and manage their work remotely.

Reliable Customer Support

Splashtop is committed to providing excellent customer service. Users have access to a responsive support team ready to assist with any issues or questions, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. This level of support is a significant advantage, especially for business users who rely on remote access for critical operations.


In the modern world, where remote work is increasingly prevalent, having a reliable and efficient remote desktop solution is essential. While Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac offers basic remote access capabilities, its limitations in performance, features, and user experience make it less suitable for many users.

Splashtop, on the other hand, stands out as the superior choice for remote desktop access on Mac. Whether you need remote access for business operations, technical support, or personal use, Splashtop provides the reliability and functionality you need to stay productive and connected.

Experience the difference for yourself by trying Splashtop with a free trial. Choose Splashtop and take your remote access capabilities to the next level.

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