Microsoft Remote Desktop updated for Apple Silicon

Posted:
in Mac Software
Microsoft has released an update to its Remote Desktop app to natively support Apple Silicon on M1 Macs.

Microsoft Remote Desktop
Microsoft Remote Desktop


Microsoft's long-standing Remote Desktop application lets Mac users connect and use PCs, or virtual Windows apps. Rather than running Windows on the Mac itself, it's a remote connectivity solution which now works natively on M1 Macs.

"In this release we've made some significant updates to the shared underlying code that powers the Remote Desktop experience across all our clients," says Microsoft in its Mac App Store listing.

The most significant update is the native support for M1, but the new release also "addressed macOS 11 compatibility issues." It now requires macOS 10.14 or later.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,610member
    I’ve always been impressed with the performance of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop client app and the underlying RDP protocol. Two things always come to mind when I see it mentioned:

    1) To use it you’ll need to have Windows 10 Pro on the remote machine, not Windows 10 Home. 
    2) Why doesn’t Apple offer a similar app for free to support the same capability for Mac targets? It’s $80 for an app that has a 2-star rating on the App Store.

    I know that there are plenty of VNC flavored clients out there for accessing a remote Mac. But once you’ve experienced the performance difference between Microsoft Remote Desktop versus any VNC type of client, you’ll never want to use the latter unless you have no choice.
    CloudTalkintwokatmewjony0
  • Reply 2 of 10
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 725member
    dewme said:
    I’ve always been impressed with the performance of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop client app and the underlying RDP protocol. Two things always come to mind when I see it mentioned:

    1) To use it you’ll need to have Windows 10 Pro on the remote machine, not Windows 10 Home. 
    2) Why doesn’t Apple offer a similar app for free to support the same capability for Mac targets? It’s $80 for an app that has a 2-star rating on the App Store.

    I know that there are plenty of VNC flavored clients out there for accessing a remote Mac. But once you’ve experienced the performance difference between Microsoft Remote Desktop versus any VNC type of client, you’ll never want to use the latter unless you have no choice.
    https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/share-the-screen-of-another-mac-mh14066/mac
     
    /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Screen Sharing.app
  • Reply 3 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,610member
    fahlman said:
    dewme said:
    I’ve always been impressed with the performance of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop client app and the underlying RDP protocol. Two things always come to mind when I see it mentioned:

    1) To use it you’ll need to have Windows 10 Pro on the remote machine, not Windows 10 Home. 
    2) Why doesn’t Apple offer a similar app for free to support the same capability for Mac targets? It’s $80 for an app that has a 2-star rating on the App Store.

    I know that there are plenty of VNC flavored clients out there for accessing a remote Mac. But once you’ve experienced the performance difference between Microsoft Remote Desktop versus any VNC type of client, you’ll never want to use the latter unless you have no choice.
    https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/share-the-screen-of-another-mac-mh14066/mac
     
    /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Screen Sharing.app
    This is for a different use case than the one Microsoft Remote Desktop supports. Remote Desktop replaces the interactive Windows session on the target machine with the Remote Desktop client on the remote machine. It’s not screen sharing which is part of the reason it’s so fast. Give it a try. 
  • Reply 4 of 10
    looplessloopless Posts: 197member
    Exactly, Windows Remote Desktop on Mac is outstanding, and in some ways better than the Windows client. Is extremely fast and has been a life-saver for remote work from home to office PCs.
    CloudTalkin
  • Reply 5 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,610member
    loopless said:
    Exactly, Windows Remote Desktop on Mac is outstanding, and in some ways better than the Windows client. Is extremely fast and has been a life-saver for remote work from home to office PCs.
    Concur. Being able to remote into multiple sessions and remote directly into VMs on the server/target machine is a big plus. On a LAN or halfway decent internet connection running the RDP client even on a older machine running Linux (remmina) is nearly as fast as running local. I even use it with Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu Mate. It’s been a boon for WFH folks, but I’ve been using it for several years.
    edited April 15 muthuk_vanalingamCloudTalkinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 10
    IIRC, RDP was developed from the open source X-windows tool (I think Citrix licensed the code to Microsoft, who further developed it). You used to be able to get X11 clients for the Mac but I haven't looked for one in years.

    As I understand it, VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is simply sending the contents of the screen across the network - screen sharing. This can work pretty well over a fast enough connection, but the only way to improve the speed is to drop the colour fidelity. RDP, on the other hand, leverages the native OS frameworks - on the remote machine, the GUI primitives ("draw a window at these coordinates, with this content") are tracked, sent across the network to the local machine, translated if necessary, and executed. User interaction is transmitted as events ("Mouse down at these coordinates") from the local machine to the remote one. By reducing things to instructions rather than results you get a much more efficient compression of the data that needs to travel across the network, resulting in improved performance. You still have to wait for data-intensive items, like images or videos, but overall it is much, much quicker and more responsive than screen sharing.
    jony0
  • Reply 7 of 10
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 568member
    dewme said:
    fahlman said:
    dewme said:
    I’ve always been impressed with the performance of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop client app and the underlying RDP protocol. Two things always come to mind when I see it mentioned:

    1) To use it you’ll need to have Windows 10 Pro on the remote machine, not Windows 10 Home. 
    2) Why doesn’t Apple offer a similar app for free to support the same capability for Mac targets? It’s $80 for an app that has a 2-star rating on the App Store.

    I know that there are plenty of VNC flavored clients out there for accessing a remote Mac. But once you’ve experienced the performance difference between Microsoft Remote Desktop versus any VNC type of client, you’ll never want to use the latter unless you have no choice.
    https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/share-the-screen-of-another-mac-mh14066/mac
     
    /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Screen Sharing.app
    This is for a different use case than the one Microsoft Remote Desktop supports. Remote Desktop replaces the interactive Windows session on the target machine with the Remote Desktop client on the remote machine. It’s not screen sharing which is part of the reason it’s so fast. Give it a try. 
    And you're wrong.

    Screen Sharing on the Mac can mirror an existing, logged in user, or you can log in as a different user.  Performance is not related to taking over the interactive session on the host.  And RDP can have a different user than is currently, interactively using the host, but the interactive user is screwed - they get a black screen when RDP session takes over.

    I actually find Screen Sharing better performing than Microsoft RDP - I use both daily, sometimes several hours a day.  Performance is often most limited by bandwidth between the host & the remote client.  On a 1Gb, good, wired network, screen sharing beats RDP every time.

    Screen sharing also has no limits to the number of sessions on the host.  Windows Pro only allows two, and if a real person is using the host interactively, they are screwed, even if you don't want to use the same account.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 10
    elehcdnelehcdn Posts: 385member
    dewme said:

    I know that there are plenty of VNC flavored clients out there for accessing a remote Mac. But once you’ve experienced the performance difference between Microsoft Remote Desktop versus any VNC type of client, you’ll never want to use the latter unless you have no choice.
    Why bother to use a VNC client? If you use the Go -> Connect to Server in the Finder, you can Browse to find the remote Mac, then choose to share screen. Or the quick way is to use the cmd-K shortcut, then type VNC into the search window and address or computer name. 
  • Reply 9 of 10
    looplessloopless Posts: 197member
    Not to belabor the point but the difference between Remote Desktop and screen sharing is this. I have a 27” iMac at home. I get a full 5K windows desktop when I log in remotely to my windows machine - far more screen real estate and pixels than when I was physically at work on my 24” Dell monitor. That’s not simple “screen sharing” like VNC which just shows you a copy of the remote screen. 
  • Reply 10 of 10
    Remote Desktop is a great app but it exists for one reason: To force Windows users to upgrade to the Pro version of the operating system. You have to be running Windows Pro in order to use the remote desktop feature of the OS. This is a huge expense for developers that have to run the OS on many systems for testing purposes.
    Apple has a similar stupid restriction in their own screen sharing software which requires an expensive purchase before users can support their elderly parents or grandparents via screen sharing but unlike Remote Desktop, Apple's screen sharing is too buggy to be used.
    edited April 16
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