How to connect to Windows using RDP on Mac

If you would google this type of article back in 2004, you would get nothing, as both operating systems gave quite a cold shoulder to each other, but today thanks to globalization and many other factors Windows and Mac have become much closer and open. Nowadays you can have a Mac (at least 10.10 version or higher) and connect to Windows without any problem thanks to the RDP client published by Microsoft itself on the AppStore. 

RDP. Explanation

RDP or Remote Desktop Protocol is developed by Microsoft. Well not exactly, it was bought from the PictureTel and then got tinkered by the aforementioned company. The remote desktop connection may be initialized from any modern Windows OS starting from Windows XP. It has a nice friendly GUI and allows the user to have full access to the server allowing the user to use the mouse and keyboard the same as if he would use the desktop PC in front of him. 

RDP is an exclusive software to the Windows ecosystem though you cannot use it outside of this system, at least when Windows have developed the appropriate client for macOS. 

Since it has a client/server architecture that means that the RDP client is your desktop PC and the server is the endpoint you’re trying to reach. 

The main thing you need to remember is that it is possible to connect only 1 person to Windows 10. If you wish to connect with another user, the former one would be asked to cancel his current session. That’s why we always suggest using Server versions of the OS, where you are not limited in RDP connections. One more thing to remember is that on Windows Server only  2 connections are free and if you wish to have more you need to pay for them. 

Step-by-step guide on how to connect to Windows from macOS

Since it is a proprietary technology from Microsoft, macOS does not have any in-built software to connect to Windows (what a blasphemy, huh?). Anyway here are the steps on how to achieve it. 

Step 1: Open your AppSore by navigating to the Dock or by Using LaunchPad =>AppStore

how to connect to windows using rdp on mac

Step 2: Hit search and type RDP and then choose the RDP client from Microsoft (the red one) 

how to connect to windows using rdp on mac

Step 3: Once the installation is completed, click on the Launchpad icon in Dock and click on Microsoft Remote Desktop and add the desktop you need to connect to by clicking on “+” button.

how to connect to windows using rdp on mac

Step 4: Enter the IP address of the server you want to connect to. Optionally if you set the Login and Password, (which we strongly advise you to do so) enter them as well so you won’t need to enter them each time you connect to the system. 

how to connect to windows using rdp on mac

That’s it. Now you should be able to connect to your server. But what if you cannot connect to it because RDP is not enabled on your Windows 10?

How to enable RDP on Windows 10?

Actually, it’s not so difficult. 

Step 1: Hit Ctrl+S and type Remote Desktop Settings and click on it.

how to connect to windows using rdp on mac

Step 2: Click on the toggle switch of Enable Remote Desktop, and click Confirm.

Make sure that your Windows Desktop OS is at least Enterprise or Pro otherwise you’ll encounter such a window.

how to connect to windows using rdp on mac

Improve the security of your RDP connection

This article won’t be complete without general advice regarding security.

Complex passwords 

Yeah, complex passwords rule. Use something complicated like 12-20 symbol passwords which consist of small and capital letters numbers and symbols. For example:

  • B@Ntt9rCYcD!bdd 
  • FmZgBja-Dy2Jta.
  • iCUk49T.6.9eJ7s

Those passwords are extremely difficult to brute force. You’ve might heard that a couple of freshly new Nvidia Geforce RTX 4090 can brute force it but trust us, such kinds of passwords will take ages to decipher even for them. The initial experiment was set to crack 8 characters password. 15 is twice as harder and the more it gets the exponentially more time they need to crack it with each symbol. 


So here you have it. With this short article, you will be able to quickly set up a secured RDP connection with your server. Make sure to order a Windows Server from the best, ahem, us - the BlueVPS. 🙂

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