Anybody with a need to connect remotely to other computers could stand to have a few tools in their kit that makes this process a little easier. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of virtual network computing (VNC) and remote management tools available for your iPad –which means you no longer need to lug your laptop around the planet with you while you are on vacation in the off chance you are needed. It also means that you can potentially spend your on-call time relaxing somewhere with little umbrellas in the drinks instead of feeling tethered to a computer somewhere out of the sun.
1. VNC Viewer for iOS by RealVNC ($9.99) – If you use any VNC-compatible server technology, this viewer will let you connect from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch remotely and perform any of the actions you need to in order to work with that system (including accessing data, emulating keyboard and mouse movements and all other functions as if you were sitting directly in front of that computer). VNC Viewer can be a very secure method of remote access, dependent on your licensing choices.
2. Screens ($19.99) – Arguably one of the fullest-featured VNC apps out there, Screens lets you connect to Mac, Windows and Linux PCs with very little effort required. My favorite feature of this option is the dock pull that gives you access to your hidden Mac dock with a flick of your finger (which can be tricky with other VNC clients)! Another ‘top of the line’ feature of Screens is the ability for your finger to be the cursor without having to find and move the blinking line on the screen (which doesn’t always work so well when you are connecting remotely, especially with slower screen refreshes happening over lower bandwidth).
3. LogMeIn (Free) – Many of you have likely already used LogMeIn to access your computers remotely and it truly is a fine tool for that purpose. If you are looking for something a little more occasional-use or light-duty, this free version of their app should do the trick. If you decide you just can’t get enough or you need access to the premium features (like file transfers and streaming HD video), there is an option to do an in-app subscription upgrade starting at USD $19.99 for 3 months.