A little while back, Ubuntu made a subtle change that broke Desktop Sharing to Mac computers. I keep a headless server upstairs to serve media files across my network, so screen sharing is essential to manage the server. However, when Ubuntu made their change – requiring encryption on the VNC connection – Macs lost the ability to connect.
When attempting to connect to the Ubuntu server, your Mac will fail with the following error message:
Connection failed to “[User’s] remote desktop on [Hostname]”. The software on the remote computer appears to be incompatible with this version of Screen Sharing.
Fortunately, there’s a quick fix for this on the Ubuntu side (also works on alternative Ubuntu-based distros like Mint). Follow the steps below to disable encryption on your Remote Desktop connections. First up though, here’s my Mint Desktop Sharing config screen – it’s set up to allow connections on the local network with a password required for access.
- Install the dconf-tools by opening the Terminal and typing ‘sudo apt-get install dconf-tools’
- When that’s complete, open the newly installed dconf Editor
- Expand ‘org’
- Expand ‘gnome’
- Expand ‘Desktop’
- Select ‘Remote Access’
- Uncheck ‘Require Encrption'(don’t click on Set to Default as it rechecks it)
- Exit dconf-Editor
Here’s a quick screenshot showing how your dconf screen should look:
I was able to immediately connect to the server from my MacBook after making this tweak. However, if this doesn’t resolve the problem for you, try a reboot of your Ubuntu/Linux Mint machine.