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  1. Computer Skills
  2. OS X
Computers

How to Remotely Wake a Mac With an iOS Device

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Even though waking a Mac can be as simple as tapping the spacebar on its keyboard, there are times when you may not have direct access to a Mac and need to wake to access files remotely, screen share, or access a Mac in some other way. 

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to configure Wake On LAN, so you can remotely wake a Mac on its local network, and Wake On WAN so you can wake a Mac via the web.

Enabling Wake On Demand

Launch System Preferences and click on the Energy Saver option that's located on the second row of icons. 

Enabling Wake On LAN
Enabling Wake On LAN on the Mac. 

Look towards the center of the window underneath the Computer sleep and Display sleep sliders and check the option for Wake for Network Access

If you're on a MacBook, click into the Power Adapter tab from the top of the window. This has enabled wake on LAN on the Mac.

Finding a Macs IP address using System Preferences Network pane
Finding the Mac's IP address using System Preference's Network pane. 

Make note of the Mac's IP address. To find this address, look to the upper left-hand corner of the System Preferences window and click the Show All button. 

From the main System Preferences window, click the Network button from the third row of options. 

From the sidebar, select the way the computer connects to the internet (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc), and look towards the center of the window to find the IP address under the connection Status

Remotely Waking the Mac From an iPhone (LAN) 

Download a wake on LAN app for the iOS device. In this tutorial, I'm using iNet WOL, a $1.99 app from the Mac App Store. Before continuing, ensure the Mac you are waking is on the same network as the iOS device.

When first launching iNet WOL, you'll be shown a favorite computers list. To add computers to the list, look towards the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click on the white plus button. 

Adding a favorite device to your list of devices in iNet WOL
Adding a favorite device to the list of devices in iNet WOL. 

Towards the center of the window click the Search network for devices... button to see all devices on the network. To find the computer you're attempting to wake, look under each of the device's names and compare the device's IP address to the Mac's IP. 

When you find the match, tap on the Mac to select it, and tap on the Add selected button from the lower left-hand corner of the screen. You can remotely wake the Mac from iNet WOL by clicking on the device's name from the app's home screen.

Note: If you're having issues waking the Mac after following these steps, you may want to set the computer to use a static IP to connect to the local network. A static IP is an IP address that doesn't change, unlike a standard dynamic IP address.

Setting a Static IP on the Mac

Configuring your Mac to use a static IP address on the local network
Configuring the Mac to use a static IP address on the local network.
  • Using Spotlight or the Applications folder, launch System Preferences
  • Click on the Network button
  • Click on the active connection and click the Advanced button from the bottom right-hand corner of the window
  • Click into the TCP/IP tab
  • Select Using DHCP with manual address from the Configure IPv4 drop-down menu
  • In the IPv4 text box, give the Mac a non-conflicting IP address that's outside of the normal range of IP addresses on the network
  • Click the OK button
  • Click the Apply button

You’ll now need to re-add the Mac to the favorites in iNet WOL by following the steps above and searching for the computer's static IP address.

Waking a Mac via the Internet

In order to remotely wake a Mac over the internet, you will have to open a port on the router you use to access the internet. 

Since there is a large number of routers on the market, it's impossible for me to cover the process for each individual router in this tutorial. The same ports, however, must be forwarded for all routers, so I've put a basic overview of how to configure a router for remote wake on WAN below.

Log into the router's web interface. If you need help doing this, please refer to the router's manual to find address you must enter into the web browser to access this interface. 

Find where you can set port forwarding rules in the router, and add a new port forwarding rule. Set the protocol to UDP and the destination port public and private ports as port 9 to forward to the Mac's IP. Some routers also may let you select the Mac from a list of devices on the network.

Waking a Mac via the Internet From an iOS Device

In iNet WOL, you can update the existing favorites to support waking a Mac via the internet. To do this, launch the app and tap on the plus button from the upper right hand corner of the screen. From the list of computers, select the favorite you'd like to configure for waking via the internet. 

Setting wake on WAN in iNet WOL
Setting wake on WAN in iNet WOL.

Look towards the center of the screen under the Connection Settings header and tap on the Via internet button. Enter the network's public IP address into the Host field. You can use What’s my IP to help you find this.

Test the configuration by disconnecting the iOS device from the local network and waking the Mac using iNet WOL. If the Mac wakes successfully, the setup is working. If it doesn't double check the IP and MAC addresses in iNet WOL.

Conclusion

Remotely waking a Mac on a local network, and over the Internet, is possible using an iOS device. You can now wake a Mac anywhere you have internet access. 

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