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Screen Sharing in iChat

iChat in Leopard can also be used for screen sharing. You can share a screen with any other Leopard user, and you can do so regardless of which instant messaging system you’re using (.Mac, AOL Instant Messenger, GTalk/Jabber, or Bonjour).

To start a screen-sharing session from iChat, just select the person whose screen you want to share in one of your buddy lists and click the share screen button (the right-most button beneath the buddy list). A pop-up menu will ask whether you want to offer to share your screen with that person or whether you want to ask them to share their screen with you. Regardless of which option you pick, the other person must agree to the request.

Screen sharing in iChat is a little bit different from other forms of screen sharing because it takes place completely in iChat (not in the Screen Sharing application).

When you share someone else’s screen, that screen will fill your Mac’s display (scaled down if need be), and you will see a small representation of your screen as a floating window. If you click on your screen, the two screens will switch, and your screen will be full size with a floating window representing the remote screen (see Figure 3).

You can end the sessions by closing this window or by choosing End Screen Sharing from the iChat icon in the menu bar. You can also drag and drop files between the two screens. Also, while your screens are shared, iChat initiates an audio chat between your two computers.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Screen sharing in iChat

Screen sharing in iChat is a powerful feature (particularly if you are trying to help out a friend or relative with a technical problem or question). It is important to remember, however, that when someone shares your screen they have full access to your computer—so be cautious in responding to screen-sharing requests from people you don’t recognize, particularly if you have Bonjour chat enabled and are using a publicly accessible network.

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