Apache Guacamole for Remote Mac Labs

New Contributor II

I was wondering if anyone has experience with setting up Apache Guacamole to allow remote access to Mac computer labs?


Currently I have setup a test Guacamole environment that is allowing remote connections to the Macs using the inbuilt macOS version of VNC. However the remote session is quite laggy, with a delay as much as 2 seconds. I have tried tweaking the Guacamole VNC settings to see if this can be improved, but haven't managed to find anything that works. I have also tried running realVNC server on the macs and got the same delay. Oddly this delay is not present when remotely connecting a Windows 10 PC via VNC in Guacamole or when I VNC directly into the Macs.

Would appreciate any ideas anyone has about how to rectify the delay.



New Contributor II

For anyone who stumbles upon this in the future, I was able to fix the issue by adjusting the resolution to 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 (we're connecting to iMac Pros). I had to change the resolution for the remote session using a 3rd party utility http://displaymenu.milchimgemuesefach.de as System Preferences didn't seem to correctly adjust the resolution of my remote connections for some reason.

If you are looking for a way to provide students access to remote mac labs, Apache Guacamole works pretty well.

New Contributor II

Hey @elivingston

I'm glad you were able to figure out the resolution adjustment fix!

I am currently hunting down a solution to allow remote access to Mac labs. Did you ever push the use of Apache Guacamole into production. If so, any words of wisdom? We use Citrix for remote access to Windows labs, but as far as I can tell, there is no Citrix Agent for Macs, so I am looking to Apache Guac as a possibility.


@elivingston What applications are being used remote on the iMac Pros? Creative apps? Were you able to solve the latency issues while connecting to Macs?

New Contributor II

Hi @jgrant @thomasC ,
Apologies for the delay getting back to you. I don't jump on here very often.

Yes we ended up pushing out Guacamole to production for our students and it was used quite heavily mainly of students needing xCode. It was also used by Film and TV students for a number of apps, however there are some issues using audio. There are ways to get audio to work by using soundflower to make the audio routable via pulseaudio server running locally on the remote mac, it isn't ideal and not worth the effort. For display latency, that issue can be corrected by using DisplayMenu and adjusting the resolution to 1920x1080. As Display menu doesn't auto launch I created a launch agent to ensure it would start up for our students. As the display setting can be adjusted by users, we informed every student that resolution needed to be set at 1920x1080 to solve the issue.

As students are returning to campus next year, I'm hoping to transition our setup to use Amazon Mac EC2 instances, so we can continue to provide remote macs to the students.

Contributor II

The real question is do you stream audio, and if so, have you found a solid and reliable method to do so? We have been testing PulseAudio, and on M1 hardware, it is virtually unusable.