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Start VNCServer on Mac1 EC2 Instance
# YouTube (english) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtU2_bBfSgM
# YouTube (french) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjnaVBnERDU
#
# On your laptop, connect to the Mac instance with SSH (similar to Linux instances)
#
ssh -i <your private key.pem> ec2-user@<your public ip address>
#
# On the Mac
#
# Set a password for ec2-user
sudo passwd ec2-user
# Enable VNC Server (thanks arnib@amazon.com for the feedback and tests)
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart \
-activate -configure -access -on \
-configure -allowAccessFor -specifiedUsers \
-configure -users ec2-user \
-configure -restart -agent -privs -all
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart \
-configure -access -on -privs -all -users ec2-user
exit
#
# On your laptop
# Create a SSH tunnel to VNC and connect from a vnc client using user ec2-user and the password you defined.
#
ssh -L 5900:localhost:5900 -C -N -i <your private key.pem> ec2-user@<your public ip address>
# open another terminal
open vnc://localhost
#
# On the mac EC2 instance, resize the APFS container to match EBS volume size
# https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/ec2-mac-instances.html#mac-instance-increase-volume
#
PDISK=$(diskutil list physical external | head -n1 | cut -d" " -f1)
APFSCONT=$(diskutil list physical external | grep "Apple_APFS" | tr -s " " | cut -d" " -f8)
sudo diskutil repairDisk $PDISK
# Accept the prompt with "y", then paste this command
sudo diskutil apfs resizeContainer $APFSCONT 0
#
# (optional) On the mac EC2 Instance, set screen resolution
# https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/ec2-mac-instances.html#mac-screen-resolution
#
brew tap jakehilborn/jakehilborn && brew install displayplacer
displayplacer list
displayplacer "id:<screenID> res:<width>x<height> origin:(0,0) degree:0"
RES="2560x1600"
displayplacer "id:69784AF1-CD7D-B79B-E5D4-60D937407F68 res:${RES} scaling:off origin:(0,0) degree:0"
@Norbinsh

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@Norbinsh Norbinsh commented Dec 2, 2020

on line #32 i believe it should be "-i", otherwise getting:
'ssh: Could not resolve hostname i: nodename nor servname provided, or not known'

thank you for this gist.

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 2, 2020

fixed. thank you for the fedback

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Dec 4, 2020

I followed the same steps on a windows machine. When I run the command "ssh -L 5900:localhost:5900 -C -N -i macos-catolina.pem ec2-user@ip-address", it is stuck. Any idea why ? Also, do we need to make any changes in the in bound rules of security group ?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 4, 2020

@Sridhar-245 : does a regular SSH works ? If Yes, it is normal the ssl -L -N -C does not return, it creates a tunnel and stay active until you ^C

If regular ssh times out, check the usual : does your instance has a public IP ? Is it in a VPC Subnet with a route to the internet gateway ? Does the Security Group accept TCP 22 from your IP address ?

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@eric-vader eric-vader commented Dec 7, 2020

Thanks for this! It works for me, however, to make this usable, the resolution needs to be increased. I searched around and it seems there is no good solution. Any ideas on how to increase the resolution?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 7, 2020

@eric-vader Currently you cannot increase the resolution. This was a deliberate choice as the mac1 instances are explicitly not designed as virtual workspaces, based on the macOS Software License Agreement

See Section 3 on page 6 "Leasing for Permitted Developer Services." "...Permitted Developer Services means continuous integration services, including but not limited to software development, building software from source, automated testing during software development, and running necessary developer tools to support such activities...."

@GauravP123

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@GauravP123 GauravP123 commented Dec 8, 2020

it's giving me the following error
You cannot control your own screen.

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 8, 2020

@GauravP123 I am sorry - I did not receive such error when I tried. I would suggest to ask the question on the EC2 forum or post a message to our support team (Support is available on the top right side of the AWS console)

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@GauravP123 GauravP123 commented Dec 8, 2020

also m getting Warning: macos 10.14 and later only allows control if Screen Sharing is enabled through System Preferences. is this fine or I have to make any changes?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 8, 2020

@GauravP123 this warning is expected and can be ignored. I tested using MacOS Catalina, I did not try with Mojave. Which OS version are you using on the instance ?

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@GauravP123 GauravP123 commented Dec 8, 2020

I am using macOS Catalina 10.15.7

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 8, 2020

@GauravP123 I can not help further, please ask the question on the EC2 forum or https://console.aws.amazon.com/support/home to the support

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@flhoest flhoest commented Dec 8, 2020

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@jbwasp jbwasp commented Dec 8, 2020

also m getting Warning: macos 10.14 and later only allows control if Screen Sharing is enabled through System Preferences. is this fine or I have to make any changes?

Just enable it once from system preferences>remote management , computer settings> check vnc and set any password. Your script should change the password anyway

@Sridhar-245

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Dec 9, 2020

@Sridhar-245 : does a regular SSH works ? If Yes, it is normal the ssl -L -N -C does not return, it creates a tunnel and stay active until you ^C

If regular ssh times out, check the usual : does your instance has a public IP ? Is it in a VPC Subnet with a route to the internet gateway ? Does the Security Group accept TCP 22 from your IP address ?

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Dec 9, 2020

Thank you very much for responding Sebsto. Yes, the regular SSH works. "does not return" means are you saying it wont establish connection to the Mac machine. Is there any other way to connect to Mac GUI from windows machine.

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@flhoest flhoest commented Dec 9, 2020

also m getting Warning: macos 10.14 and later only allows control if Screen Sharing is enabled through System Preferences. is this fine or I have to make any changes?

Just enable it once from system preferences>remote management , computer settings> check vnc and set any password. Your script should change the password anyway

You cannot do it if you do not have access to the UI .... so check my blog post above, all is explained well enough.

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@jbwasp jbwasp commented Dec 9, 2020

So far it worked for me at least for 200+ MAC users. Generates random vnc password when end user launch the app and terminates vnc service when session ended

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@aidenmitchell aidenmitchell commented Dec 14, 2020

Is there a way to change the VNC resolution?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 15, 2020

@aidenmitchell Currently you cannot increase the resolution. This was a deliberate choice as the mac1 instances are explicitly not designed as virtual workspaces, based on the macOS Software License Agreement

See Section 3 on page 6 "Leasing for Permitted Developer Services." "...Permitted Developer Services means continuous integration services, including but not limited to software development, building software from source, automated testing during software development, and running necessary developer tools to support such activities...."

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Dec 18, 2020

I am running into an issue with Mac Catolina instance that I created. I created a Mac OS Catolina instance with root EBS volume with 75GB. But when I login to the machine and run "df -h", I dont see the EBS Volume (/dev/sda1) in the list and the EBS root volume is not mounted to root. The disk got partitioned to different volumes. Here is the result of df -h:

Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on
/dev/disk2s5 30Gi 10Gi 2.4Gi 82% 488252 312036148 0% /
devfs 230Ki 230Ki 0Bi 100% 796 0 100% /dev
/dev/disk2s1 30Gi 15Gi 2.4Gi 86% 205594 312318806 0% /System/Volumes/Data
/dev/disk2s4 30Gi 2.0Gi 2.4Gi 46% 1 312524399 0% /private/var/vm
map auto_home 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% 0 0 100% /System/Volumes/Data/home
/dev/disk3s1 113Gi 7.6Gi 105Gi 7% 110 1181818330 0% /Volumes/SSD

When I try to install software like XCode, it says there is no enough space. Although I created the EBS volume with 75GB space, I dont find 75 GB space available in the above result. Is there any way we can mount the EBS volume to root and make the 75GB space available in the root. Please help.

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Dec 18, 2020

Please ignore the Bold text. Its unintentional.

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@sebsto sebsto commented Dec 18, 2020

Hello @sridhar-25 Glad to see you managed to connect to the instance.

The last part of the gist has instructions to resize the APFS container and enjoy the full size of your EBS volume.

Repeated here for convenience :

PDISK=$(diskutil list physical external | head -n1 | cut -d" " -f1)
APFSCONT=$(diskutil list physical external | grep "Apple_APFS" | tr -s " " | cut -d" " -f8)
sudo diskutil repairDisk $PDISK
# Accept the prompt with "y", then paste this command
sudo diskutil apfs resizeContainer $APFSCONT 0
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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Dec 18, 2020

Hi @sebsto,

Thank you very much for providing the instructions to resize the APFS container. After running the above commands, I could see the full size of EBS volume mounted on root. I really appreciate the quick response and providing the right solution.....

Regards,
Sridhar.

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@diogocsc diogocsc commented Feb 20, 2021

Thank you @sebsto for sharing this.
I'm running the terminal on a Windows 10 OS.
After I create the tunnel on port 5900 I get the message "bind [127.0.0.1]:5900: Permission denied" .
Should I worry about this ? If so, what can I do to get it right?

Then I open another terminal on Windows and try to run "open vnc://localhost" I get:
'open' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

Where should I be running the open command ?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Feb 20, 2021

@diogocsc the first error seems to indicate the VNC server is not started on macOS. Please check that one before proceeding.
On Windows, open vnc:// ... will not work. You can use any graphical VNC client instead. Check RealVNC or TightVNC for example.

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Feb 26, 2021

Hi @sebsto, I need your assistance. Here is the situation. I am currently using AWS Mac-mini instance for which the EBS Volume is about 90Gi. We have decided to buy a Mac-mini desktop computer for cost reasons. Is there any way I can reuse the content in EBS volume for new mac-mini by cloning it instead of configuring the new mac-mini machine from the scratch ? Thanks in advance!

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@sebsto sebsto commented Feb 26, 2021

Hello @Sridhar-245,
I don't know any tool able to do that.
It is possible to write such a tool using the EBS block level API https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-programmatic-access-to-ebs-snapshot-content/ but would require some programming effort

The best practice I am trying to follow is to script all my mac1 instance installation (incl XCode and the development tools), so that I can reproduce my setup on any machine, in the cloud or on my desktop.

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@Sridhar-245 Sridhar-245 commented Feb 26, 2021

Thank you @sebsto. I will try to go through the API mentioned above will try to find out if there is a way to recreate the configuration.

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@chrisgalousis chrisgalousis commented Mar 18, 2021

vnc is too slow. is the another way to access the mac instance from a windows machine?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Mar 18, 2021

@chrisgalousis : ssh is always my preferred way. Have a look at https://github.com/sebsto/amplify-ios-getting-started/tree/main/code for full instructions how to install Xcode, build and sign your applications, just using the command line

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@chrisgalousis chrisgalousis commented Mar 18, 2021

Thank you @sebsto for your prompt reply. What I am trying to do is testing Microsoft Office files in Mac iOS. When I am in the gui environment thru VNC viewer, everything is too slow... Just to drag a window from place to place it needs 5-6 seconds!!... Is there another remote way?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Mar 18, 2021

Not that I am aware of. VNC is natively integrated into macOS. You might try to start the EC2 instance in a region closer from where you are to reduce latency. (I personally have no such lag between Europe and us-east-2) or explore proprietary remote connection applications that allow to take control of a mac remotely, like the ones listed here https://machow2.com/rdp-for-mac/

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@chrisgalousis chrisgalousis commented Mar 18, 2021

@sebsto perfect! So, I can access the GUI with another remote software, nice!
Also, I have another question. I haven't executed the last part:

_PDISK=$(diskutil list physical external | head -n1 | cut -d" " -f1)
APFSCONT=$(diskutil list physical external | grep "Apple_APFS" | tr -s " " | cut -d" " -f8)
sudo diskutil repairDisk $PDISK

sudo diskutil apfs resizeContainer $APFSCONT 0_
Is that necessary? I run a Win10 laptop.
Update: I have tried the AnyDesk app and I couldn't do anything. I couldn't click anywhere just move the mouse cursor around. Is there anything to do with the vnc? Like a conflict?...

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@sebsto sebsto commented Mar 19, 2021

@chrisgalousis : these commands resize the file system of the mac to match the EBS volume size. They need to be executed on the mac EC2 instance. It doesn't matter if you are using Windows, Mac or Linux on your laptop.

I don't know anything about non VNC based remote desktop app, I would suggest to reach out the user community or software editor to get some support about these tools

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@chrisgalousis chrisgalousis commented Mar 19, 2021

@sebsto where should I run those commands? (the last part) on my laptop or in my Mac instance?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Mar 19, 2021

As explained in the message above

They need to be executed on the mac EC2 instance

And on the initial gist on the top of this page, its says On the mac

#
# On the mac, resize the APFS container to match EBS volume size
#

PDISK=$(diskutil list physical external | head -n1 | cut -d" " -f1)
APFSCONT=$(diskutil list physical external | grep "Apple_APFS" | tr -s " " | cut -d" " -f8)
sudo diskutil repairDisk $PDISK
# Accept the prompt with "y", then paste this command
sudo diskutil apfs resizeContainer $APFSCONT 0
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@chrisgalousis chrisgalousis commented Mar 19, 2021

thank you @sebsto
Update: I have tried Anydesk as a remote app. I can see now a better response.

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@glebsonik glebsonik commented Mar 22, 2021

@sebsto after I followed these steps and trying to create a tunnel by command below

ssh -L 5900:localhost:5900 -C -N -i ec2-user@

then I am facing an error that

bind [127.0.0.1]:5900: Address already in use
channel_setup_fwd_listener_tcpip: cannot listen to port: 5900
Could not request local forwarding
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@sebsto sebsto commented Mar 22, 2021

@glebsonik : this is because port 5900 on your local machine is already used. Maybe you have Screen Sharing enabled ?
You can just use a different port :

ssh -L 5555:localhost:5900 -C -N -i ec2-user@IP_ADDRESS

Then

open vnc://localhost:5555
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@glebsonik glebsonik commented Mar 22, 2021

Thanks a lot @sebsto !!! It works!!!
Cnn this access, that I provided for vnc, be disabled somehow to avoid some insecurity issues?

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@sebsto sebsto commented Mar 22, 2021

@glebsonik. Yes you can disable screen sharing by going to System Preferences => Sharing
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mh11848/mac

or using the same command in the terminal with the option « access off »

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@b3kN b3kN commented Mar 31, 2021

This is fantastic and was very informative for me.

I was becoming very frustrated with not being able to get Xcode installed on AWS mac1.metal AMI for build processes and this helped to cure many headaches.

Understanding that the SSH command opens a tunnel to localhost for my RealVNC was very helpful, as well as the commands to sync up the available disk space after increasing the storage volume.

Thanks for this Gist @sebsto

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@scottmalkie scottmalkie commented May 3, 2021

You can change the screen resolution with EC2 Mac Instances now: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/ec2-mac-instances.html#mac-screen-resolution

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@sebsto sebsto commented May 4, 2021

Thank you @scottmalkie for the update

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