The Best Remote Desktop Apps For The iPad

Do you have an iPad and a home or work computer?  Most of us do.  There comes a time in everyone’s iPad life that you might want to access your home or work computer.  The remote desktop apps for the iPad let you do exactly that. They provide a way for you to access the desktop of a remote computer as if you were sitting there right on the computer.  Traditionally this has been a favorite of IT pros because they can manage their servers and desktops remotely but more and more it’s being used by consumers as well.  If you really want to see just how amazingly useful your iPad can be, read on to learn about the top-rated remote desktop apps and what they can do for you.

Two Ways To Use Remote Desktop

Before we dive in to the top apps, there are two ways you can access your desktop remotely.

  1. One way is to use a VPN.  A VPN is a Virtual Private Network (for those that don’t know).  You set this up via Settings > General > Network > VPN.  Once there, you will tap on Add VPN Configuration and then you can enter in the appropriate information for your environment.  There are three choices:  L2TP, PPTP, and IPSec.  Each one has various settings and to configure them, you will need to have a Firewall which supports one or all of these protocols.  Most firewalls have VPN capability but be aware that they are not all compatible with the iPad.
  2. The other way is with an application you install on  your home or work computer. This application communicates with your iPad remote desktop app and allows you to access your desktop.  These applications use either RDP or VNC.  Clearly, this is the easier of the two methods but also the more expensive one too.

The Best Remote Desktop Apps For The iPad

Here we look at five of the best remote desktop apps for the iPad that do not require a VPN.  There are some great remote desktop apps that use VPN’s to make connections but configuring a VPN depends on so many other factors and we will cover those in another article.  Wondering what you could do with one of these apps?  One thing you could do is run a great meeting.  Imagine you have the VGA adapter for your iPad and you want to give a presentation but your Powerpoint file is on your home/work computer.  No problem – just remote in and display the slide show from the remote computer.  That’s just one example of how useful these can be, but let us know which ones you use and how you make the best use of it.

LogMeIn Ignition

logmein

LogMeIn has been a leader in remote desktop access for quite some time – they were around long before the iPad.  This is one of the best remote desktop apps because of it’s simplicity and ease of use.  You can remotely access one or more computers anywhere and at anytime (providing you have an internet connection either Wi-Fi or 3G).  In order to use this app you create a free account at LogMeIn.com, download the free software to your Mac or PC, purchase the iPad app and that’s it.

It’s really that easy.  No VPN required.  While LogMeIn does cost $29.99 it is well worth it considering that it’s stable, well supported, and so easy to use.

LogMeIn

Jump Desktop

jump

Jump Desktop is another one of the best remote desktop apps for the iPad based on it’s simple setup and huge feature-set.  It is the only remote desktop app that supports all versions of Windows, audio streaming, and both VNC/RDP (these are two different remote protocols).  This app does not support the Mac. They have made it very easy to setup. All you do is visit http://www.jumpdesktop.com, click the Setup link, install the app on your iPad and you will be up and running.

Jump Desktop also supports the iPad’s bluetooth keyboard to make it even more useful. It also supports the iPad’s video out feature so you can see your desktop on a big screen should you want to.  At $19.99 it is a little cheaper than LogMeIn.

Jump

Desktop Connect

desktop connect

Desktop connect is one of the best remote desktop apps for the iPad if you want to connect to Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux.  It also happens to be the only remote desktop app that auto-discovers all available computers on your network.  It also allows you to view websites with Adobe Flash and since it supports RDP or VNS, the install is a simple few step process.  No VPN’s are required to use Desktop Connect.  Concerned about security?  This remote desktop app also supports 128-bit SSL encryption.

This app has consistently received a 4+ rating after a few minor glitches that were fixed in a previous update.  It is currently selling for $14.99.

Desktop

iTap RDP Client

itap

Here is one of the best remote desktop apps for the iPad if you want some advanced features and added functionality.  iTap is a 3.5+ rated remote desktop app that is easy to setup and use with virtually nothing to configure.  To use it, you download some software (a receiver) on your Mac or PC and then it will communicate with your iPad app and provide full access to your desktop.  iTap supports everything from XP to Windows 7 (and Mac OSX).

It also supports screen sizes up to 4096×2048 pixels.  Something nice about iTap is its ability to reduce bandwidth consumption when using it on a 3G network.  This allows you to have a much smoother remote session rather than one which is choppy or disconnects.  Another unique feature of iTap is the ability to have remote programs launch automatically when you login.

A great app without a ton of complaints (other than the usual feature-requests).  It is listed at $11.99.

iTap

iTeleport For iPad

iTeleport

iTeleport is one of the best remote desktop apps for the iPad if you are looking for an easy way to connect to your Mac, Linux, or Windows PC.  This app has an intuitive interface that is patent-pending and connects using the VNC protocol.  It has a fully automated setup that is extremely simple, fast, and even allows you to view Flash right on your iPad.  iTeleport supports virtually any desktop size/resolution, full mouse and keyboard support, and it uses your Google sign-in for universal access.

The only complaints so far with this app is the lack of support for RDP (Remote desktop protocol).  Due to that, you have to have a Google account to sign in and VNC tends to be a little bit of a bandwidth hog.  Otherwise, at $19.99 it’s inline with the other best remote desktop apps as far as features go.

iTeleport

Our Recommendation

All of these remote desktop apps are the best way to get some serious work done on your iPad.  But some are better than others and if we were to pick just one it would have to be a tie between iTap and Desktop Connect.  They both have good pricing, great features, easy setup, and consistently rate in the 4′s.

So how do  you see yourself using one of these apps?  If you do use a different one let us know how you like it!

Originally posted 2010-08-17 14:34:11.

Comments

  1. Sirdoc says:

    Wish I’d seen this before I bought VNC for my iPad! LOL! Also waiting for Zumocast Beta to be available to me. Thanks for the tips!

    How’s security on Zumocast?

  2. Shane says:

    Yeah. I’m loving the beta so far!! I will post in the beta forum about the security plans and respond back here! I’m also going to do a small video demo!

  3. Anonymous says:

    How about RDP Lite?
    http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/remote-desktop-l

    It’s free and works with the native RD protocol in windows (i.e. no client running on the host needed). Admittedly it lacks the bells and whistles of the others, and can be a tad crude for mousing/keyboard, but it works great.

  4. Shane says:

    Hey Thanks! I saw that one, but when read the reviews and then tried it, mine crashed a few times. It could have been many factors though and not the app. It is true that there are perfectly viable FREE apps for this. Sure, they don’t have the bells and whistles, but sometimes simple is better!

  5. Charles says:

    I bought itap and it kept crashing then I found out they broke it and had to make a new release to fix the problem. I went with desktop connect and it is great! It’s so easy to use and the interface is a lot easier.

  6. Shane says:

    Hi Charles…thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I have to say that while iTap is cool, desktop connect is definitely up there on the list as useful and stable. iTeleport is another favorite but, it too has some limitations and is more expensive than desktop connect.

  7. Anprieto says:

    I use this one. But you cannot eliminate background image, so it is a bit slow. I don’t know if pay version allows that. Do you know that?

  8. david mott says:

    Another app that lets you access your desktop via mobile devices is called “Splashtop.” It’s worth considering, but like all of the apps listed here, can run into lag issues and works best on the local wifi network. This is why i prefer traditional remote desktop software such as Proxy Networks.

  9. [...] Click here to head on over to TCGeeks.com article “Best Remote Desktop Apps For The iPad.&#822… [...]

  10. Bas Steelooper says:

    Dear Shane,

    I like your article and are going to try Desktop Connect for my Linux Devices. For my Windows devices I use TeamViewer. This is free for non commercial use, and works great from all around the world without VPN.

    Regards,

    Bas

  11. Aliasgar Babat says:

    Great article in regards to best remote desktop apps for iPad. In addition to above, one can have view only remote desktop connection between iPad and computers by deploying on premise remote support appliance such as RHUB appliances.

  12. Chris says:

    Splashtop is the best remote desktop app on my iPad and Android

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