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Making a Mac Mini work like it should


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I posed this question to a salesperson at an Apple Store and to a salesperson at an independent Apple dealer. Neither had any idea what I was talking about. So, I thought I would check with the real experts.


I just bought my first Mac, a Mini. I have had an iPhone and an iPad for a while so I sort of understand the Apple operating system. My goal, based on what I have read here as possible, is to run my Mini "headless", that is without a monitor, keyboard or mouse, for running Spotify, Roon, JRiver, maybe even iTunes. I want to do all of the controlling on my iPad but have the Mini do the work of processing the stream and sending it to the analog components.


I understand that I need to have the usual keyboard and mouse available for system maintenance, etc.


The Mac Mini will plug into my Marantz AV8801 via HDMI. D/A will occur on the AV8801.


So, on my Mini, under System, there is a place with a bunch of options, called Sharing. Looking at the options, it seems I am in the right place to configure my system. But being very new to Macs, I don't really understand all of the options. May I ask the help of the Mac computer audiophiles that frequent this forum?


Thanks in advance.



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You don't need the sharing section. Just the System Preferences sound section. Make sure HDMI is there and the default. And then in your audio apps make sure that's the selected output stream.


Note I have had terrible luck with JRiver "waking" the USB output when I start playing something. I have to remote into the Mini to force it. You might have better luck over HDMI.

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I don't need the "sharing" section to control the Mini with my iPad?


I have the Mini set up OK as it sounds quite good. But I am controlling it with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. I want to play Spotify with the iPad but have the signal created by the Mini.

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You *do* need sharing :) and to fix the IP address of the Mini.


The IP address needs to be the same al the time, since a restart may allocate a different IP address, and there's no access other than to hook on the keyboard, mouse and monitor back on to see what's going on.


In System preferences, Network, the Ethernet section by default is DHCP and there's an address shown right?

Note down the router IP, DNS entries. Select Set IP address manually. Use an IP address on your local network that's not used, add in the IP of the router. Under the DNS Tab click the + and add in the DNS entries. If these are stuffed up, in windows WIN+ R cmd enter, and type in IPconfig /all (enter) to view the DNS entries, copy these into the mini.

Reboot, and check if the mini can access the internet.




There are only two items in sharing to get started.

Tick on Screen sharing, click in advanced, and tick all the boxes, including a password (make it the same as the login password).

Tick on File sharing, you need to copy files to your mini in order to play them.


On any other computer on the same network, use a standard VNC application, like RealVNC viewer (free) and type in the IP address of the mini, and you should see a password login prompt. login and you're away.


Shutdown the mini and remove the mouse, keyboard and monitor. Restart and access the mini from the VNC app. Note the screen size may not be the same than you had before with the monitor.

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The "Sharing" preference pane is where you allow remote access by Apple Screen sharing (or other VNC-based screen-sharing software). (Some third-party options don't make use of this, so it isn't the only way.)


For Spotify, you want to install the Spotify player application on the Mac mini, and then control it with some sort of remote control software from you iPad. In my experience, Remoteless is a good option:



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To clarify, if we are only talking about how to play music remotely with Spotify....


1. Install Spotify on your Mini and login. You must be using the paid version of Spotify.

2. Install Spotify on your iPad and login with the same account.

3. Use the Spotify Connect from the iPad to control what Spotify plays on the Mac Mini.

4. Make sure your audio output is putting to the right target - for example, make sure it's not outputting to the internal speakers.


You do not need to enable Screen Sharing or a fixed IP address to use Spotify. The above list is all you need to do. You're almost certainly connecting to Spotify via a router - Spotify sees the router's public address and not your internal IP address. You can check this by opening Chrome on both computers and typing "what's my ip address" Google will show you that both computers have the same public IP address.


The other poster is, helpfully, talking about remotely controlling you Mac's desktop. This let's you keep a keyboard, mouse, and monitory out of the way by using a separate computer to control your music server. To use that feature, you DO need to go into Sharing and enable Screen Sharing. Then choose if it's available to all users or only certain users, like Administrators. If you click the Computer Settings button on that screen, you can also set a screen sharing password.


(From the "other" computer open Finder and look for your Mini - then press the Share Screen button.)


You do not need a fixed IP address if you're using another Mac to control the Mini. But if you are going to use an iPad app like Real VNC to control the desktop a fixed IP address would be helpful. On the Screen Sharing system preference tab, the Mac server will tell you the IP address/URL to use. Unlike the Mac client, Real VNC requires you to provide the address in order to connect. So it's very convenient if it never changes.


Hopefully this clarifies the conflicting guidance.

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Thank you for the great information supplied in the responses above. I am looking forward to putting this information into practice tonight after I get home from work.


Just to be clear, Spotify is my first project because I was a subscriber to the service before I bought the Mini. My goal is to be able to control the Mini from my iPad when running Jriver, Roon and maybe even iTunes.


Thanks again,



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JRemote to control music playback of JRIVER on your Mac Mini from your iPad.


Roon has client software for iPad to control music playback if you are using Roon ( check to ensure the version of your iPad is supported ).


Also if you want to control some day to day operations for the Mac Mini from another computer you can follow the advise posted above.


If you want to control some day to day operations for your Mac Mini from an iPad, then explore options like Splashtop or TeamViewer.



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Your ipad and iphone, as ios devices, stream using airplay to an airplay "receiver"


to stream to your mac mini, an os/x device, install Airserver on it so Airplay can see it.


then stream Tidal, spotify or whatever from your ipad or iphone to your mac mini.

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