Manual

Getting started

Configuring connections - iPhone/iPod touch

After starting iTap mobile VNC you will see the connection center. From here you can connect to new computers, or connect to a known computer with your bookmarks.

Enter the name or IP address of the computer you want to connect to into the search bar and click search. This will lookup the computer and display a bookmark for connecting. If you have already stored bookmarks it will filter them temporarily and only display those bookmarks matching the given search term. You can use this to quickly find a bookmark if you have many of them.

Tap a search result to perform a quick connect with default settings, or tap the icon to edit the connection and save it as a bookmark.

Configuring connections - iPad

After starting iTap mobile VNC you will see the connection center. From here you can connect to new computers, or connect to a known computer with your bookmarks.

The left side displays the available bookmarks, while the right side will show a preview and details of the currently selected bookmark. When you start the client the top most bookmark is automatically selected.

Enter the name or IP address of the computer you want to connect to into the search bar and click search. This will lookup the computer and display a bookmark for connecting. If you have already stored bookmarks it will filter them temporarily and only display those bookmarks matching the given search term. You can use this to quickly find a bookmark if you have many of them.

Tap a search result to activate it, or tap the icon to edit the connection and save it as a bookmark.

Once the bookmark is activated, you can quickly configure the bookmark using the toolbar in the lower right area. The left button lets you configure the color depth, while the right button shows the normal settings dialog.

Once you have configured the connection in the way you like, click the button to start it.

Once you are connected

One of the first things you might need is a keyboard to type somethign in the VNC session. Swipe three fingers downwards to activate the keyboard. Use the same gesture, or the button to hide the keyboard again.

To perform mouse clicks, just tap the screen where you want to click. You will get an audible feedback when a click is sent. Pan and Zoom the view by dragging it with on finger, or pinch it with two fingers. See the section on gestures for more information on input gestures.

To disconnect from the computer, swipe 3 fingers from left to right. This will not close any programs on your computer and you will be able to quickly reconnect to it again.

Interaction

Utility Bar

iTap mobile VNC features a utility bar on top of the screen which can be used to control additional features of the client when inside an VNC session. To activate it, tap with three fingers anywhere on the screen.

The following buttons are available in the utility bar:

  • Help - shows a quick overview of the gestures for the current mouse mode.
  • - Toggles the keyboard on and off. If an external keyboard is detected, this will show a Bluetooth icon: .
  • - Switches the mouse mode. Please see below for an explanation of the possible modes.
  • - Locks the screen in place. While this is active (glowing blue) you cannot pan or zoom the screen.
  • - External monitor. When an external monitor is connected with the VGA (or similar) adapter this will glow blue. You can also press it to turn the external display on and off.
  • - Disconnect. This disconnects from the current session. It is the same as swiping three fingers from left to right.

If you are using the "Zoom" accessibility feature of your iPad or iPhone, please set the utility bar to "initially on" in the advanced settings of your bookmarks. This way you can still control iTap mobile VNC without three finger gestures (which are blocked by the "Zoom" feature).

Scope Mode

Buttons and other controls in Windows programs are designed for use with a mouse, and not with a touch based interface. While typical point-and-click semantics work very well, the size of the controls often prevents effective use. iTap mobile VNC supports zoom to alleviate the problem, but given the already small screen, this prevents efficient work. To resolve this situation, version 1.0.1 includes scope mode. When holding down a single finger for a short duration without moving, a small scope window pops up, showing the screen at a twofold magnification, and also showing the mouse cursor exactly where it is on the desktop.

While using scope mode, the gestures work differently than in normal mode. First, the mouse cursor (and the scope) will always follow the first finger. This means, that in scope mode you can hover the mouse over a windows control. If you move the finger to the border of the screen, the screen will start to scroll in that direction. Second, touching the screen with additional fingers simulates mouse buttons. Touch it with one finger to use the left button, touch it with two fingers at the same time to use the right button. The buttons are pressed immediately and as long as you hold down the additional finger(s). This makes drag and drop a very simple operation.

TIP: The location of the extra fingers is not important. You can use the thumb of your left hand to touch a corner of the screen, while using the index finger of your right hand to move the scope.

Bluetooth keyboard

The presence of a Bluetooth keyboard should be automatically detected, so typing on the keyboard should work as expected. If it does not, please use the three finger swipe once to bring up the keyboard.

Due to limitations in iPhone OS special keys (Ctrl, Option, Fn, ...) will not work as expected. There is nothing we can do about this at the current time, but Apple has acknowledged the problem and might provide a better solution in a future iPhone OS. If they do, we will support it.

The following keys do currently work:

  • Alphanumeric keys: These keys work normally
  • Cursor keys: Cursor Keys, and Shift+Cursor Keys work
  • Tab: Tab works, but Shift+Tab does not
  • Home/Pos1: Alt+Left performs Home
  • End: Alt+Right performs End
  • Page Up: Alt+Up performs Page Up
  • Page Down: Alt+Down performs Page Down
  • Select All: Command+A performas Ctrl+A (Select All in most programs)
  • Cut: Command+X performas Ctrl+X (Cut in most programs)
  • Copy: Command+C performas Ctrl+C (Copy in most programs)
  • Paste: Command+V performas Ctrl+V (Paste in most programs)
  • Symbols: Alt+Alphanumeric keys will produce different symbols, depending on your Language.

Mouse Modes

You can now use one of three different mouse modes. You can select your preferred mode in the bookmark configuration, and also switch during a session by using the utility bar (double tap with three fingers to show and hide it).

  • Scope Mode: This is the traditional mode, as it was so far. Tap to click, hold finger to show scope for fine control.
  • Pointer Mode: In this mode the mouse cursor is always visible. You can drag it around the screen with a singe finger (you do not have to hit the pointer for that). Tap anywhere on the screen to click where the pointer is. Tap with two fingers to perform a right click. The scope is not available.
  • Draw Mode: In this mode you can only use the left mouse button. Touch the screen to perform an immediate click or drag. Move/Zoom the screen by dragging/pinching two fingers.

Connections

Connection Center

The connection center is where you manage your known computers and add new ones. From here you can connect to other computers and quickly switch between sessions.

The search bar is the quickest way to add new connections. You can enter one of the following to create a new connection:

  • A computer name.
    The name of one of your computers in your local network. For example "home".
  • An internet domain name.
    The internet domain name of your home or office computer. For example "VNC.office.com".
  • An internet address.
    The IP address of a computer. For example "10.100.23.45".

After you enter the name or address, iTap mobile VNC will look up the computer. The result will appear in the search results and will be made permanent if you connect to it or if you edit it.

Using the icon to the right you can change the settings of your bookmark.

Editing or connecting to a search result will automatically move that result to your bookmark list.

Bookmarks

Basic settings

Your bookmark settings are split into three sections.

Host settings specify the computer you want to connect to:

  • Label: The name of the bookmark in the connection center. This can by any string. If this is empty, it will be set to the hostname.
  • Host: The name of the computer you want to connect to. This can be a computer name, an internet domain name or an IP address.
  • Port: The port to connect to. The default port for VNC is 5900.We recommend not to change this setting.

Below this the credential section determines the username and password used to connect.

  • Credentials: This shows the currently active credentials (password for normal VNC operation, username and password for Apple Remote Desktop). When clicked you can edit or clear them.
  • Store Credentials: If this is on (default) the logon screen will store usernames and passwords when connecting for later reuse. If this is off the username and password is not stored on the device.

The settings control the appearance of your desktop and various performance parameters.

  • Colors: Allows you to change the color depth of your VNC session. You have three options for color depth. It is recommended to use "Thousands" of colors, as a compromise between bandwidth and quality. You can use "Hundreds" of colors when you are using the connection via 3G networks to reduce the bandwidth required (also see 3G Mode). Alternatively, the option "Server decides" instructs the client to use the color depth suggested by the server. We also recommend this option when color related errors are being encountered or when connecting to Mac OS X 10.4.
  • Advanced: Configure advanced options for your connection (see below).

Credential screen

On this screen you can create a new set of credentials (top) or select a previously stored set. To clear the currently active credentials, click the "Connect without credentials" button.

To add a new set, enter the data in the fields and choose "Save" in the top right.

Typical VNC Servers: simply a password here, no username is required to connect.
Apple Remote Desktop: you can store both username and password if you connect to Mac OS X where Apple Remote Desktop is enabled.

Advanced Connection settings

You can change the following advanced settings:

  • Encodings: Enable or disable specific VNC encodings. For maximum performance you should always enable all of them (the default).
  • Shared: If on (the default), then multiple users can view your session. If off, then other users will be disconnected. Detailed behavior depends on the VNC server.
  • Enable 3G Mode: Enable or disable 3G Mode
  • 3G Colors: The color depth to use when 3G Mode is on and the connection is made while using a 3G network. Per default this is set to "Hundreds" of colors.
    Since these settings are only used while using 3G networks it is recommended to keep them low (also see 3G Mode).

Please note the following limitations

  • When connecting to an already running VNC session with a different color depth, you may not get the new color depth. This behavior is server dependent, and different versions of VNC servers behave differently.

Advanced UI settings

You can change the following advanced UI settings:

  • Border: Add a border around the desktop. Use this if you have problems clicking on things at the very edge of the desktop.
  • Status Bar: If this is on, the status bar will not be hidden during a session, allowing you to check your network connectivity.
  • Utility Bar: Set the initial status of the utility bar. If you cannot use three finger gestures, set this to "Initially On".
  • Mouse Mode: Set the mouse mode to use for this bookmark.
  • Swap Mouse Buttons: Whenever a mouse gesture would send a command with the left mouse button, it send the same command with the right mouse button instead. This is needed for some left handed mice in Windows.
  • Sticky Modifiers: Modifiers (like Alt, Ctrl, ...) will be sticky when this is turned on. This means that they will not turn off automatically after the first key used together with the modifier. Tap the modifier again to turn it off manually. The default is for modifiers to be not sticky.
  • Connection Tests: Turn off connection testing for this bookmark. The connection will still work as normal, but the status icon will always be a gray question mark.

3G Mode

iTap mobile VNC client includes a special 3G Mode. This can greatly reduce the bandwidth and increase speed for 3G networks. It is important to note that 3G mode only affects connections made using a GPRS, EDGE or 3G network, and does not affect WiFi connections in any way. When a connection is made using a 3G network, and 3G Mode is also enabled, then an alternative set of screen settings is used. They can be specified in the advanced settings. If 3G mode is disabled, then a connection using a 3G network uses the same settings as a connection using a WiFi network.

If 3G Mode is enabled, it will work automatically. For example, if you connect to the server using WiFi while at home and then leave with the connection running, iTap mobile VNC client will automatically reconnect to the server using a 3G connection with the alternate settings as soon as the WiFi connectivity breaks down. If you have stored your credentials in the server bookmark, then this switch will be seamless except for a short reconnect delay.

Gestures

iTap mobile VNC uses gestures to control all input actions except keyboard input. This frees up your screen, because it doesn't need to display any buttons.

Note: 3 finger gestures will not work if you have Apple’s “Zoom” accessibility feature enabled! In that case you might use the corresponding buttons within the iTap Utility Bar instead. Make sure that the “Utility Bar” is set to “Initally On” in your bookmark’s advanced settings.

You can use the following gestures:

Most important

Tap three fingers to show or hide the utility bar.

Swipe three fingers from left to right to disconnect and return to the main menu.

Swipe three fingers from top to bottom to show/hide the keyboard.

Scope Mode and Pointer Mode

A single tap will produce a mouse click on the location where you tapped. Zoom in if you need very precise control over the click location.

A simple drag will pan the display. This is a clientside operation, no mouse movement is generated on the server.

Perform a pinch gesture with two fingers to zoom in or out. Like panning this does not produce any mouse input on the server.

Drag two fingers up or down the display to emulate a mousewheel.

Tap with two fingers to produce a right click.

Tapping with one finger two times in quick succession will produce a doubleclick. Tap three times for a tripple click, and so on.

The same can be done with two fingers to do a right mouse button doubleclick.

Tap with a single finger and then quickly touch the screen again but do not release the finger to initiate a mouse drag. the mouse will be released once you remove the finger from the display.

The same can be done with two fingers for a right mouse button drag.

Scope Mode

Touch the screen and hold the finger for a short while to begin scope mode. Scope mode is in effect as long as the scope is visible.

Move the finger to move the scope. As you approach the screen borders the screen will scroll in that direction. The closer you are to the border, the faster is scrolls.

Touch the screen with a single additional finger to press the left mouse button, release the additional finger to release the left mouse button. Repeat for double- or multi-clicks.

Touch the screen with two additional finger simultaneously to press the right mouse button, release the additional fingers to release the left mouse button. Repeat for double- or multi-clicks.

You can move the original finger to perform mouse drags while holding down an additional finger to drag the left mouse button. The additional finger does not have to move.

You can move the original finger to perform mouse drags while holding down two additional fingers to drag the right mouse button. The additional fingers do not have to move.

Draw Mode

A single tap will produce a mouse click on the location where you tapped. Zoom in if you need very precise control over the click location.

Drag a singe finger to drag the left mouse button (paint).

A drag with two fingers will pan the display. This is a clientside operation, no mouse movement is generated on the server.

Perform a pinch gesture with two fingers to zoom in or out. Like panning this does not produce any mouse input on the server.

Appendix

URL Scheme

iTap mobile VNC now supports opening special links in the Safari browser. As a normal user, you do not need to concern yourself with this feature, since it will work completely automatic. Just click an VNC link in Safari, and iTap mobile VNC will automatically open and connect to the given server.

If you are a systems integrator, or otherwise want to provide VNC links in your webpages, please see the URL scheme documentation on how to provide VNC links.