Whether for work or personal purposes, you or members of your team will likely need to access your computer without being physically present in front of it. This might be because you’re working from home or a temporary office, because you’re working abroad, or simply because you spend a lot of time commuting.
In recent years, remote access software and unattended access tools have become more advanced. In addition to desktop sharing and screen sharing, many tools can now conduct file transfers and offer secure remote computer access. With more people working from home than ever before, having the right remote desktop access software has become very important for businesses. AnyDesk is a well-known remote desktop software solution, but if you’re still researching for the best option, you may wonder if there are alternatives better suited to your requirements.
This article explains the basics of AnyDesk and helps businesses looking for alternatives to AnyDesk by providing a list of pros and cons for the most effective remote support tools available in 2021. For those who don’t have the time to read the full list, we rank SolarWinds® Dameware® Remote Everywhere (DRE) and SolarWinds Dameware Remote Support (DRS) highest as the easiest to use and most sophisticated AnyDesk alternative. DRE and DRS offer a comprehensive range of functionalities capable of meeting the needs of businesses looking for a fast, simple, and enterprise-grade remote desktop connection AnyDesk alternative.
What Is AnyDesk?
AnyDesk is designed as a lightweight remote assistance and home office tool appropriate for large or small companies. It’s intended to be useful for software vendors or app developers looking for a way to solve customer or client problems remotely. It also lets users connect from home to their office computers using the Unattended Access feature. Users gain features like file transfer, remote printing, and session recording.
AnyDesk is built to offer high performance and security. In terms of performance, AnyDesk users can expect frame rates of 60 fps for most internet connections, though the software is built for low latency even with low bandwidth. AnyDesk also claims its DeskRT codec feature, which compresses and transfers images, is unique among competitors. For security, AnyDesk uses TLS 1.2 technology and RSA 2048 asymmetric key exchange encryption, and you can “whitelist” trusted users.
If you choose AnyDesk, you can expect flexibility, with compatibility for Linux, Windows, Mac OS, FreeBSD, iOS, and Android, with the mobile app included. Users can adjust some of the software’s features to suit their brand identity. The tool is also scalable, and charges only for active “seats.” While you can use AnyDesk as a cloud tool, it’s also possible to set up and use an Enterprise Network instead.
Top Alternatives to AnyDesk
SolarWinds DRE is a comprehensive, all-in-one remote computers access solution with a wide range of features. While AnyDesk doesn’t specify connection speed, DRE is designed to let you establish active sessions typically in less than eight seconds, potentially saving you time otherwise spent creating connections with workstations.
DRE is also designed as a secure remote access tool, but unlike AnyDesk, uses FIPS 140-2 validated encryption. DRE uses advanced AES-256 encryption protocols (which are the foundation of TLS 1.2, used by AnyDesk). AnyDesk and DRE both offer multi-factor authentication options.
Unlike AnyDesk, which allows for user support but doesn’t include built-in ITSM features, DRE has a lightweight ticketing system that lets you monitor end-user requests and resolve issues quickly and easily as they arise. Both DRE and AnyDesk function as a remote computer-to-computer access tool, with support for all major operating systems, whether you’re looking for an AnyDesk alternative for Mac or Windows.
With DRE, support technicians can connect with your users through either in-session or pre-session communication, by using VoIP or initiating video calls (not included in AnyDesk). As in AnyDesk, live chats can be established without interrupting active sessions, allowing you to communicate seamlessly and in real time. To help you keep track of communications between you and your users, messages are saved automatically to safe and searchable session logs, similar to AnyDesk.
DRE is an easy-to-use AnyDesk alternative that, like AnyDesk, is designed to scale with your company as it grows. This makes it ideal for even small organizations. However, DRE might not be the best fit for your company if you’re only looking for a basic remote access solution. This AnyDesk alternative offers an all-in-one solution plus help desk and ticketing features.
Here’s a brief overview of DRE’s pros and cons:
- Lightweight ticketing system
- Useful in-session features
- Support for multi-level permissions and two-factor authentication
- Perhaps not suitable for businesses that already have a help desk and are only looking for a remote desktop solution
- No mobile application
A 14-day free trial is available.
DRS is another popular SolarWinds remote desktop connection AnyDesk alternative, designed to integrate with help desk software. This solution delivers quick, easy, and safe remote access and control capabilities, helping you get to the root cause of problems in as little time as possible. Like AnyDesk, DRS provides multi-platform remote access to laptops and servers, including Windows, Linux, and macOS computers. Similarly, this AnyDesk alternative is Android- and iOS-compatible and comes with an intuitive mobile application for establishing remote connections through your mobile devices.
One difference between AnyDesk and DRS is DRS is designed to explicitly offer more built-in features for remote admins. While AnyDesk emphasizes features like file transfer and remote printing, you can use the remote access capabilities in DRS to copy and delete files, view and clear event logs, start/stop services and processes, reboot systems, and more. This could make IT remote support administration activities simpler for your team, which reduces the need to make house calls to troubleshoot user problems. DRS is a safe remote desktop connection tool with advanced authentication methods, and like AnyDesk includes the option of using Smart Card logon to enforce multi-factor authentication in sensitive environments.
This flexible and complete solution allows you to deliver remote support from anywhere and at any time. As with AnyDesk, you can create safe over-the-internet remote connections both inside the LAN and across the internet. Because of this, DRS is a good option for companies with employees who are likely to be working off-site.
Like DRE, DRS is an all-in-one remote access and systems management suite of tools. If you’re looking for a tool with a narrower range of features, to complement rather than replace the tools you already use, then DRS may not be the right AnyDesk alternative for your business.
- Two-factor authentication
- Remote access mobile application with support for Android and iOS
- Useful admin features for pinpointed access
- Less suitable for businesses looking for a narrower suite of tools
A 14-day free trial of SolarWinds DRS is available for download.
Chrome Remote Desktop is among the most popular remote desktop connection AnyDesk alternatives. If you simply want to share your screen quickly and easily, it’s a straightforward option. If, however, you’re looking for an enterprise-grade remote desktop tool with a fully functional mobile application—like AnyDesk—then this tool may not be suited to your needs.
This tool can be installed by users as an application from the Chrome Web Store on their computer or, if you’re using your Android mobile device, from the Google Play app store. While Chrome Remote Desktop is built to offer enterprise-grade performance and accessibility, the mobile application doesn’t provide the same level of functionality as the desktop tool. This limits your ability to use the solution from your mobile devices. With AnyDesk, the mobile and computer tools are both highly functional, and you download them both from their website. As with AnyDesk, this Chrome application supports most major platforms, including Mac, Windows, and Linux.
- Simple and fast
- Limited functionality
This AnyDesk alternative is free to use, making it an affordable option, but it may not be entirely suited to business use.
Microsoft Remote Desktop among the most notable free competitors of AnyDesk because it’s very well-known and easy to use. However, it is generally more limited in functionality than AnyDesk. This solution works similarly to Chrome Remote Desktop—you simply install the client on your computer and, if you’d like to use the mobile application, download the app from your mobile device’s app store. This will allow you to connect your devices and establish remote access, with video and audio streaming (as with AnyDesk). A key benefit of using Microsoft Remote Desktop is you don’t need a Google Chrome installation for this tool to work on Windows devices.
Although the Microsoft alternative to AnyDesk can facilitate remote access to desktops reasonably easily, functionality is limited. For instance, you can only create a connection profile or search for an existing one to connect to it. Microsoft Remote Desktop can also be inflexible, because it doesn’t allow you to modify the experience themes or settings.
- Google Chrome installation isn’t necessary
- Simple and easy setup
- Limited functionality
If you’re looking for an AnyDesk alternative effective at establishing access from a mobile device, then Parallels Access may be a good option. This tool was designed specifically for remote computer access from mobile devices and its mobile application is highly functional. Parallels Access features a unique, user-friendly mobile user interface, with support for iPad multitasking and full-screen applications, as well as Samsung DeX and S Pen. AnyDesk is not mobile-first but offers a widely compatible mobile application.
One of the best things about this solution is its clean user interface. Instead of showing your desktop screen on your mobile device, the Parallels Access mobile application presents a modified, mobile-friendly version. Although this tool supports connections between computers, most of its capabilities are mobile-centric.
Parallels Access offers several features similar to AnyDesk, like screen sharing, file transfer, and session chat. But it doesn’t let you initiate remote control of another computer from your mobile device, which AnyDesk allows. In addition, the security features differ, as Parallels Access doesn’t offer Smart Card authentication.
- Excellent mobile application
- Support for iPad multitasking
- User-friendly interface
- Limited computer-to-computer access capabilities
A free trial of Parallels Access is available.
TeamViewer is another popular remote desktop application with remote access capabilities. Like AnyDesk, TeamViewer offers a mobile application for connecting to your computer from your mobile device and, although the setup for TeamViewer is a little complex, the app itself is simple and functional.
TeamViewer offers a range of sophisticated features similar to those offered by AnyDesk, including file transfers in both directions, real-time sound and HD video transmission, and enterprise-grade encryption protocols plus two-factor authentication. However, TeamViewer emphasizes a wider range of remote control software features than AnyDesk. You can connect to multiple computers at the same time, have an integrated service desk, use VoIP, and more. Unlike with AnyDesk, the app is free for personal use, but you’ll need to pay for a subscription if you want to use it for your business.
- High-security encryption
- Real-time sound and HD video transmission
- Support for file transfers in both directions, plus more useful features
- Complicated setup
A 14-day free trial of the business edition of TeamViewer is available.
Splashtop is an AnyDesk alternative with more than 15 million users across the world and is one of the more well-known remote desktop connection tools. Multiple versions of Splashtop are available, including editions for school and classroom use, personal use, business use, and enterprise use. Some versions are somewhat pricier than others.
Splashtop is a powerful remote desktop connection AnyDesk alternative, featuring some tools included in AnyDesk—like remote print, chat, and session logging—and some features that aren’t, including drag and drop file transfer, multi-to-multi-monitor support, and auto-login. However, some reviews note issues with how the display functions, so starting with a free trial may make sense. One unique feature Splashtop provides is Active Directory integration, unlike AnyDesk. The security protocols are similar, however, as it uses TLS and AES-256 encryption.
- Multi-device compatibility
- File transfer with drag-and-drop interface
- Session recording
- The visual display could be more user-friendly, according to some reviews
You can access a free trial of Splashtop here.
AirDroid is an all-in-one file sharing and multi-screen sharing solution. This tool lets you access numerous devices simultaneously from almost anywhere, with support for all major operating systems. In addition to allowing you to manage your computer from a mobile device, AirDroid also lets you pick up calls and send messages from your desktop using the mobile application. But one fallback of AirDroid is a significant delay when sending SMS messages via a desktop.
Other key AirDroid features include phone screen recording and screen sharing from both sides, with lots of customizable settings. Unlike AnyDesk, AirDroid also allows you to make or receive calls on your computer and supports notification sharing for all connected devices, which ensures you’re kept in the loop. Both tools allow for encrypted file transfer. To keep you safe, AirDroid provides secure backup and synchronization for your phones and desktop computers.
AirDroid is a personal-use tool for a home office, but AirDroid Business is also an option. It allows businesses to remotely control Android devices. Only the Business version includes two-step verification, an admin console, and other remote control features. Both AnyDesk and AirDroid Business are scalable solutions (AirDroid for personal use is limited to four or 10 devices depending on your plan). All versions of AirDroid have more limited compatibility options than AnyDesk.
- Safe backup and synchronization
- Screen recording and screen sharing from both sides
- Customizable settings
- Personal version has limitations
- Limited compatibility
You can download a free 14-day trial of AirDroid business edition here.
Getting Started With a Remote Desktop Connection AnyDesk Alternative
Hopefully, this review of the best AnyDesk alternatives will save you some time by giving insight into the most popular and effective tools on the market in 2021. Overall, we recommend SolarWinds DRE and DRS most highly. These solutions offer an impressive range of powerful capabilities and are very intuitive, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced pros. They’re also suitable for enterprise use and are highly scalable, making them a good choice for small and large businesses alike. You can access a free trial of DRE here and a free trial of DRS here.
If you’re still not sure which of these AnyDesk alternatives is right for you, take advantage of their free trials. No matter your reasons for choosing an AnyDesk alternative, one of the solutions featured in this list should meet your business’ specific needs.
*As of September 2020