Whether you’re in a meeting or doing customer support, screen sharing is one of the best ways to illustrate your point without frustrating anyone in the call.
That is if you can get an app which lets you share your screen without an issue.
We’ve all been there before – you’ve shown up early to a meeting only to have your technology die on you. Maybe the call quality was so bad you couldn’t hear each other speak or perhaps the other person was forced to download a new app before being able to see your screen.
No matter your troubles, this list will clear up which screen sharing apps are the best for you to use, why, and why other options aren’t up-to-scratch.
I’ll be covering:
- Google Hangouts
- Chrome Remote Desktop
- USE Together
Ready? Let’s go.
Screen sharing tools
Let’s set a few quick ground rules before diving into the details.
- These are intended to be as unbiased as possible but especially positive (and negative) personal experience will be noted. This to show you how the apps fare in use, rather than as a list of features on a page.
- I will list the pricing details of each product’s various plans but this will not be exhaustive. The main focus here is on features affecting general usage for someone wanting screen sharing software.
With that out of the way, let’s dive right in!
Zoom (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android)
I won’t lie – I’m a little biased towards Zoom.
We’re not in a partnership or ever have been. The bias entirely comes from our own usage and great experiences with the product.
Zoom is one of the (if not the) best video conferencing apps around. All you have to do is sign in, create a new call, and then you can invite others to your call whether they own a Zoom account or not.
Once your call is set up you can choose to share your entire desktop or a specific app to the rest of the call, which automatically creates a separate window to display the participants of the call while you display whatever you want.
Zoom also boasts one of the best (and most flexible) pricing plans of the tools on this list, with a free plan that allows you to host up to 100 viewers, use the video and audio call options, screen share, and allows you to save a local recording of your calls. The only downside is that cloud recording space and hosting calls longer than 40 minutes lies behind their first paid plan ($14.99 per month per host)
- Zoom pricing page
- Free – host up to 100 viewers, 40 minute limit on group meetings (unlimited 1-1), local recording, screen sharing
- Pro – $14.99/host/month – all free features + 24-hour meeting duration, user management, reporting, 1GB cloud recording storage, custom personal meeting ID
- Business – $19.99/host/month (min. of 10 hosts) – all pro features + admin dashboard, SSO, company branding, custom emails, auto-generated cloud recording transcripts
- Enterprise – $19.99/host/month (min. of 50 hosts) – all business features + unlimited cloud storage, a dedicated customer success manager, executive business reviews, bundle discounts on webinar and zoom rooms
In short, if you’re looking for a piece of software to let you easily share your screen while on an audio or video call with multiple other people, Zoom should be your first port of call.
Join.me (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
While not on the same level as Zoom for general video conferencing and calling, Join.me is still a strong contender on the screen sharing field. In a way, they’re almost two sides of the same coin.
Join.me allows you to create a meeting room and invite others to view your screen (the screen sharing is automatic) with small bubbles displaying images of everyone in the meeting. It’s admittedly a pretty standard affair, although you also get the ability to annotate your screen and highlight items, along with switching who’s screen is being shared on a dime.
In short, Join.me is a solid option for those looking for a more screen-sharing-focused version of Zoom. However, with the better free pricing plan it’s a question of what matters more for you – general meeting compatibility or the ability to annotate your screen share.
- Join.me pricing page
- Free – 14-day trial of premium features, then up to 3 participants per meeting
- Lite – $10/user/month – up to 5 participants per meeting, unlimited meetings, unlimited toll and internet calls, personal link and background
- Pro – $20/user/month – all lite features + up to 50 participants per meeting, 10 webcam streams, recording, 5GB cloud storage, scheduling, toll-free numbers
- Business – $30/user/month – all pro features + up to 250 participants per meeting, 1TB cloud storage, bulk user import, feature permissions, SSO, Salesforce integration
Skype (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Xbox One)
What can I say about Skype that most of you don’t already know? Skype is pretty much the OG of online calls, and serves as the base standard of communication due to its availability.
This is arguably one of Skype’s biggest advantages.
While it doesn’t have the same span of features, the user experience is clunky, and the call quality isn’t the most reliable, practically everyone who’s been on an online call will have used Skype. It’s familiar and many of us already have it installed so you don’t have to worry so much about others requiring it to link up with them.
The other main benefit is for those who already pay for Office 365. Skype minutes (for calling landlines and mobiles) come as part of the Office 365 bundle, so you don’t need to pay any extra to get access to Skype’s premium features.
However, aside from those benefits, there’s not much cause to recommend Skype over competitors. It certainly gets the job done and allows you to share your screen but, unless you already use Office 365 and really don’t want to learn how to use a new app, other options like Join.me and Zoom are better.
- Office 365’s pricing page
- Skype minutes pricing page
- Free – Skype is primarily free, as you only start paying once you need to ring a landline or mobile device. Prices vary depending on the country you’re in, where you want to ring, and the number of minutes you want
GoToMeeting (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
GoToMeeting falls into much the same category as Skype for us; it can get the job done in terms of screen sharing and calling others but there are far better options on the table.
My colleague, Adam, laid into them enough in our article discussing the best video conferencing apps so I won’t go into too many specifics here.
Suffice to say that the desktop app was confusing to use, frustrating to set up, and the browser version was only marginally better. Also, looking at the pricing plans throughout this post, it’s not exactly the best value piece on the market.
- GoToMeeting pricing page
- Starter – $109/organizer/year – 25 attendees, online course catalogs, live audience polls, tests, and evaluations, training material and recording management, reporting and analytics
- Pro – $159/organizer/year – 50 attendees, starter features + group collaboration, custom registration forms, certificates, publishing training materials, online recording with webcam integration
- Plus – $314/organizer/year – 200 attendees, pro features
Slack (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android)
You could even say it’s the glue that holds our remote team together.
Aside from their fantastic use as a company chat app though, Slack also allows you to share your screen with other users and (on paid plans) allow them to use their own cursor to get things done on your machine. Couple that with the ability to switch hosts on a dime and each session being recorded (and searchable) in your chat log, and you have one hell of a screen-sharing-ready application.
Honestly, the only thing stopping me from recommending it above all other items on this list due to its versatility is that the call quality (in my experience) isn’t always reliable. There have been a few too many times where myself and a team member have attempted to get a Slack call going, only to default to Skype or (more commonly) Zoom after running into “connection” difficulties.
- Slack’s pricing plan
- Free – one-to-one voice and video calls, regular screen sharing, 5BG total file storage
- Standard – $6.67/user/month – free features + up to 15 participants, interactive screen sharing, searching for people, channels, and files, 10GB storage total per team member
- Plus – $8/user/month – standard features + 20GB storage total per team member
The main downside for our purposes is that recording your call/screen share doesn’t come as part of the plan until the highest paid tier. While you can pay a surplus to add it to a pro plan (and the app charges a flat rate rather than per user per month), that’s just enough to make it a runner-up in the search for the best screen sharing app.
However, if you’re purely looking for a video conferencing app, definitely consider giving Appear.in a try.
- Appear.in pricing plan
- Free – one user, one meeting room, four participants, custom URL, screen sharing
- Pro – $9.99/month – free features + 3 meeting rooms, 12 participants, branded rooms, recording ($5 extra)
- Business – $99.99/month – pro features + personal and team rooms, multiple users and admins, custom domain, recording included, calendar integration
ScreenLeap (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
Screenleap is entirely designed to fulfill your screen sharing needs. It’s easy to set up (you get a permanent URL which others can use to connect to your screen when you’re sharing) and has very few fancy features to bog you down and cause confusion.
However, this is also its biggest weakness.
If you don’t mind paying $15/month for the basic plan then Screenleap comes with audio conferencing to take away some of the awkwardness. However, if you’re doing literally anything else beyond needing to share your screen, there are easier solutions than using this app to screen share and another to call whoever you need to talk to.
- Screenleap pricing plan
- Free – up to 8 viewers, 40 minutes of use per day
- Basic – $15/month – up to 30 viewers, 8 hours of use per day, audio conferencing
- Pro – $31/month – basic features + up to 150 viewers, unlimited use, meeting scheduling
- Company – $15-39/user/month – pro features + account management, screen recording, customisation/branding
Google Hangouts‘ main advantage lies in there being no paid plan – the entire app is free with no restrictions (unless you want to call a landline or mobile number). It’s one of the few examples of an app where there is nothing being gated off.
As such almost every team could stand to gain something from at least trying Google Hangouts. While it doesn’t have the vast feature set of other apps (eg, it lacks a way to record meetings without using third-party services), for most users who don’t need those features it’s a blessing at the cost of nothing at all.
Unfortunately, it’s that same reason that I can’t recommend it over a more dedicated video conferencing or screen sharing app.
- Google Hangouts is free – there is no paid plan
Mikogo (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
Mikogo is designed to be an all-in-one, browser-based solution for video conferencing, screen sharing, remote support, and so on.
That’s… honestly about it.
In trying to be as thorough as possible with the screen sharing apps on offer, it’s inevitable that we would come across some instances that are fairly bog-standard, and here is the point where I have to acknowledge it.
While there isn’t a particular draw to switching to Mikogo, by most accounts they’re fairly stable and get the job done. Unfortunately, combined with their slightly lackluster pricing plan, this means that there’s also no real condition I could make while recommending it either.
If you fancy trying out another screen sharing program then go for it. Otherwise, there are better options.
- Mikogo pricing page
- Free – one user, one call participant, VoIP and phone conferencing
- Standard – $14/month – free features + all other features (video conferencing, screen and audio recording, company branding, website integration, and more)
- Professional – $16/month – standard features + up to 25 call participants
- Team – $48/month (usually $80/month) – professional features + up to 5 users
- Enterprise – get a quote – increased number of users/participants
Chrome Remote Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, iOS, Android)
Primarily an IT support program, Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension for Google Chrome which allows you to link your devices together to take over them for remote support purposes.
The main advantage here is the price point and the range of devices that this app is available on. Being completely free and available for any device capable of running Google Chrome, it’s a fantastic way to cover your remote support needs to easily demonstrate the solution to one of your team’s problems so that they can see what’s gone wrong and how to fix it in future.
However, it’s also very limited in terms of pure screen sharing.
CRD is a support app, so it’s only natural that it wouldn’t be designed to cover all of your casual needs. Still, if you’re looking for a screen sharing app then I’d recommend this as more of an in-house last-resort than anything else.
If your team already has this installed as part of your support functionality then fantastic. If not (or you need to show more than one person your screen), it’s probably better to leave it be.
USE Together (Windows, Mac – remote collaboration)
USE Together is a bit of an outlier in this list as it’s designed more as a collaboration program than purely a screen sharing affair. While you could certainly use it as a standard screen sharing app, USE Together allows you and your call guests to work on the same document by making them the host of the session and giving everyone separate cursors to control on the screen.
Imagine taking the collaborative aspect of Google Suite (and being able to see others working on the same document) and applying it to literally any program. Now add the ability to have an audio call at the same time and you have USE Together.
Initially designed for remote pair programming and designers, the functionality of this app makes it invaluable for any remote team looking to work together on a document. It could even serve as a great way to onboard new employees who aren’t fully familiar with your apps and practices yet.
The Windows or Mac app is currently required to host a screen sharing session (with Linux being in the works) but others can watch through their browser using a link which is generated when the call starts.
- USE Together pricing page
- Free – screen sharing, audio calls and recording, up to 3 guests per session, 30 minutes per day of shared control and multiple mouse cursors
- Pro – $10/month – 15-day free trial, all previous features, unlimited shared control and multiple mouse cursors
- Enterprise – get a quote – all previous features, unlimited number of guests, self-hosted, LDAP/Active Directory integration
So, which is best for screen sharing?
Let’s face it – most people don’t want to be using five different apps for the same thing, even if the use cases differ slightly. You want to be able to choose one app and have it fit all of your needs from the get-go.
For that purpose, I’d highly recommend grabbing Zoom.
Aside from features such as remote desktop control for support teams, Zoom ticks pretty much every feature box the average user will need to effectively share their screen and talk to their viewers at the same time.
While you’ll have to pay for features such as cloud recording and meetings lasting longer than 40 minutes, the sheer range of features along with the very reasonable pricing plan makes Zoom the cream of the crop in this screen sharing contest.
Did I miss any screen sharing apps? Let me know in the comments below!