For additional background on this topic, see this page.

Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) is a powerful tool for managing Macs. It’s available from the App Store for use with unlimited clients for only $79.99.

For a full description of ARD, its features, and its requirements, check the Apple website. The link above is a good starting point, as is this one:  Here is a brief overview of two of its most useful features for inventory purposes: remote installations and software reports.


In order to successfully use ARD to manage Macs, you’ll need to make sure you’ve enabled Remote Management in System Preferences -> Sharing and that you have a standard administrative account on all the machines you wish to manage. You’ll also need to use ARD’s scan feature to locate those machines on your network and build up your list of manageable machines. Enabling Remote Management should create the appropriate exceptions in the Apple Firewall. However, keep in mind that other security devices / settings in your environment might need to be adjusted. According to this document -- -- ARD relies on ports 3283 tcp/udp, 5900 tcp, 5988 tcp.

Pushing a Package:

ARD allows you to push installers to machines to install new software on them. The installers must be completely automated and contain no dialog boxes. (Our Kace installer meets these requirements.)

To remotely install a package on a computer, do the following:

  1. Click on the machine in your ARD machine list.
  2. Click the Install icon in the toolbar area.
  3. Specify the pkg file to run. You can use drag and drop to easily populate the path to the pkg.
  4. Click Install. The package will be copied to the remote machine and executed.

Running a Software Report:

ARD offers different types of reports. For generating a list of all installed applications, use the Software Difference Report. This report does a comparison between what’s on your computer and what is on the remote machine, including a list of applications that aren’t present at all on the local administrator’s machine.

To run this report, do the following:

  1. Click on the machine in your ARD machine list.
  2. Click the Report menu and choose Software Difference from the drop down. Note that you may want enable the checkbox to limit the report to what’s in the Applications Folder.  Doing so will speed up the process considerably.
  3. After the report is complete, click the Export button at the top of the report to save it to a file.