How to host or join a computer with Parsec

There are two ways to host on Parsec. If you are hosting, you need to have Windows 8.1+ (or Windows Server equivalents) or macOS 10.15+ (mac hosting is in preview; check this article for more info), and a supported graphics card. You can also check the requirements for joining as a guest, and ensure everyone has a good enough internet for Parsec.

 

Computers tab (Desktop sharing)

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This mode shares the whole desktop and is a very reliable way of playing games or doing generally anything in low latency, with a controller, mouse or keyboard. You can remotely connect to your computer, or let friends join to play split-screen games with a controller, and manually give some people access to keyboard and mouse if you wish.

How to join or connect

Use either of the methods below. If you're not joining yourself, you will need to approve people's connections on the host from the interface, or by pressing Ctrl+F1. Once people join, start up a game and play.

  • Play with friends: Add friends using the friends icon in the sidebar. People can join someone that is willing to host by clicking Connect in the Computers tab

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  • Get a quick link: Click the Share button in the host computer to get a link you can share around. People can paste this link in the bottom-right section in Parsec to join

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  • Join yourself: Use the same Parsec account as your host computer, and click Connect in the Computers tab to join remotely with full permissions

How permissions work

By default, people only have controller permissions. The person hosting the game needs to manually give keyboard and mouse permissions by clicking the profile picture of a guest at the bottom of Parsec.

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If you want to make sure people can only interact with the game, the host can also use Approved apps in Parsec's settings > Approved apps, which will freeze the whole screen and prevent the guest's controller, keyboard and mouse from working whenever the host isn't in a game that has been approved.

Also keep in mind that the host can kick everyone from the stream at any time if needed by pressing Ctrl+F3.

 

Arcade Beta

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If you're interested in hosting or joining games with strangers, you can check out Arcade Beta, which has a public lobby for games. Please be aware that Arcade is in beta and you will likely have issues hosting games, in addition to being unable to give full keyboard and mouse to guests for games that need it. Because of that, if you're playing with friends we recommend that you use the Computers tab for now. You can learn more about Arcade here.