Apple is the first computer company to facilitate network file sharing. Decades after the Mac introduced that feature, it became less important in the age of cloud storage. Unless you’re on a corporate network এবং and often too সহজ it’s easy to push files to a central repository by copying files to synced folders or volumes on your desktop. Cloud storage also bypasses network configuration issues, such as the dreaded “double NAT” that can block file-exchange connections via the Internet.
However, it is often helpful to allow other computers on the local network to access files stored on your Mac. Let’s see what it takes to set it up.
Enable file sharing
Get started System Preferences > Sharing. This one-stop shop for all network services, including a checkbox for MacOS file sharing. Enabling file sharing allows you or anyone on that Mac account to access the computer’s file server using the account certificate and no additional configuration is required. Users and groups can access files across startups and all mounted volumes, including accounts, with admins under their account names. People with regular user accounts can access their home directory and shared folders in the Home folder by default.
Apple has shut down its original file-sharing software, AFP (Apple Filing Protocol), in favor of Microsoft-initiated SMB (Server Message Block). This allows you to connect a wide range of devices with a Mac that has file sharing turned on. You can view Apple’s support history by selecting File Sharing in the Sharing Preference pane and clicking Options. For the last few releases of macOS, only the “Share files and folders using SMB” checkbox will appear, this is a strange choice. But for several years, AFP and SMB were selectively separate before AFP disappeared.
However, this is also where you can enable backward compatibility for Windows systems that use an older version of SMB.
Configure file sharing
You have several options for what and with whom you can share:
- Restrict sharing with you and other people, including regular and admin accounts on Mac. This is the default and no more work is required.
- Create shared folders that people with regular Mac accounts can access to create pooled local storage or drop-down boxes for writing only. (This is a small “drop box”: a place to store things.)
- Create sharing-only users who can’t log in to Mac or connect to it through terminal sessions; They can only access shared folders. (See “How to create a sharing-only user in macOS to restrict access.”)
Add a shared folder by clicking + (plus) at the bottom of the shared folder list. You can select any volume or folder. Select it, move a folder or volume and click – (minus).
Assign users and permissions to shared folders by selecting the folder in the shared folder list and then changing the existing permissions in the users list. You can add user groups by clicking +. (You can also remove specific users and groups by selecting one and clicking “-“.)
The permissions next to each user or group entry are the same as found in Finder:
- Read and write: All access, including deleting and adding items.
- Read Only: Recover anything in the folder, including nested items.
- Just type (drop box): Allows a user to copy a file to the destination but does not see this or any other content in the folder.
- No access: Disabled access to all other user and guest connections only available to everyone.
System Preferences> Users and guest users in groups If checked “Allow guest users to connect to shared folders”, guest users can access any shared folder that has a value set other than the one everyone does not have access to. However, you can explicitly disable guest access by control-clicking a shared folder, selecting advanced options, and removing the “Allow guest users” tick.
You can also use advanced options to enable networked time machine backups to a specific folder in a volume. I explain the process of “how to set your Mac as a shared backup destination for the time machine.”
A quick warning! With file sharing enabled, the idea is that anyone in the world can reach your Mac and act as a guest user or try to log in. On most home networks, ISP and router configurations make this almost or completely impossible. However, we recommend disabling or restricting guest access to avoid sharing anything you do not want with the world.
Connect to a Mac’s file server
From macOS, you can connect to a file server in Finder. Open any finder and look below the location list. Macs that enable file sharing or screen sharing are there (If you don’t see them, go Finder> Preferences> Sidebar And check Bonjour computer.) Click on any server and then click Connect As, enter the certificate and select an available volume.
Depending on your local network, some servers may not appear in Finder. Click The Internet Link or find Finder sidebar under Location Go to> Network (Command-shift-k).
If you need to enter the MAC address, select Go to> Connect to Server (Command-k). You enter the address in the format
smb://10.0.1.120, And click Connect or press Return. A Finder window will appear, just as you clicked on a server in the Finder sidebar.
For Macs that you can’t see through Bonjour or to connect to a Mac from a Windows computer or other system, you can find the Mac’s address System Preferences > The Internet. Select any active interface in the left-hand list and the IP address will be displayed in the main section of the panel under Connected.
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