How to Connect to a Shared Disk or Folder on a Remote Mac with OS X Mavericks - dummies

How to Connect to a Shared Disk or Folder on a Remote Mac with OS X Mavericks

By Bob LeVitus

With OS X Mavericks file sharing must be activated on the Mac where the shared files/folders reside; it doesn’t have to be activated on the Mac that’s accessing the files/folders. When file sharing is turned off, you can still use that Mac to access a remote Shared folder on another machine as long as its owner has granted you enough permissions and has file sharing enabled.

If file sharing is turned off on your Mac, others won’t be able to access your folders, even if you’ve assigned permissions to them previously.

If you’re going to share files, and you leave your Mac on and unattended for a long time, logging out before you leave it is a very good idea. This prevents anyone who just walks up to your Mac from seeing your files, e-mail, applications, or anything else that’s yours — unless you’ve given that person a user account that has permissions for your files.

If you don’t want to log out, at least consider requiring that your password be entered when waking from sleep or dismissing the screen saver (General tab of Security & Privacy System Preferences).

On to how to access your Home folder from a remote Mac — a supercool feature that’s only bound to get more popular as the Internet continues to mature.

The following steps assume that you have an account on the remote Mac, which means you have your own Home folder on that Mac.

To connect to a Shared folder on a Mac other than the one you’re currently on, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that you’re already set up as a user on the computer that you want to log in to (Lisa & Jacob’s Eye Mac, in this example).

  2. On the computer that you’re logging in from (my MacBook Pro in this example), click the Show button to show the Shared section in the Sidebar if it’s not already showing.

    All available servers appear. (There are three in this example— Big Mac the Mac Pro, Bob’s Time Capsule, and Lisa & Jacob’s Eye Mac.)

  3. Click the name of the remote Mac (Lisa & Jacob’s Eye Mac) you want to access in the Sidebar.

    At this point, you’re connected to the remote Mac as a guest.


  4. Click the Connect As button.

    The Connect dialog appears. The name of the person logged in on Bob L’s MacBook Pro automatically appears in the Name field (my account name, bobl).

    If that’s not your username on the Mac you’re trying to access, type that username in the Name field.


    If you select the Remember This Password in my Keychain check box in the Connect dialog, OS X remembers your password for you the next time you connect to this server. Sweet!

  5. Select the Guest radio button if you don’t have an account on the remote computer and then click Connect; if you’re logging in as a user, skip to Step 6.

    Pressing Command+G is the same as selecting the Guest radio button, and pressing Command+R is the same as selecting the Registered User radio button.

    As a guest user, you see Public Folders for users who have accounts on Lisa & Jacob’s Eye Mac (Lisa LeVitus, Bob LeVitus, and Jacob) but nothing else.

  6. Type your password and click the Connect button.

    After you’ve connected as a registered user, you see your Home folder (bobl) and everyone else’s Public folders.


    File sharing must be active on Lisa & Jacob’s Eye. If file sharing weren’t active on Lisa & Jacob’s Eye Mac, its name wouldn’t appear in the Shared section of the Sidebar, and you wouldn’t be able to connect to it.

    But file sharing doesn’t have to be active on the computer you’re using (Bob L’s MacBook Pro in this example) to give you access to the remote computer and make this trick work.

    When you access your Home folder on a remote Mac, you see an icon with the short name of your Home folder on that Mac (bobl) on the Desktop of the Mac you’re using (unless you’ve deselected Connected Servers in the Finder’s General Preferences pane, under Show These Items on the Desktop).


  7. When you finish using the remote Mac, disconnect by using one of these methods:

    • Drag the shared-volume icon (bobl) to the Eject icon in the Dock.

      When a disk or volume is selected (highlighted), the Trash icon turns into a little arrow, which represents eject. Nice touch, eh?

    • Right-click or Control-click the shared volume icon and choose Eject from the contextual menu that appears.

    • Select the shared-volume icon and choose File→Eject.

    • Select the shared-volume icon and press Command+E.

    • In a Finder window Sidebar, click the little Eject symbol to the right of the remote computer’s name (Lisa & Jacob’s Eye Mac).

    • If you’ve finished working for the day, and you don’t leave your Mac on 24/7 (as most folks do), choose app→Shut Down or Log Out. Shutting down or logging out automatically disconnects you from shared disks or folders. (Shut Down also turns off your Mac.)