How to Set up File Sharing in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

How to Set up File Sharing in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

Macintosh file sharing enables you to use files, folders, and disks from other Macs on a network — any network, including the Internet — as easily as though they were on your own local hard drive. If you have more than one computer, file sharing is a blessing.

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of sharing files with Mac OS X Lion, you must complete a few housekeeping tasks, such as enabling the appropriate type of file sharing. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Choose Apple→System Preferences and then click the Sharing icon.

    The Sharing System Preferences pane appears. The first word of the long username of the first Admin account created on this computer appears in the Computer Name field by default, followed by the type of Mac.

  2. If you want to change the name of your computer from whatever Lion decided to call it to something more personal, do that now in the Computer Name text field at the top of the Sharing pane.

    You can name your computer anything you like.

  3. Select the File Sharing check box.

    Now other users on your network can access files and folders on your computer.


    By default, only one folder in your Home folder is shared, and that folder is your Public Folder.

    If you want to access files or folders on this computer while you’re using another computer on the network, you can so long as you first provide your username and password. Everyone else on the network can only see your Public folder.

    These are the safest settings. Unless you have good reason to tinker with them, you should probably not change anything here.

  4. (Optional) If you want remote users to upload and download files to and from this computer, click the Options button and then select either or both of the Share Files and Folders Using AFP or SMB check boxes.

    • Doing so gives users on the Internet but not on your local area network some alternatives to file sharing: an Apple File Protocol (AFP) or a client program that uses Server Message Block (Samba or SMB).

    • If you want to enable Windows or Linux users — or users of other operating systems — to share files with you, the SMB check box must be selected.

  5. Select the On check box (the leftmost column) for each account you want to enable to use these protocols to access your Mac, providing the password when prompted.

  6. Click the Done button when you’re done.