How Access the Files on Your Mac From Windows

This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to access the files and folders on your Mac, from Windows.

Accessing the files on your Mac from a Windows PC is quite a bit easier than you might have imagined, once you know the process. For this guide we’re going to assume both of the computers are on the same network.

  1. First you’ll need to enable File Sharing in macOS. Click the Apple button in the Menu Bar, and select System Preferences… from the drop-down list. Click the Sharing icon.
  2. an arrow pointing to the Sharing icon in the macOS System Preferences

  3. Place a check in the File Sharing box and make note of the IP address displayed in the blurb below the File Sharing: On notification. You can close out of the System Preferences when you’re done.
  4. the Sharing panel of the macOS System Preferences with an arrow pointing to File Sharing

  5. Open a File Explorer window and click inside of the Address Bar (see screenshot below).
  6. a Windows File Explorer window with an arrow pointing to the Address Bar

  7. Enter \\ followed by the IP address you made note of back in step #2. For example, if the IP address of your Mac is 192.168.1.66, you would enter:

    \\192.168.1.66

  8. a Windows File Explorer window with an IP address in the Address Bar

  9. Enter the user name and password that you use to sign into your Mac and then click the OK button. If you don’t want to enter this info each time you connect to your Mac, place a check in the box labeled Remember my credentials
  10. a username and password dialog box

  11. Ta-da! You’ll now be able to access all of the files and folders on your Mac, from right within Windows.
  12. from Windows Explorer with access to a Mac

  13. If you’d like to keep this as a ‘permanent’ part of the File Explorer, you can map it as a Network Drive. To do so, click the Windows Search button, type the phrase map network and then select the Map network drive option when it appears.
  14. the Windows Find menu with map network entered as text

  15. Choose a drive letter that you’d like your Mac to be represented as. For the sake of this guide, I choose Z: but you can use any letter that isn’t already in use. In the Folder: field enter in \\ followed by your IP address again – but this time you’ll have to add \your_mac_username to the end. If you can’t remember your user name, open a Finder window on your Mac, then choose Go -> Home. Your user name is the name of the highlighted folder.

    Finally, make sure there are check marks in both Reconnect at sign-in and Connect using different credentials and then click the Finish button.

  16. the Windows Map Network Drive wizard

  17. You may be prompted to enter the username and password for your Mac again. Then your File Explorer will display the contents of your Mac as a network drive.
  18. access your Mac from Windows via the My PC

  19. If you open a File Explorer to the My PC section, your newly created network drive will also be displayed there.
  20. access your mac from Windows via the My PC section of File Explorer

  21. NOTE: from time to time your Mac’s IP address may change. When it does, your network drive will not longer work. The fastest way to figure out what IP address your Mac is using so you can remap the drive is to hold down the option key and then click the Wi-Fi icon in the Menu Bar.
  22. the Menu Bar Wi-Fi icon in macOS


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