Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Sharing a folder to your network is an easy way to give other users access to the files they need. By doing this, you no longer have to email those files or come up with some other, less efficient method.
This can be done on any modern iteration of MacOS, so you don't have to worry about installing any third-party software. All you need is MacOS and a valid account on the machine. Let's get this party started.
1. Enable file sharing
The first thing you must do is enable file sharing. Open System Sharing in the System Preferences app. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of the desktop and select System Preferences. From the System Preferences window, click Sharing.
2. Enable Sharing
Click the check box associated with File Sharing to enable the feature.
This is where it can be a bit tricky. You need to grant access to the shared directory. You might want to create a special user account on your MacBook or iMac for this purpose. Otherwise, you'll need to grant All Users access to the shared folders, which can be a bit of a security issue.
It's important to know that when you create a user for this purpose, you can grant them any one of the following permissions:
Read/Write: The user can view and copy files to and from the folder.
Read Only: The user can only view the contents of the folder.
Write Only (Dropbox): The user can only copy files to the folder but can't view its contents.
Once you've enabled File Sharing, you can then add shared folders and user access. Let's say you've added a special user account for accessing the shared folders (which is done in System Settings > Users & Groups). With that user available, click + under Users (in System Preferences > Sharing), select the user from the popup, and then grand the required access once the user is added to the list.
5. Enable the users
You're not finished yet. Click the Options button and, from the popup, click the checkbox associated with the user you want to enable for the share. You'll be prompted to type your user password. Upon successful authentication, click Done, and the share is ready. Anyone with the username and password for the user will be able to access that folder across your network (how they do this will depend on their operating system).