There are times when it is a necessity to share folders across a network–regardless of your platform. It should come as no surprise that the ability to share folders is built into macOS. The process for sharing out these folders is incredibly painless. I’m going to show you how this is done with macOS High Sierra on a MacBook Pro. As you might expect, the process is handled completely through a GUI–so no commands need apply.

With that said, let’s share.

Setting up the share

To create the share click the Apple menu and then click System Preferences | Sharing. In the resulting window, select File Sharing from the left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A

To share out a specific folder, click the + button under the Shared Folders pane. Navigate to the folder to be shared, select it, and click Add. Once you’ve added the necessary folder, you’ll want to add a user that will have access to the folder. Before you do that, you’ll want to add that user to your Contacts app (if the user doesn’t already exist). When that user has bee added to Contacts, click the + button under the Users pane in the Sharing window. Select the user and you will be prompted to create a password so the user can authenticate to your share. You will have to give that username and password to whomever requires access to the folder. Don’t worry, the credentials are only good for the share and not the system.

You now need to select the permissions for the new user. You can select from:

  • None
  • Read & Write
  • Read Only
  • Write Only (Drop Box)
  • No Access

After you’ve added the user (and given them the required permissions), click on the Options button. In the resulting window (Figure B), select SMB, and then check the box next to the user you just created. You will be prompted for the user password you created for that user.

Figure B

Click Done and you’ll be returned to the Sharing window. You will shown the address for which the user will connect to your share (in the form of smb://IP_ADDRESS where IP_ADDRESS is the actual IP address of your macOS machine).

Connecting to the share

How this is done will depend upon the desktop platform the user will be connecting from. Regardless of operating system, chances are the user will connect via their desktop file manager. Open that up and point the app to the address presented within the Sharing window. They will be prompted for the user credentials. Once they successfully enter the credentials, they will be presented with the shares.

And that’s all there is to it! File sharing made incredibly easy on macOS.