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Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard
Oct 15, 2009

Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard

Configure file sharing to be fast, effective, and secure with networking guru Glenn Fleishman!


p>This detail-packed book makes file sharing easy, whether it’s between two Macs on a local network, among a mixed-platform office workgroup, or between far-flung computers on the Internet. You’ll learn how to select and configure the right hardware and software for your needs and budget, consider the pros and cons of different file-sharing options, find set-up steps for each of the core Mac OS X file-sharing services—AFP, SMB, and FTP—(with tips to help you avoid problems and security risks), and learn how to connect to Mac file servers from a variety of major operating systems. The ebook discusses Snow Leopard’s Wake on Demand feature and the quirky Snow Leopard firewall, as well as how to share files from iPhoto ‘09 and iTunes 9.

Compatibility info: This ebook is for users of 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.5 Leopard.

More Info

Read this book to learn the answers to questions like:

  • Which technique should I use to share my files?
  • How do I set up my Mac as a file server?
  • What types of security should I set up? Do I need a firewall?
  • Should I use Samba or AFP as my file-sharing service?
  • How can I restrict what users can do after they log in?
  • How can my Windows-using colleagues access my shared files?
  • How do I share iPhoto photos? What about songs from iTunes?
  • What’s the best way to connect to a file server from my Mac?
  • What are my security options for running an FTP server?
  • How can I configure my server so it wakes up if someone wants to use it?
What's New

What’s New in This Edition

Snow Leopard is a minor interface update and a major behind-the-scenes overhaul of Leopard. The Mac OS X-related changes in this book from the previous edition are small, but significant. This edition also includes changes relating to iTunes 9, iPhoto ’09, and third-party file-sharing services.

Here’s a summary of the most important changes:

  • Snow Leopard offers Wake on Demand, an ingenious method of letting your Mac sleep, but still be available for file service if your Mac is connected to an 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station or Time Capsule. See Awake, Sleeping Snow Leopard.
  • The Snow Leopard firewall has some new twists, which I cover in Snow Leopard’s Built-in Firewall.
  • This edition includes numerous new details about MobileMe (formerly .Mac) features such as and using an iDisk and using Back to My Mac for remote disk access. It also covers how to use Back to My Mac to Share Volumes from a Base Station.
  • I explain how to Share Files on an iPhone or iPod touch with Air Sharing via Bonjour or WebDAV on a local network.
  • New content in Share with AFP covers all that you need to know about shutting down an AFP file server that has remotely connected users.
  • I’ve updated Share Digital Media Files to focus on iTunes 9 and iPhoto ’09, and I’ve added a recommendation that more-geeky users consider using SuperSync to share an iTunes library.
  • Many third-party services mentioned in previous editions of this book have changed, and I’ve removed some mentions and updated others. I’ve also added details about Dropbox, a service that lets you synchronize files across all your computers via a shared folder, as well as share folders with others.
Update Plans

June 6, 2011 – We do not plan to create a Take Control title that will reincarnate this ebook in a Lion edition. We’ve had a lovely, long run with this particular title, all the way back to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, but times have changed, as have reader interests. We’ll still be looking at the timeless question—“how do I share my stuff?”—in various Take Control titles, but we are taking a break from this particular manuscript in Lion.

Posted by Adam Engst

  1. MobileMe and iDisk to End

    Apple has announced the end of its MobileMe service, effective 30 June 2012, and has also announced that many of its functions will find equivalents in the new iCloud service from Apple, due to debut sometime in the last quarter of 2011. As it turns out, however, the iDisk storage and its file-sharing features provided by MobileMe (as described on pp. 32-36) are not going to be replaced by equivalent features in iCloud. Apple provides some details what iCloud will include and what it won’t in its Mobile Me transition page (you can also read more about the transition in the TidBITS article, “Apple Details Transition from MobileMe to iCloud,” 24 June 2011). Apple also provides a support article, “MobileMe: How to save files on your MobileMe iDisk to your Mac or Windows PC,” to help you manage the end of the iDisk service.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

  2. MobileMe Will Be Replaced by iCloud

    On June 6, 2011, Apple announced a new service called iCloud that will appear at some point later in 2011 (“fall” in the northern hemisphere), and will replace MobileMe from Apple’s perspective. Until then, MobileMe continues unchanged, except that Apple is no longer selling subscriptions or charging for renewals; all current members automatically have their accounts extended through the end of June 2012.

    When iCloud becomes available, existing MobileMe members will be able to migrate to the new service, which will be free (albeit with optional paid features, such as iTunes Match and additional storage). So far, Apple hasn’t released details about the fate of iDisk (including file sharing and iWeb publishing); MobileMe Gallery; Back to My Mac; the Backup application; Web-based access to Mail, Contacts, and Calendars; or Mac-to-Mac syncing of things like preferences and keychains.

    In the meantime, you can learn more about iCloud and what it might mean for MobileMe users in the following places:

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  3. Minor Revision to Back to My Mac Tab in System Preferences

    Apple has made a minor revision in the MobileMe preference pane’s Back to My Mac tab in Mac OS X 10.6.5. Previously, that tab showed a status dot in red, yellow, or green, along with an explanatory text message, to indicate whether MobileMe was active and communicating correctly with Apple’s servers. In this revision, two additional status dots and text messages are added for File Sharing and Screen Sharing. A green dot indicates the service is on; red, off. Putting status about those two items in this tab means you don’t have to switch to the Sharing pane to check whether either of those services is active.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  4. Snow Leopard Data Loss Bug

    Apple has publicly acknowledged a rare but nasty data-destroying bug related to using the Guest account in Snow Leopard. The bug appears to be associated with having a Guest account already set up before you upgrade to Snow Leopard. While there is currently no fix available, we hope to see one in 10.6.2. To learn more, check out my TidBITS article, Apple Acknowledges Guest Account Data Loss Bug.

    Posted by Doug McLean (Permalink)

  5. PureFTPd Manager Updated for Snow Leopard

    My favorite FTP server software and management package, PureFTPd Manager, has been released in version 1.8 with Snow Leopard compatibility. This version works with 10.4 and 10.5 as well. I didn’t include details about using PureFTPd in the last couple editions of Take Control of Sharing Files because most readers apparently haven’t been using FTP servers. However, if you’re one of the folks who need the account-based folder-restriction along with other limitations you can impose via FTP, turn immediately to PureFTPd Manager.

    I wrote in some depth about how to configure the best encrypted FTP service option using PureFTPd Manager in the TidBITS article PureFTPd Manager Updated for Snow Leopard.

    Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)

  6. New Ebooks Explain Snow Leopard User Accounts and File Sharing

    If you have Snow Leopard-related questions about accounts, the Take Control series now has the answers in the form of “Take Control of Users & Accounts in Snow Leopard,” by Kirk McElhearn, and “Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard,” by Glenn Fleishman.

    Take Control of Users & Accounts in Snow Leopard – Read this ebook to learn how to manage all the accounts on your Mac like a pro, even if you are the only person who regularly logs in. You’ll learn how to create the right types of accounts for the different people who use your Mac, why you likely need at least two accounts, and what you can do with the many options in the parental controls. Kirk shows you how to set up a troubleshooting account to solve problems, use Fast User Switching, share files between users, manage login and startup items, and more. Kirk even reveals tricks for sharing music and photos among multiple users on your Mac using iTunes and iPhoto. For those who want still more parental control options than those offered in Snow Leopard, the last page of the ebook includes a coupon worth 25% off on Intego’s ContentBarrier X5. 102 pages, $10.

    Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard – Read along with Glenn as he takes you on a tour of all the nitty-gritty details you need to know to configure file sharing to be fast, effective, and secure. You’ll learn how to select and configure the right hardware and software for your needs and budget, consider the pros and cons of different file sharing options, find set-up steps for each of the core Mac OS X file-sharing services - AFP, SMB, and FTP (with tips to help you avoid problems and security risks), get the details on setting up accounts, and learn how to log in to Mac file servers from a variety of major operating systems. The ebook specifically discusses the new Snow Leopard Wake on Demand feature and the quirky Snow Leopard firewall, as well as how to share files from iPhoto ‘09 and iTunes 9. 109 pages, $10.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  7. Glenn Talks about File Sharing in Snow Leopard

    Get to know author Glenn Fleishman in his October 20th interview with MacVoices host Chuck Joiner, which focuses on topics covered in the Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard ebook. Glenn talks about the ins and outs of the new Wake on Demand feature in Snow Leopard, the loss of AppleTalk, iTunes 9, and more.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  8. Home Sharing vs. iTunes Sharing

    Home Sharing, a new feature in iTunes 9, makes it possible to easily share media among family members (or any group where everyone is authorized on the same iTunes Store account). While the feature is a clear win for sharing iPhone apps, several Take Control authors have been perplexed by Home Sharing, either because the feature didn’t perform as they’d expected, or because it’s difficult to concisely explain the differences between it and the old iTunes Sharing feature. Thankfully, Take Control author Ted Landau’s recent Mac Observer article tackles the subject with detail. If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how to share media in iTunes, check it out!

    Posted by Doug McLean (Permalink)

The Author

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, the New York Times, Wired, the Atlantic, and the Economist. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.