Share files between users mac os x

macOS Sierra: Use File Sharing to share files

If you have a Mac in your household, chances are it is being shared between several family members. In that kind of situation, users might at some point want to share files and documents between each other. This can be done either via a Shared folder, a Public folder available to each user, and a Drop Box folder that is specific to each user. In this post, you will learn the differences between a Shared folder, a Public folder, and the Drop Box folder.

You will find out when and how to use each method to share files and documents between users of a same Mac.

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Each macOS installation comes with a Shared folder , and each user of that Mac has access to it. The Shared folder is probably the easiest and quickest way to share files and documents between users, understanding that every user will be able to access them. If other users have already placed files in there, you will see those files. Locate the Shared Folder, and drag it's icon to the Finder window's sidebar anywhere within the Favorites section at the top. By the way, you can also place an alias of the Shared Folder on your Dock by dragging it's icon just to the left of the trash can.

Now remember, if you've had one-too-many, your lack of accuracy here may be detrimental to your happiness. Without going into technical detail in this article, you need to understand that, no matter which user account you are logged in as, files and folders you create while in that account are owned by you, i. This is all about the concept of file permissions , which governs who can open, modify, delete, or even see your files.

How to Share Files Between User Accounts in OS X

Because the Shared Folder can be potentially used by every user account, this folder can contain any number of files and folders with differing ownership and therefore, differing permissions. If a file is "owned" by another user account, you and others are typically not allowed to make changes to or delete the file.


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By the Shared Folder's very nature, you are allowed to open and use files created by other accounts. When you open a file directly from within the Shared Folder, and it's owned by another account, you will be directed to duplicate the file first, or you may be asked to authenticate. As soon as the file is duplicated, you now become the owner of that duplicated file. If you are asked to authenticate, and you do so successfully, the ownership of that original file is now assigned to you. If you drag a file that is owned by another user account from the Shared Folder to your desktop or another location within your own Home Folder, a COPY of the file is made, and the original is kept intact.

In general, I prefer this method for sharing a file between user accounts, as leaving the original file as-is in the Shared Folder assures the retrieval of an original copy if the need arises. The best way to learn all this is to experiment with some throw-away files belonging to the various user accounts on your Mac. While logged into the different account, drag the files in and out, attempt to edit and delete them.

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But, be careful! Don't get too cocky and go around changing permissions on things outside the Shared Folder without a better understanding. There is rarely any reason to do so. In conclusion, multiple secure user accounts feature in OS X is undoubtedly a powerful tool for enhancing security and organization.

How to Move & Share Files Between User Accounts in OS X

File sharing between single machine user accounts via the Shared Folder makes secure collaboration a snap. You should now see a green dot next to text that says File Sharing On. The IP address is listed just below the text. Make a note of the IP address; you will need this information in later steps.

Share Files Between User Accounts in Mac OS X [How-to]

With file sharing turned on, you can now decide if you wish to share user account home folders. When you enable this option, a Mac user who has a home folder on your Mac can access it from a PC running Windows 7 , Windows 8, or Windows 10, as long as they log in with the same user account information on the PC.


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  • Place a checkmark next to the account that you wish to allow to share files. You'll be asked to enter the password for the selected account. Provide the password and click OK. Repeat the above steps for any additional users that you want to have access to SMB file sharing.

    Click the Done button once you have the user accounts you wish to share configured. Each Mac user account has a built-in Public folder that is automatically shared. You can share other folders, as well as define the access rights for each of them. Make sure the Sharing preference pane is still open, and File Sharing still selected in the left-hand pane. In the Finder sheet that drops down, navigate to the folder you wish to share. Click the folder to select it, and then click the Add button.

    Sharing Files Between Users On the Same Mac (#1172)

    Folders you add to the shared list have a set of defined access rights. By default, the current owner of the folder has read and write access; everyone else is limited to read access. The Users list will display the names of the users who have access rights.



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