You need to share files between two Macs. But you can’t connect them up with a cable.
There are several ways of transferring files between two Macs wirelessly. And no cables required.
In this article you’ll find out how each way works. And then you’ll find out why it’s so awesome!
P.S. You find methods that work both on your home network. And on the wider internet for when you’re away from home.
Read on and discover ‘How To Transfer Files From Mac To Mac Wirelessly’.
Using Migration Assistant To Transfer Files Wireless
You can use Migration Assistant to transfer your files Mac to Mac wirelessly. For when you’re setting up a new Mac. You use Migration Assistant to transfer from your old Mac to your new Mac.
Transferring all your files from your old Mac to a new computer can take quite a while over WIFI. And you could be waiting several hours for the migration to finish.
But the plus point is that you won’t need an Ethernet cable, USB cable or an external hard drive to migrate from.
1. Both your old Mac and new Mac must be on the same WIFI network.
2. On your new Mac. Go to Applications, then the Utilities Folder and open up Migration Assistant.
3. When Migration Assistant starts up, click Continue. Put in your Mac’s administration password and click Continue.
4. Select ‘From a Mac, Time Machine backup or Start up Disk’.
This is the option you pick to Transfer your files from your old Mac to your new Mac.
5. Click your old Mac on the next screen and then click Continue.
6. Then pick what you want to transfer to your new Mac.
Pick Applications to shift your apps over. Click on the user name to transfer user data.
Other files & folders. For anything else outside of the user’s home folder Migration Assistant finds.
Or System & Network for the old computer’s system settings and network settings.
You can pick one of the options or all of them and click continue.
If the user name and data you’re moving to the new Mac already exists on the new Mac. Then you’ll need to decide what you want Migration Assistant to do.
Overwrite the user data on the new Mac or create another user alongside it. If it’s an admin user you’re transferring then you’ll need to pick a password.
You can enter in the same password used on the old Mac if you want. You click the final continue to kick the migration process off.
Wirelessly over WIFI could take some time if there’s a lot to transfer. So, plug both Mac’s into a power outlet. And leave them to it. It could take as long as overnight to finish.
Why Migration Assistant is so great? It’s an easy way of getting your files wirelessly from an old Mac to your new Mac. And it takes care of all the copying. Puts the files where they should be on the new Mac. And sorts out file permissions.
Transfer Files From One Mac To Another Mac Wirelessly With AirDrop
Have you ever wanted to wirelessly transfer a photo or video between two Macs?
It turns out that there’s an easy way of doing this. Just AirDrop.
And no wires required.
All you need is both Macs connected to the same WIFI network. So they can discover each other. And you’ll need Bluetooth turned on, on both Macs
1. Open up a Finder window on both Mac’s. And in each finder window click on AirDrop. You’ll find it in the sidebar.
2. Then in the AirDrop window check how you’d like each Mac discovered.
Picking ‘Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone’ makes the transfer quick and easy.
You can choose ‘Contacts Only’. If you’re sure the user of the other Mac is in your contacts list.
Do this on each Mac.
3. Each Mac will then see the other Mac in their AirDrop finder window.
4. Open another finder window and navigate to the file or folder you want to wirelessly send. Or you can pick a document off your desktop.
Drag and drop it onto the picture of the other Mac in your AirDrop window.
5. The other Mac then accepts the file and the file transfer goes ahead.
For an AirDrop wireless transfer you’ll need a 2012 or later Mac or MacBook. Running the MacOS operation system of at least OS X Yosemite.
And to help you along if you’d like to see this visually. Here’s a great YouTube video all about it.
It’s 4 minutes 8 seconds long.
How to transfer files from Mac to Mac Wirelessly
Video Credit: Tech & Design
Why AirDrop is so awesome? It’s quick, easy to use and doesn’t take much technical know how at all. Ideal for smaller file transfers. Documents, music files and photos.
And it works from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac.
Wirelessly AirDrop Transfer Files From iPhone Or iPad To Mac
Or from your Mac to your iOS device. Your iPhone or iPad.
Just quickly check your Apple device has AirDrop turned on.
You do that by going into your iPhone Settings, then General. Click on AirDrop. Then check how your mobile device is discovered. By ‘Everyone’ makes things easy.
Pick the file, iPhone photos, contact information you want to share.
Then click on the share button and pick AirDrop.
And it’s as simple as that.
Here’s an Apple support doc you might find useful on AirDrop.
How To Transfer Files Mac to Mac Wirelessly Over Bluetooth
For a successful Mac to Mac Bluetooth transfer, you’ll need both Mac’s near each other. Within the reach of the Bluetooth signal, which is about 33 feet.
1. Check that Bluetooth is tuned On. Open up System Preferences.
Find the Sharing icon and click on that.
2. Click on the box next to Bluetooth Sharing.
There are some other options in this window. Take a look at them and decide if you want to change any of them for your file transfer.
Then click the button ‘Open Bluetooth Preferences’.
3. Turn Bluetooth on
Do this on both Mac computers. And then both Mac’s can see each other.
4. To send your File. On the Mac your sending from. Double click in the Bluetooth. Devices Window. Pick the Mac you’re sending to by clicking on it. And a Finder window pop’s up.
Move to the file you want to wirelessly send over Bluetooth. You can hold down your Shift key to choose more than one file. Then click Send.
5. On the Receiving Mac.
A window will popup. Asking for the user of that Mac to accept the file. Accept. And send and receive the file over the air.
Why Bluetooth is great for sending files and folders: It’s easy to use. Works on even pretty old Macs, with old versions of MacOS that are sending to new Macs. It’s better for the smaller file transfer. As large files can take some time over Bluetooth.
Transfer Files Mac To Mac Over Wifi With Shared Folders
All Macs have a file sharing system.
And what’s outstanding is you can send files to another Mac connected to the same WIFI network. And look! No cables. And this is great when you’re collaborating with team mates.
1. On the Mac you want to share from. Open up System Preferences.
Search for the sharing icon and click on it.
2. Click on the file sharing box.
To the right of that box under Shared Folders. You put in the name of the shared folder you plan to use. Or simply use the default Public folder already there. Each Mac user has a Public shared folder inside their Home Folder.
It’s called by their Mac user name’s Public Folder
Next to the Shared Folders you’ll find Users. This an area where you set up who can access the shared folder. And the type of access you want them to have.
Read Only, Write only or Read Write access.
You click on the plus or minus signs to add folders, or user names. Or take away folders or user names.
You’ve even got the option to add Windows PC file sharing from your Mac. Just click the Options box.
At the top of the screen, you’ll see your Mac’s details. In the image above it’s a MacBook Pro. And underneath you’ll find a name.
A Mac computer you want to share with on your local wireless network can use that name to access your Mac.
3. Put the file or folder you want to share into the shared Public folder you set up in System Preferences.
Why Shared folders is so awesome? It’s a tried and trusted way to transfer files between Mac’s on the same network. Perfect when you regularly need to move your files over the airways.
To Connect To A Shared Folder Wirelessly From A Mac
Once the other Mac has set up their shared Public Folder. And the user permissions then.
1. Open a Finder window. Pick Go from the menu and then Network.
The finder window changes to allow you to browse your local wireless network.
2. You’ll find the Sharing Mac in that finder window.
Click on it.
3. Choose how you’ll Connect.
You can connect as a guest user. As a registered user of that Mac. Or using an Apple id.
Choose the option that matches how your login is set up on that Mac.
As a guest user you’ll only have access to the shared Public folder.
A registered admin user on that Mac has access to the whole Mac. Not just the shared public folder.
4. Click Connect.
Next you’ll see the shared public folder on that Mac.
Click on it to see the files.
You can then copy the files to your Mac, Mac to Mac with your read access.
Or you can paste a file to the shared folder of the remote Mac wirelessly. As long as you have write access.
Mac Wireless File Sharing Issues That May Come Up
Mac to Mac file sharing is pretty reliable and even works from an old Mac to a new Mac. I tested it on an old mid 2010 MacBook Pro to a new 2020 MacBook Pro with no issue. But if you do have problems check these things.
It’s worth just double checking your System Preferences, Users and Groups. To check that you’ve allowed guest user access to your Mac. You can check the box there to allow them access to the Shared Folders only on your Mac.
And then double check your System Preferences, Security and Privacy. For the Firewall rules you have on your Mac. Check that you have allowed sharing access.
Then all should go smoothly.
You can also double check this Apple document for more advice.
Transfer Files Wirelessly Mac To Mac Using iMessage
Yes, you can even transfer files from your Mac to another Mac wirelessly over iMessage.
1. Simply open up the Messages app on your Mac. Go to Applications > Messages.
2. Create an iMessage. Address it to the contact you want to send to.
3. Copy and paste or drag and drop your file or folder into the message window.
4. Press return to send.
And it’s as simple as that. Your file or folder is sent via iMessage to your contact’s Mac. Or iPhone or iPad. And they can just save it from iMessage by right clicking on the file. And then save to their Mac’s downloads folder
Why iMessage is so great? It’s a wireless way of transferring files that doesn’t need the Mac to be on the same WIFI. It’s as simple as sending a text message.
Cloud Storage Methods For Transferring Files Wirelessly
The number of ways of sharing Mac to Mac over the wide area network are many and varied. And there are now a wide number of cloud based software apps. That allow you to send and transfer files from one Mac to another.
From Apple’s own iCloud Drive.
Apple’s iCloud Drive is a great way to share files with other people in your life too.
You can use the free to use iCloud storage and transfer Mac to Mac.
iCloud is really made for the apps on your Mac and Apple devices to use.
But you can do basic file transfers. Though you’ll find it’s best not to use for large transfers.
Open up a finder window and click on iCloud in the sidebar.
Then you’ll see several folders.
Create a new folder for yourself for your files or folders.
And then you can get to those files and folders when you log into your other Mac.
If you’re a Dropbox user. Then you can simply put the files and folders you want to transfer over the air into that folder.
The other Mac will need to down load the DropBox app. Then you can log in on that other Mac and access and download those files.
And now you know how to transfer files without wires from any mac computer wirelessly to another Mac.
File transfer made easy.
As simple as dragging a file into the air!
And as you’re here don’t forget to take a look at the other transfer file related posts on the site.
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.