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How to wirelessly Share Files between Mac and Windows without any Third-Party App

by: - Last updated on: September 26th, 2020

Generally speaking, there are a variety of different ways to share files between Mac and Windows, with a majority of them requiring the need to download some kind of third-party software on both machines to establish the connection and transfer files. While most people are fine with going the extra mile of downloading software to share files, some find it annoying and want a rather simpler way that is pretty straight forward. If you find yourself belonging to the latter half, here’s a how-to guide on how to share files between Mac and Windows wirelessly, without downloading any third-party software.

Wirelessly share files between Mac and Windows

To give a quick explainer on the process — what we are essentially trying to do with this method is to leverage the potential of Wi-Fi and the built-in share utility found on both Windows and Mac. So, in order for us to be able to share files from Windows to Mac (or vice-versa), the first thing we need to ensure is that both machines are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once that’s done, we can move ahead and set up file sharing on one machine (using the built-in utility) and then access the files on another machine. That said, let’s dive in and look at the steps.

I. Share files from Windows to Mac

1. Set up file sharing on Windows

i. Press Windows key + X and go to Control Panel.

Set up file sharing on Windows 8

ii. Go to Network and Internet and select HomeGroup.

Set up file sharing on Windows 7

iii. Here, tap on Change advanced sharing settings.

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iv. Now, enable Turn on network discovery and enable Turn on file and printer sharing.

Set up file sharing on Windows 4

To share a file or folder, right-click on it and go to Properties. In the Properties tab, tap on the Sharing tab, hit Share in the Network File and Folder Sharing, and hit Share again.

Set up file sharing on Windows 2

Now, you need to note down either the IP address of your machine or the computer name. To get the IP address, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Advanced Options > Properties > IPv4 address. Whereas, for the computer name, go to Settings > System > About > PC name.

2. Access files on Mac

i. Open Finder, and from the menu bar, tap on Go > Connect to Server.

Access files on Mac 2

ii. In the Connect to Server window, either type smb://[IP address] or smb://[computer name].

Access files on Mac 1

iii. Next, you will be asked to enter the username and password for your Windows machine. Enter the details and hit Connect.

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As soon as that’s done, you should see the Shared folder under the Shared section in the Finder. From here on, you can either simply copy-paste the files or drag them directly on your Mac.

II. Share files from Mac to Windows

1. Set up file sharing on Mac

i. Tap on the Apple logo on the upper-left corner and go to System Preferences.

Access files on Mac 2

ii. Select Sharing and check the box that says File Sharing under Service in the left pane.

Set up file sharing on Mac 4

iii. Hit the Options button and check the checkboxes next to Share files and folders using SMB and Share files and folders using AFP.

Set up file sharing on Mac 5

iv. Under the Shared Folders section, tap on the plus icon and add the folder that you want to share with the Windows machine.

v. Finally, note down the shared address for SMB and AFP under File Sharing.

2. Access files on Windows

i. Open File Explorer on Windows.

ii. In the search bar, enter \\[IP address].

Access files on Windows 1

iii. Next, a new window will pop-up asking for username and password for your Windows machine. Enter your Windows credentials here and hit Enter.

Access files on Windows 2

Once that’s done, you can access the shared folder from Mac on your Windows machine. And pretty much the same way as you would copy-paste files from Mac to Windows, you can do the same on Windows.

That’s it! 
You should now be able to share various files and folders between your Windows and Mac this way without having to download any third-party software. However, the one thing you need to make sure every time you are performing file sharing in this way is that both your Windows and Mac machine should be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this method to work.

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