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As they say, no Mac is an island. And because this Mac of yours is likely to be surrounded by other devices, you should know how to configure it to communicate with those other devices. This is done through the Sharing system preference, which we can look at now. Go to System Preferences, and I'll click on sharing. If you don't like the name of your computer, you can change it at the top of this window. This is how my computer will appear to other computers on the network. If your Mac includes a DVD or CD drive, you can turn on the option to share it with other computers.
This is helpful, for example, if you have an older iMac that has a media drive and you have a MacBook Air that doesn't have one. When you turn this on, you can put a disk into your iMac and then share it to your MacBook Air. So, for example, you might want to install software that's on that disk on the iMac to your MacBook Air. When screen sharing is switched on, other Macs can view and control your Mac remotely, and it works like this. So, I'll open a new finder window. I'll go to Shared and I'll look around on the network.
And what I want to find is my MacBook Air, and here it is. So, I double-click on it, and I can click on Share Screen. When I do that, I have two options. One is that I can share the display, so I will see exactly what's on that MacBook Air's screen, and I can control the computer. The other option, and this is very interesting, is that if you choose log in, you can choose to use a different account while somebody else is using their account. So, for example, on that computer, the Chris Breen account is the one that's currently active.
If I wanted to, I could log into my Macworld account, do my work there while they're working in their Chris Breen account. So, it's a way to use two accounts at the same time. I don't want to do that, so I'll close that. I'll choose share screen again and this time I want to share the display. So, on the other computer it's asking if it's okay to share the screen. I will say it is and now I can see the screen to my MacBook Air. The indication that we're sharing the screen is right up here. This is the screen sharing icon.
So, on that computer, if I happen to be sitting at the MacBook Air, I could disconnect simply by choosing disconnect. But as you can see, I can do all kinds of things with that Mac. So, I could go into my pictures folder on that Mac and then I could take this file if I wanted to and e-mail it to myself or I could copy it across the network. This is particularly handy if you need to troubleshoot somebody else's computer that's on the same network. And we'll quit screen sharing. When you enable file sharing, other users can access shared folders on this Mac.
By default, there's one folder called public in your user folder. So, anything that you drop into that folder can be copied to another Mac, except the Drop Box, which is for others to share stuff with you by copying it. So, let's see how that works. Once again, I'll find my MacBook Air. I'll open the Christopher Breen public folder, and here is Drop Box. Now, you see when I try to open it, I can't, I'm told that I don't have permission to see the contents. However, I can copy contents from this Mac to that Mac, and we'll do that now.
So, I'll take this image, I'll drag it to the desktop, take a file on it, quit iPhoto, and then I take the image, drag it to Drop Box. It tells me that I can put items into drop box but I won't be able to see them from this computer, and that's perfectly okay. So, I click on OK, and that sound indicates that the file has been copied to the Drop Box of the other computer. Now, on your computer, once you've turned file sharing on, you can configure shared folders. So, I have a few configured here, I can add more if I like.
So, if I wanted to share this guest folder, I click on add and here it is. So, now, this is a shared folder. Once you've shared a folder then you can decide what the permissions are going to be. So, system administrators can read and write to that folder, administrators can read only, and everyone can read only. If I wanted everyone to be able to read and write to the folder, I can change the permission so they can read as well as write. I'm going to get rid of that folder because I don't want to share it, and I'll click on okay and it's gone.
Also check the Options button. Here, you'll find a couple of different options. One is share files and folders using AFP. This is a kind of transfer protocol that Macs use routinely. Leave this one on. If you intend to share files and folders with Windows machines, turn on share file and folders using SMB Windows. There are times when you also need to turn this option on if you're using network-attached storage device, or some kind of media device that requires that it has SMB enabled. And click on done.
Then there's Printer Sharing. So, if you have a printer that's attached to your Mac and you'd like to share it with other devices on the network, turn Printer Sharing on and other computers will be able to see that printer and print to it. Scanner sharing is the same idea, turn that on and other computers can use the scanner across the network. When you switch on Remote login, your Mac can be accessed over the internet via something called SSH. And this is a secure connection that allows others to copy files on and off the Mac.
With remote management on, others can control your Mac over the internet using Apple's remote desktop or a Virtual Network Computer, which is a VNC program. This is like screen sharing but it's internet-based instead of using a local network. Remote Apple Events allows Apple scripts run on a remote computer to perform actions on your computer. Internet Sharing let's you share the internet connection on your Mac with other devices. For example, you have an ethernet connection. You can then share that wirelessly to other devices by turning this on and creating a wireless hotspot.
And then there's Bluetooth Sharing. Turn this on and you can share files between compatible Bluetooth devices, and that may be some mobile phones and computers, for example. And that covers the sharing options offered by the Mac. Which to use? Well, I always have Screen Sharing and File Sharing turned on. And I do because I need to copy files between Macs and occasionally I need to view the screens of other Macs. Of course, your needs may vary from mine.
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