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4 Ways to Transfer Files Between Two Macs

Ways to Transfer Files Between Two Macs

Do you have two Macs in your household?

If so, file sharing will probably come up sooner or later. You might want to share a PDF of a project contract, a financial spreadsheet, a purchase receipt, or pictures and downloaded movies. Let’s explore some super convenient ways to transfer files between two Macs.

Target Disk Mode

target disk mode

Are both the Macs on the same disk? Then, M1 Mac Target Disk Mode is a good option for sharing files between Macs. Target Disk Mode turns one device into an external drive for the other device.

Target Disk Mode connects two Macs with a USB-C, USB-A, or Thunderbolt cable. Both devices must be compatible with the connecting cable. After connecting one device to the other, boot it while pressing T, and it will appear as a volume on the other Mac.

Entering this mode, you can simply drag and drop files from it like a regular external hard drive.

File Sharing

Are the two Macs you want to transfer files between on the same network? You can use File Sharing.

On the device you want to transfer files to, navigate to System Settings > General > Sharing > Turn File Sharing on > select the “i” next to it and note the SMB address at the top of the window.

Then, head to the Finder on the Mac you want to transfer files from. You should see the other Mac appear in the Locations section in the Finder window sidebar.

If the other Mac is not appearing, click on the Go menu > choose Connect to Server > type the SMB address you noted down earlier > click Connect.

Then, click on the Mac in the Finder window and transfer files.

Please note that you can set up File Sharing to share your Mac with specific users with access to limited folders or with everyone with unlimited access.


AirDrop is the simplest and fastest way to share files between two Macs. The service uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to send files as long as you are within a 30-foot range.

If your Macs are in the same space and connected to the same Wi-Fi network, but they are not close enough so you can connect them using a cable, using AirDrop to transfer files is the ideal option. The option is most suitable when transferring some files because this feature works wirelessly.

To use AirDrop to transfer files, follow these steps:

  • Turn on Bluetooth on both devices and make sure they are both connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Go to System Settings > General > AirDrop & Handoff and check whether the AirDrop setting is turned on. If not, click AirDrop and set it to either Contacts Only or Everyone.
  • On the device you want to transfer files from, choose the files you want to share and then Control+Click them.
  • Select Share > select the Mac you want to transfer files to in the AirDrop options, and then let the process complete itself.

iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive

If the devices you want to transfer files between are in different locations, the above options will not work. So, if your Macs are in different cities, buildings, or countries, the best option is to use a cloud storage service. In this case, iCloud Drive.

iCloud Drive lets users share files and folders. Hence, there’s the flexibility of sharing multiple files at once.

Open a Finder window > click iCloud Drive in the iCloud section > select either the folder or file you want to share > click Share > choose Share Folder or Share File. Then, select the method you wish to use to send the file sharing invitation. You can also adjust permissions.

Once you have checked everything and are confident, you want to continue sharing files or folders, click Share and then follow the instructions according to the sharing method you have chosen.

But using iCloud Drive is not the only option for sharing files between two Macs in different countries or cities. You have the following options as well:

  • Dropbox – If you are already a Dropbox user, you can use Dropbox to share files without a fuss. You can even use a free Dropbox for Mac to share files. The best part is that sharing files via Dropbox is the same as sharing files with iCloud Drive. Click Share > add recipient > adjust permission settings > click Share File.
  • Mail – If the file size isn’t considerable, you can share files via Mail. Compose a new mail > click the Attachment button to add the files you want to share, and then add the recipient and click Send.


So, multiple options exist to transfer and share files between two Macs. Your choice will depend on how many files you need to transfer and where your Macs are located. But whichever option you choose, remember to clear out duplicate and junk files so you don’t end up sharing them.


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