The Public Folder in your Mac can be accessed by anyone over a public Wi-fi (or shared network). So, if you join any public Wi-Fi, the public folder can be seen by someone else on the same network and the files in it can be accessed.

If you connect to a public network often – say at your local Starbucks or elsewhere – it is recommended that you disable public folders just to be on the safer side. It’s not like someone can hack into your Mac and access everything through a public folder but it is true that someone can put a file inside that folder.

How to Disable Public Folder Sharing in Mac OS X

Here’s How to Disable Public Folder Sharing in Mac OS X:

Step 1: Click on the Apple menu.

Step 2: Choose System Preferences.

Launch System Preferences on Mac

Step 3: From there, choose Sharing.

Sharing Option in System Preferences on Mac OS X

Step 4: Select File Sharing from the sidebar.

File Sharing on Mac OS X

Step 5: Beneath the title Shared Folder, you will find the list of the folders that are shared with others / shared publicly.

Step 6: Select the ones you want to remove and click on the [-] sign beneath the box.

Step 7: A confirmation window displaying message “Are you sure you want to stop sharing the folder” “<Name of the folder>” will pop up. Simply click OK.

Disable Public Folder Sharing in Mac OS X

Step 8: If required, repeat the steps for other folders as well.

The same System Preference setting can be used to turn on or off public sharing for other folders on your Mac. The pubic sharing feature is kind of old-school. There are many other ways to share folders and files these days and we’re not talking about Dropbox and AirDrop alone. At best, public sharing is great within closed networks where the security is high as it is. With open networks, it’s best to have your files locked down.

  • Saul

    Actually, 2 things:

    1 – your PUBLIC folder is only shared if the mac user actively chooses to turn on FILE SHARING. File sharing is not turned on by default on the mac. And, if someone chooses to turn on file sharing, they will see the public folder being shared right from that preference pane so they can turn it off immediately if they want to.

    2 – the PUBLIC folder is only accessible to MACS; Windows users will have to enter a username and password to access even the public folder on the mac. Also, SMB sharing must also be turned on in order for Windows to see it.

    THan being said, your statemnt:

    “The Public Folder in your Mac can be accessed by anyone over a public Wi-fi (or shared network).”

    Is not accurate, only Mac users on the public wifi will see it and ONLY if you have already turned on file sharing yourself.

    cheers ; )