Share Files Between User Accounts in Mac OS X [How-to]

On a Mac with multiple users, sharing folders is actually very easy. OS X comes with a ‘Shared’ folder that makes it very easy to share files and folders between users on the same machine.

The “Shared” folder is a read-write folder. Any user can add files to it, edit files on it (unless the file is protected with root privileges) and delete them too. There’s also the Public folder which gives you more control over file protection. We’ve covered both the methods of sharing a file between different users on the same Mac. Check it out:

Share Files Between User Accounts in Mac OS X

Method #1: Using the “Shared” Folder:

Step #1. Open Finder.

Step #2. Press Command+Shift+G to access the “Go to Folder” option. (Alternatively, click on File Go to folder.)

Step #3. Type “/User/Shared/” in the field. Click Go.

Go to Folder User, Shared on Mac OS X

Step #4. Put all the files you want to share with others users in this folder. That’s about it.

As you notice, this is probably the easiest way to share files and folders across different users. But like I said before, it doesn’t involve file protection. That is, anyone can write, edit, and modify the files up copy to that folder.

To share a file with just read-only permission (other users can’t modify or delete the file), you will have to use the ‘Public’ folder. Here’s how:

Step #1. Click on “Finder” from the dock

Step #2. Click on your home folder.

Step #3. Inside the home folder, you should see a Public folder. This is your “public” folder. What you put into this folder is visible to all other users on the Mac.

Home, Public Folder on Mac OS X

Step #4. Paste any file into this folder and it will be accessible for others users. They can’t, however, edit or modify this file.

But how do you access someone else’s Public folder? Say another user put a file into their Public folder and you need to access it. Here’s how:

Step #1. Open the Finder

Step #2. Click on the home folder → then on Public

Step #3. Now, hold the Shift button and click on the title bar (where it says Public).

Step #4. From the context menu, click on Users

Context Menu, Click on Users in Mac OS X

Step #5. Now, open the folder that corresponds to the user you are looking for. (if a user is Joe, the folder name would be Joe; open it).

Folder that Corresponds to the User

Step #6. You can now copy and open files that this user has shared.

Step #7. To share a file specifically with this user: you should copy and paste any file into the Drop Box folder. That’s it.

Copy and Paste Any File into Drop Box Folder

The thing about other people’s Public folder is that you can’t paste anything in it. You can only paste into the Drop Box folder and that’s how you can share directly to that particular user. To share with everyone, paste files into your Public folder.