Better Security On That Macbook: Turn Off File Sharing, Enable AirDrop [OS X Tips]

Airdrop Top
When you travel with a Mac laptop, whether a Macbook Pro or Air, you may be leaving it open to malicious users to get into your machine.

One of the things you can do to keep them out of your precious files is to turn off File Sharing completely. Then, if you still want to share files with other Mac users, you can use AirDrop, which is more of a temporary opening of the security gates than File Sharing is.

Note that you can indeed improve security while using File Sharing on and setting up your Firewall with specific ports, but that’s the subject of a different tip.

To turn off File Sharing, hope into your System Preferences app and click on the Sharing icon there in the preferences window.

Disable File Sharing

Next, click the checkbox next to File Sharing to turn it off. This is, ultimately, the most secure you can make your Macbook; it keeps everything else from being allowed to connect to your Mac. You can still make connections to other network services like file servers and the like, but nothing can connect to you.

To make AirDrop work, all you need is to click on the AirDrop icon in the Finder, or select AirDrop from the Finder’s Go menu. You’ll see your Macbook’s user icon in the lower part of the window. When another user enables AirDrop on their own Mac (on the same network as you), their user icon will appear at the top.

AirDrop
To move files to the other user, drag them to their user icon in the AirDrop window. They’ll need to approve the file transfer — as soon as they do, your file will start to move to their machine.

The same is true in reverse: any files other users try to send you will, in turn, need to be approved by you. It’s a nice way to have a more conscious approach to allowing file transfers to and from your Mac, as well.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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