Mac Format - - IMPROVE -

1 Use Back to My Mac

Open Air­Port Util­ity from Ap­pli­ca­tions > Util­i­ties, se­lect your Ap­ple Ex­treme or Time Cap­sule router and click Edit. Click the + but­ton on the Base Sta­tion tab to en­ter your Ap­ple ID and link it to the router. Next, switch to the Disks tab and tick the boxes marked ‘En­able file shar­ing’ and ‘Share disks over WAN’. Next, de­cide how you want to con­nect to the router – by de­fault you’ll need to sup­ply your router’s pass­word, but click the Se­cure Shared Disks pop-up menu to con­nect us­ing a spe­cific pass­word you set up for the disk or us­ing ac­counts. The lat­ter op­tion al­lows you to en­ter your ac­count de­tails (user­name and pass­word) and then con­nect us­ing those if you wish. Once you’re done, click Up­date and wait for the router to restart.

When you next log in to your re­mote Mac you’ll need to en­able two ad­di­tional fea­tures to ac­cess your router’s stor­age: open Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, click Shar­ing and ver­ify File Shar­ing has been ticked. Now click the back but­ton and click iCloud, then put a tick next to Back to My Mac to en­able it on that Mac.

Once done, you should see the router ap­pear in Fin­der’s Shared list – click it, then click ‘Con­nect As…’ to log into it us­ing the pass­word or user­name and pass­word com­bi­na­tion you set up ear­lier.

2 Share drive with oth­ers

The big is­sue with Back to My Mac is the fact it’s not geared to­wards shar­ing your drive with other users. If you’d like to open up the drive to more than one per­son then you’ll need to con­fig­ure it dif­fer­ently.

To go down this route, first open Air­Port Util­ity from the Ap­pli­ca­tions > Util­i­ties folder. Click on the im­age of your router and make a note of both IP ad­dress (we’ll re­fer to this as ‘pub­lic IP ad­dress’ go­ing for­ward to avoid con­fu­sion) and LAN IP ad­dress in the pop-up win­dow that ap­pears. Once you’ve jot­ted down those de­tails, click Edit.

Next, switch to the Net­work tab. Ver­ify that ‘Router Mode’ is set to ‘DHCP and NAT’, then switch to the Disks tab. Your con­nected drive should be vis­i­ble here. Tick the ‘En­able file shar­ing’ and ‘Share disks over WAN’ boxes, then choose what kind of se­cu­rity you want to ap­ply to the drive. This is where se­lect­ing Ac­counts may be of most use, as it al­lows you to al­lo­cate dif­fer­ent lev­els of ac­cess to dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

Next, switch back to the Net­work tab. Click + un­der Port Set­tings and se­lect ‘Pub­lic folder shar­ing’ un­der the De­scrip­tion drop-down menu. Ig­nore the warn­ing, then type 8888 in both the ‘Pub­lic UDP Ports’ and ‘Pub­lic TCP Ports’ boxes. Change ‘Pri­vate IP Ad­dress’ to your LAN IP ad­dress – typ­i­cally – and then type 548 into both the ‘Pri­vate UDP Ports’ and ‘Pri­vate TCP Ports’ boxes. Click Save. Fi­nally, click Up­date and wait for the changes to be ap­plied. Your Air­port-at­tached stor­age is now tech­ni­cally ac­ces­si­ble over the in­ter­net.

3 Ac­cess the drive re­motely

It’s crunch time: you need to now ac­cess the drive re­motely to ver­ify it’s ac­ces­si­ble. You’ll need to do this from out­side your lo­cal net­work. The sim­plest way to do this with­out leav­ing your home is to use your mobile broad­band con­nec­tion – if your phone can be set up as a Wi-Fi hotspot, con­nect to that from your Mac, or use a mobile broad­band don­gle. If you’ve left the Air­Port Util­ity open you can ver­ify you’ve switched to this net­work as the router should grey out (or van­ish com­pletely).

Once you’re con­nected to your new net­work, open Fin­der and choose Go > Con­nect to Server. Type afp:// into the ‘Server Ad­dress:’ box, re­plac­ing with the pub­lic IP ad­dress you recorded ear­lier. Click Con­nect – you should hope­fully make a suc­cess­ful con­nec­tion (be pre­pared for a lengthy pause), and once you’ve en­tered the re­quired user­name (which can be any­thing if you’ve cho­sen to sim­ply pass­word-pro­tect the disk) and pass­word, the drive should show up in Fin­der.

If you can’t con­nect, and you’ve checked your set­tings, there’s a chance that some­thing else – a fire­wall, your ISP or even your broad­band mo­dem – is block­ing the con­nec­tion.

4 Dy­namic DNS

One fi­nal thing: your pub­lic IP ad­dress is li­able to change over time, so if you sud­denly can’t con­nect, the first thing to do is ver­ify what your cur­rent pub­lic IP ad­dress is by look­ing in Air­Port Util­ity. If you find your pub­lic IP ad­dress changes fre­quently, con­sider mak­ing use a of a dy­namic DNS ser­vice, such as

Once signed up to the ser­vice, open your router’s set­tings in Air­port Util­ity, switch to the In­ter­net tab and click ‘In­ter­net Op­tions…’ . Tick ‘Use dy­namic global host­name’, en­ter your host­name ( and user cre­den­tials. Click Save > Up­date, then test the con­nec­tion by try­ing to con­nect to the server re­motely us­ing afp://

You’ll be asked to down­load a client that au­to­mat­i­cally keeps an eye on your pub­lic IP ad­dress – when it changes, the client will au­to­mat­i­cally up­date your DNS set­tings so your host­name con­tin­ues to work with­out in­ter­rup­tion.

Set­ting up your Air­port Ex­treme to al­low oth­ers to ac­cess your drive is a lit­tle more com­pli­cated.

Use Dy­namic DNS for a con­sis­tent server name for your Air­port-con­nected gear.

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