Connect To Server For Mac

This is the first blog in our drive mounting series. We’ll start off by covering a few basics including manual connections to file servers with the OS X Finder, some troubleshooting points, and generally describing the behavioural characteristics when Macs connect to network drives.

Connecting to a network drive

In the Finder on your Mac, choose Finder Preferences. Click General, then make sure the “Connected servers” checkbox is selected. Click Sidebar, then make sure the “Connected servers”. Follow these steps: Choose Go→Connect to Server from the Finder. Open the Connect to Server dialog. The Connect to Server dialog opens. To connect OS X to a network drive, perform these steps: In the Finder, select Go from the menu bar and select the bottom option “Connect to server” In the dialog box that appears, enter the protocol, the server name and the share name in URL format: It’s important to note two things at this point: UNC paths with backslashes won’t work. Try another site or app. To make sure the problem isn’t restricted to just one website, try visiting.

To connect OS X to a network drive, perform these steps:

  1. In the Finder, select Go from the menu bar and select the bottom option “Connect to server…”
  2. In the dialog box that appears, enter the protocol, the server name and the share name in URL format:


It’s important to note two things at this point:

  • UNC paths with backslashes won’t work
  • The share name is case sensitive so if the shared folder is called “MyShare”, but you use “myshare”, you will get an error like this:

The error is a bit misleading as it’s indicating an error with the connection to the server, when it’s only the wrong case used on the share name.


  1. If you’re using a single sign-on system like Kerberos, OS X will get a service ticket automatically. That will be used to authenticate to the server and then mount the share
  2. If you aren’t using Kerberos, and the server is configured to require authentication, you will be presented with an authentication dialog box:

You can use the “remember my password” option which will store the username and password combination in your user accounts keychain.

Once you save the credentials in the keychain, subsequent connections won’t present the dialog box

  1. Click connect and the share will mount on the desktop

What if I don’t specify a share name?

If no share name is specified, i.e. you use this format:

Once you authenticate you will be presented with a list of available shares like this:

What if I don’t specify a protocol

If you don’t specify the protocol in the address, i.e. you use this format:

Up until OS X 10.8, afp was the default if no protocol was specified. In the more recent OS releases, it will use SMB.

Generally speaking, we would always recommend specifying the protocol, particularly if the server is offering multiple options, just to be sure it’s connecting the way you want.

What protocols are available?

The “connect to server” feature in the OS X Finder can use the following protocols:

  1. AFP – Apple Filing Protocol – Until recently, the default connection protocol for OS X if the server address wasn’t prefixed with one
  2. SMB/CIFS – Server Message Block / Common Internet File Service – The default protocol connecting to Windows servers (note that using CIFS tells the Mac to use the older SMB1 protocol)
  3. NFS – Network File System – Default file sharing protocol for Unix systems
  4. HTTP/S – WebDAV file sharing service
  5. S/FTP – File Transfer Protocol – This is a slightly different protocol that does provide a network file system, but rather supports basic file transfer command like GET and PUT

What about drive letters?

Mac OS X doesn’t use drive letters like a Windows system, instead it uses something called “mount points”. These are essentially directories in the file system that are used to “mount” the shared network drive.

Behind the scenes it’s really a 2-step process, the first step is the creation of the mount point (a folder), followed by the actual connection to the file server and the mounting of the share onto the folder. The folder is typically put in /Volumes but can be placed in other locations.

Choose a proper port to avoid ISP blocks and conflicts with other programs. Adjust internal settings based upon upload capacity of the internet connection to allow room for outgoing communications and to distribute upload efficiently.There are some programs that claim to optimize speed in µTorrent. Utorrent downloads. Forward that port through any software firewall and router to allow incoming connections.

Read “Connecting to a file server from Mac OS X part 2” here.

Say Hello to AirPlay + Google Cast

AirServer is the most advanced screen mirroring receiver for Mac and PC. It allows you to receive AirPlay and Google Cast streams, similar to an Apple TV or a Chromecast device.

AirServer turns your Mac into a universal mirroring receiver, with the exception of Miracast, allowing you to mirror your device's display using the built-in AirPlay or Google Cast based screen projection functionality; one by one or simultaneously to AirServer.

Users can mirror or cast their screen from any AirPlay or Google Cast compatible device such as an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android or Chromebook. Windows and Linux platforms are also supported using the screen casting sender built into the Google Chrome browser.

Bring Your Own Device

AirServer introduced the world’s first BYOD solution by implementing all the major mirroring technologies giving everyone the freedom of choice for the device they wish to use.

Ultra-high quality recording

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AirServer helps you create professional videos of your mirroring sessions in stunning quality. Showcase your iOS apps and games or archive your classroom collaboration in the best quality possible.

AirPlay + Google Cast

AirServer for Mac builds upon its existing AirPlay receiver functionality, including iOS 12 compatibility, and adds Google Cast receiving capabilities.

AirPlay from the YouTube app

AirServer for Mac once again supports this feature. Besides Apple TV, AirServer was the first application to provide this feature.

Chromebook Compatible

AirServer supports both tab casting and desktop casting which is built into all Chromebooks and all desktop platforms with Google Chrome browser.

Android Compatible

Works with all Google Cast enabled Android devices. Devices that do not have the cast functionality can enable this by downloading the Google Cast app.

Live streaming to YouTube

YouTube Live certified, AirServer will enable you live stream your iOS gameplay with unique picture-in-picture webcam support. Teachers can also use this powerful technology to live stream their lectures.

Windows Connect To Mac Server

Retina quality mirroring

AirServer provides drastically improved picture quality during mirroring. Starting with iPhone 6 Plus, iOS devices can now mirror at full 1080 x 1920 resolution, which is over 3x the previous pixel count.

Connect To Server Mac Terminal

Encrypted AirPlay

AirServer protects your personal photos and videos as they are transmitted over the network. This important security feature is only offered by AirServer and the Apple TV.

Connect To Server Via Mac

iOS 12 Compatible

AirServer has maintained AirPlay compatibility since iOS 4.2.1 and has pushed out free compatibility updates with every major version of iOS since 2011.

Connect To Server Mac Shortcut

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