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How to transfer files from Windows to Mac and vice versa

If you’re looking to transfer data from your PC to Mac devices, you may find that sharing files can be difficult depending on the size and format of all the files that you need to move. However, you have reliable and relatively simple ways of transferring files from PC to Mac. Some even work without you needing to use a third-party service if both devices are on the same network. Here’s how you can safely enable file sharing between these two devices.

How to transfer files from Windows to Mac and vice versa

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

How to transfer files from Windows to Mac

As long as both your Mac and Windows PC are using the same network, you can enable file sharing between the two devices via the Migration Assistant. The first thing you’ll need to do is to enable a connection between these two devices so your Mac can access Windows files.

1. Enable sharing for the folder you want to transfer from your Windows computer

Once you’ve compiled all the information you want to transfer to your Mac on your Windows PC, right-click the folder to bring up “Properties.”

2. Choose the devices you’d like to share the file with via the “Sharing” tab

Under “Properties,” click the “Share” button to bring up a dropdown list of users. Choose the user account with which you would like to share the folder.

3. Add users and confirm their sharing permissions

Add the user account you want to share files with, then change their permission level from either “Read” (for access only) or “Read/write” (to enable both access and make changes).

4. Enable network discovery and file sharing in your system settings

Your Windows PC will now prompt you to enable network file transfer via “Network access.” Choose “Yes” and wait for the process to finish.

5. Take note of your Windows PC IP address

Open Command Prompt, enter “ipconfig,” and press “Enter.” Your Windows PC’s IP address should now be visible. In most cases, this will be the “IPv4 address” under “Ethernet” (if you’re using a wire to connect your Windows PC to your router) or “Wireless LAN” (if you’re using Wi-Fi).

6. Use the Finder on your Mac to connect to your Windows computer

Open the “Finder” window, then choose “Go” > “Connect to server” to bring up the “Connect to server” window.

7. Enter the credentials of your Windows PC

Input your Windows PC’s IP address, username, and password. Click “Return” and wait for your files to load.

8. Mount the folder you marked for file sharing onto your Mac

Select the volume from your Windows PC that you want to mount onto your Mac. After confirming, you should be able to see your files on your Windows PC and Mac under “Locations.” You can now transfer the files you need.

How to transfer files from Mac to Windows

The Apple OS also enables easy transfer of files via the Migration Assistant. Just make sure that you’ve downloaded the latest MacOS updates to ensure version compatibility with the Windows Migration Assistant on your Windows PC. You should also make sure that your Mac has been authorized for Apple ID purchases.

1. Make sure your cybersecurity software isn’t interfering with your connection

VPNs, antivirus software, and firewalls can interfere with the direct network connection between your Windows PC and Mac, especially if you’re transferring files from your Windows PC to a new Mac. You can turn these back on after the transfer is complete. Make sure both devices are connected to the Wi-Fi.

2. Start the Migration Assistant on both the PC and the Mac

Follow the on-screen instructions on both devices until it starts displaying a string of numbers. This is the code that will allow direct network connection between your Windows computer and your Mac. Ensure that both codes are the same when connecting your devices.

3. Wait for the Migration Assistant to catalog the files to transfer

Depending on the amount of information on your Windows PC, this process can take some time. Once it’s finished, the window should display all the files available for transfer, alongside their category and their total file space.

4. Choose the files you want to transfer and start the transfer process

Click “Continue” to start the file transfer process. This can take a while, so it’s generally recommended that you start the process before you go to sleep and let it run for several hours overnight

5. Log in to your Mac with the migrated account from your Windows PC

After the Migration Assistant transfers the files, exit the application from both your Windows and your Mac. You can now log in to your Mac with your migrated Windows PC account, as it should be under the same name.

Other ways to transfer files between Mac and Windows

Aside from directly connecting your Mac and Windows PC using the Migration Assistant, there are other ways you can transfer data from one device to another. These are generally recommended if you’re only transferring smaller files.

Use a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection

Both Windows PCs and Mac devices can enable Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi sharing to enable easy transfer of files across the local network. Simply follow the on-screen instructions on either your Mac or your Windows PC to enable file sharing. Make sure that both devices have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on.

Use an external disk or flash drive

An external drive or USB can also be used to transfer files from a Windows PC to a Mac. As long as the drive has been formatted with the exFAT file system (the format that’s compatible with both Windows PC and Mac), you can just transfer your files via plug-and-play. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to transfer large files and don’t want to wait too long.

Use cloud-based services and platforms

A cloud data platform can also work to transfer files between Windows PCs and Macs since they’re both connected to the same network. These services can function as other Google Drive alternatives if data capping and transfer rates are an issue, especially with larger organizations and companies. For individual use, services like NordLocker file encryption can be used to sync files across devices.

Use other file-sharing services

Some programs like NordVPN’s Meshnet and its Libdrop file sharing can connect devices remotely regardless of their operating systems. This enables seamless collaboration and secure file transfers. Simply download the application to your Mac and Windows PC and start transferring within minutes. Alternatively, you may also consider cloud storage and sharing services.

Work, share, play with other devices

Remote access, file sharing, and so much more