Netatalk lets you transfer files between iPhone and your Mac wirelessly

September 7, 2008 — by Simon Ng115



Netatalk lets you transfer files between iPhone and your Mac wirelessly

September 7, 2008 — by Simon Ng115

In my post about “Transfer ringtone to iPhone wirelessly using SSH“, I wrote about how you can use SSH to transfer ringtone file from your computer to iPhone through WiFi. User with certain technical background may find SSH useful. For general iPhone user, however, SSH may look weird. Recently, you can download Netatalk v2.0.3-4 on Cydia. Netatalk, which is an open-source implementation of AppleTalk, powers your iPhone to talk to your Mac. What it means is, with Netatalk, your iPhone can show up on Finder of your Mac as a shared device. You can then just drag & drop files onto the iPhone. Pretty great, right? Netatalk is a great alternative of SSH, especially it offers a more intuitive way for novice to connect your iPhone with your Mac.

Window User: You can use iPhoneBrowser to connect to your iPhone. I’ll write up another post about the connection procedures. Stay tune by subscribing to RSS or Email.

Installing Netatalk

  1. Launch Cydia. Tap “Sections”. You can find Netatalk under “Network” section

Connecting iPhone on your Mac

Netatalk should let you connect to your iPhone for both Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5. But, the connection procedures are somewhat different.

For Mac OS 10.5
If you’re using Mac OS 10.5, that’ll be great. The connection between your iPhone and Mac is seamless.

  1. Once you got Netatalk installed on your iPhone. Ensure the Wifi is turned on.
  2. You’ll then find your iPhone shown up on Finder window as shared device.
  3. Next, click “Connect As” button to logon as another user. You’ll be prompt to enter name/password.
  4. Type “root” or “mobile” for name and “alpine” for password. Then click “Connect”.

Now your iPhone is connected with your Mac. You should see a “mobile” folder and you can drag & drop file into the iPhone.

For Mac OS 10.4
As an older version of Mac OS X, it’s less intuitive to connect to iPhone even with Netatalk compared with that on Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard).

  1. Again, make sure your iPhone’s Wifi is turned on. But for Mac OS 10.4, you need to check the IP address of your iPhone. You can go to “Settings” -> Wi-Fi. Tap on “>” of your connected network. And you’ll see the IP address.

    Wi-fi Settings

  2. Next, on your Mac, open Finder. Click “Go” -> “Connect to server…”. Fill in your iPhone’s IP address.

  3. You’ll then prompt to enter your name and password. Type “mobile” or “root” for name and “alpine” for password.

  4. Next, if you are successfully authenticated, you’ll be prompted to choose the volume. Just click OK to accept the default volume.

That’s it. You should now select a “mobile” device (that’s your iPhone) connected to your iPhone in Finder window. Get ready to drag & drop file onto your iPhone.

Simon Ng

Founder, developer and chief blogger of