MacMost Now 210: Bluetooth File Sharing

Learn how to use Bluetooth file sharing to send files from one Mac to another without a local network, wires or anything else. Handy for easily getting a file from one Mac to another in almost any situation.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 210: Bluetooth File Sharing.

Gary Rosenzweig: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today, let's learn how to use Bluetooth File Sharing.
So, suppose you're at a coffee shop with a friend or at a meeting with a colleague. You've got two Macs, but no way to share files. There is no network and you've got no cables and nobody thought to bring one of those thumb drives.
How can you get a file from one Mac to the other?
Well, it turns out you can do that using Bluetooth. Bluetooth File Sharing is available in Leopard and can be used in just about any Mac. Let's look at how.
So, the first thing you wanna do, on both Macs, is turn on Bluetooth File Sharing. Do that by going to the "System Preferences", choosing "Sharing" and choosing "Bluetooth Sharing". Now there's a whole bunch of options, but for this example, we'll just use all the defaults.
The next thing you want to do is go back to the "System Preferences" and select "Bluetooth". Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, discoverable and also, check off "Show Bluetooth status in the menu bar". It will make things a lot easier.
Now you should see a Bluetooth icon up in the menu bar at the top right part of your screen. Click on that and you'll see some Bluetooth options. One of them is, "Send File". Click "Send File" and what you'll get is a dialogue box that shows you different files. You select one and you'll get another box saying, "Send File To:" and you've got a list of Bluetooth devices. Now, if the other person has turned on Bluetooth like they should have, then, you'll see their computer show up there. Select that and hit, "Send".
What it'll do at this point is, it's going to go ahead and give you a little box here, "Waiting For" that machine to accept the item. On the other person's computer, they're going to get a little dialogue box saying something is trying to be sent to them via Bluetooth. Do they accept it and they have to confirm and they'll get the file.
If you plan on doing this a lot, you've got a lot of options you should check out back in the, "Bluetooth Sharing" preferences. You can set what happens when somebody's trying to send you an item. Here's "Ask what to do" which is what the default is and it'll give you a dialogue box. But, you can also automatically accept it, automatically accept and open the item or you can turn that off. You can also require that first the other machine is paired with yours. In other words, they have permission to connect to your machine.
You can set what folder these items go to, you can also go ahead and allow people to browse your public folder either by first requiring them to connect to your machine first and you can also have permission that need to be granted for somebody to browse your public folder as well.
The Bluetooth File Sharing is a great option for getting a file from one Mac to another when there's no available network or you don't have any cables or thumb drive. But, of course, the two Macs have to be pretty close to each other. Bluetooth has very limited range. You should also be able to use this to transfer files from other types of devices that have Bluetooth, to your Mac, although I haven't tested that out.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 210: Bluetooth File Sharing”

    10 years ago

    Another great tip!
    Had no idea I could use bluetooth to file share. :-)

    8 years ago

    It worked – so easy! You rock for making this technology easy and accessible for us old folks.

    7 years ago

    I don’t know if you’ll see this Gary because this is an old topic (2009!) but closest I’ve come across re my problem. I have an LG500g Tracfone and MacBook Pro. Both bluetooth are activated/paired but the phone won’t send to the computer. It tries but fails. I had my computer to the Apple store today with the phone and they said the bluetooth set up on each was fine. Any ideas? Thank you!

      7 years ago

      Sorry, I don’t think I’ll be of much help. Perhaps whatever the phone is sending isn’t something that is supported on your Mac. In other words, they aren’t compatible.

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