Basic AppleShare Over the Internet on 68k Macs

Basic AppleShare Over the Internet on 68k Macs

Later versions of the Classic Mac OS let you use AppleShare (the regular client version) to directly connect to a specified IP address over the network or even internet, to access remote shares. But what some people don’t realise is that it is possible to install newer versions of the AppleShare software on older OSes to gain this functionality on older computers. This can be great for file sharing with friends over the modern internet, although some consideration should be given to security.


I haven’t done extensive testing yet, but can confirm the described setup works on a Quadra 650 connecting to a remote AppleShare (crossing the Atlantic in my case). My expectation is that this setup would work back to System 7.1 on a 68020. This will need verifying.

  • An Ethernet capable Macintosh with a 68020 or later, running System 7.1.
  • The Open Transport 1.1.2 installer (provided).
  • The AppleShare 3.0.1 or later. 3.7.4 installer (provided).
  • An ethernet network with an internet connection.


First of all, download the following two installers, transfer them to your classic Mac and expand them.

Open Transport 1.1.2

AppleShare 3.7.4

Install Open Transport 1.1.2 only if your current version is older (or you don’t have any version installed). You can check the version by viewing file info for any of a number of Open Transport related extensions in the System Folder. After Installing, you will be forced to restart.

Install AppleShare 3.7.4. You will be once again instructed to restart.

In the Network or TCP/IP Control Panel, select the Ethernet option you intend to use and DHCP.

Make sure the System date and time is correct as this can be important with some networking. You may need to use the third party “SetDate” Control Panel to do this. I find the newest version crashes my computer, so use one of the older copies available on Macintosh Garden.

Ensure you are physically connected to your network and restart the computer.

Making an outgoing connection.

After ensuring the network is connected and AppleTalk is set up as described above, open the Chooser.

Select the AppleShare option, usually in the top left.

Click on the “Server IP Address…” button and in the dialog box that appears, enter the IP address or URL for the remote server you’re connecting to and click “Connect”.

Select “Guest” or enter the login details required for authentication and click “OK”.

At this point, if everything is successful, you should be presented with a list of available shares. You don’t need to click the checkboxes, they are only to save the servers so that they automatically mount at startup. To connect to a share, you just need to select it. You can select multiple shares by command-clicking.

Click “OK” and the remote share should mount on your desktop. Take things easy, especially if you are a long way from the server you have connected to as AppleShare is a little slow over the internet. Try to only do one thing at a time and consider how big a file or folder is before copying. Try to avoid getting info on folders containing a lot of files. Also, avoid opening files directly from the remote share – take a local copy first.

With my overclocked Quadra 650, I was able to get a little less than 1MB/s for transfers over a long distance. This is pretty good considering 10baseT is only about 1.2MB/s maximum, and has some overheads. I suspect the speeds I achieved are not much slower than I would get over a local network.

Preparing for an Incoming Connection

  • Turn on file sharing in the “Sharing Setup” Control Panel (moved to “File Sharing” on newer versions of Mac OS).
  • Turn off file sharing in the “Sharing…” option in the Finder’s “File” menu (moved to “Get Info” on newer versions of Mac OS) for all disks.
  • Create a new user in the Users and Groups Control Panel (moved to “File Sharing” on newer versions of Mac OS).
  • Create a shared folder and copy files you want to share into this folder.
  • Set the Sharing options for the shared folder so that it is read only for the user you created.
  • Optionally, create a drop box (a folder with write only permissions) inside the shared folder, or a guest folder (with read and write permissions) for people to upload their own files.
  • Log into your router’s settings page. Identify the IP address of your classic Mac.
  • Using instructions specific to your router, set up port forwarding to forward port 548 as TCP to the IP address associated with your classic Mac. Save and reset your router as required.

Security Suggestions

As AppleShare is an old and unsupported protocol, it is unlikely to be as secure as modern networking protocols. For example, traffic will be unencrypted and visible to anyone sniffing the connection. The following are a number of suggestions to improve security a little.

  • When you are not expecting incoming traffic, disable port 548 forwarding on your router. This removes a “hole” in your firewall and reduces the chance of someone stumbling on it, who might want to test your other security.
  • Don’t share with guest access enabled unless you are confident in what you are doing. Always set up a password protected user account for incoming connections.
  • Only share specific files you need to share, not whole disks.
  • Disable sharing when you’re not using it.
  • Ensure that you do not transfer private information over AppleShare.
  • Check that you don’t accidentally include personal information or files containing passwords / account details in the shared folder.
  • If you know how, consider setting up an SSH tunnel or VPN to transfer the AppleShare connection between local and remote sites. This will encrypt AppleShare traffic and shield transfers from prying eyes, although this will also make connecting more difficult.

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