According to Apple's product page, the Airport Extreme...

"...can turn your external USB hard drive into a secure drive you can share across your Wi‑Fi network and access securely over the Internet."

Screen grab from Apple's Airport Extreme product page

My interpretation of the "access securely over the Internet" part is that if I plug in an external hard drive to an Airport Extreme on my home network, I can get to it from anywhere via the internet... including outside of my home network.

Am I interpreting this correctly? If so, it sounds like a pretty awesome feature! I guess I'm skeptical though because when I Google around for this, I find nothing relevant... including any info from Apple. What gives?


2 Answers 2


Sometimes, the only way to get an answer is to try it for yourself! So, I went out and bought an Airport Extreme. Bottom line:


The magic happens with iCloud's Back to My Mac feature. Here's how you do it:

  1. System Preferences > iCloud: Turn on Back to My Mac
  2. Airport Utility > Select AirPort Extreme > Edit > Disks: Tick "Enable file sharing" and "Share disks over WAN"
  3. I chose to secure the shared disks "With device password"... meaning the password that is set for the AirPort Extreme.

Now, when you're away from your local network, just click the name of your AirPort Extreme in a Finder window's sidebar (if you don't see it, make sure "Back to My Mac" is ticked in Finder > Preferences > Sidebar).

Amazingly, that's it. It blows my mind that Apple isn't promoting this more heavily or that there's little talk about it out there. To me, this is a pretty killer feature!

  • Is this a ubiquitous solution though? How do I connect to my Mac's networked HD from a PC while I am at work?
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 17:52

Best way to hook up a network drive is to add a network drive that get's its own IP address. Adding a USB drive to an airport extreme is not good because it's not reliable. Tends to disconnect, and then to reconnect you have to reboot the airport and the usb disc. Not worth it.

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