I recently upgraded to Lion and I tried to FTP into it from another Mac, but I couldn't. I went to System Preferences>Sharing and could only find AFP and SMB sharing. How do I enable FTP sharing in Lion?

2 Answers 2


The option has been removed from the GUI in OS X 10.7 however you can enable it with a few commands.

Here is a good write up on how to do it.


Summary of the link above:

To Load:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

Then to start and stop you would run the following:

sudo launchctl start com.apple.ftpd

sudo launchctl stop com.apple.ftpd

To Unload:

sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist
  • 2
    Thanks for posting. Can you please summarize the contents of the link? Links have a tendency to disappear down the road, leaving other people with an answer that has no meaning, because the link doesn't go anywhere.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 21:53
  • I'd agree with the link above by enabling remote login for SFTP access. I will summarise the enable ftp above anywho. Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 22:28

If I am not mistaken FTP is not supported anymore, too insecure, eg sends your password in the clear over the network etc. However, if you enable "Remote Login" in sharing, you can use SFTP which works just as well as FTP. SFTP stands for secure FTP and therefore all the information you transfer between computers is encrypted while in transit over the network, internet, etc.

Remote Login enable

Once you enable it on your computer you can connect to it using SSH / SFTP log in formats for example see below:

sftp username@hostname_or_ip-address
  • I was using a GUI app and I tried SFTP as the protocol, but it wouldn't connect. I do have Remote Login enabled.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 22:07
  • Check the Firewall setting in "Security & Privacy" system prefernce pane, you may want to temporary turn off the firewall and then see if you can connect.
    – MrDaniel
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 22:14
  • My Firewall is off.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 22:16
  • What's the difference when you run the sftp user@host vs ssh user@host? If you can ssh in you should be able to sftp in. Does this other solution help? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/41652/…
    – afragen
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 22:40
  • Sorry I wasn't clear, I know the differences. I was asking if you can log in via sftp in the Terminal? When logging in via sftp your should get an sftp > prompt.
    – afragen
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 23:34

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