I am looking for an OS X application that will allow me to send a short message (URL, etc.) to another Mac running on the same LAN or WiFi.

I have two Macs at work, my company iMac and personal MacBook Pro, sitting side-by-side. Sometimes I read something on one and want to send the URL to the other. I have Instapaper, but that is overkill for this simple task.

Any ideas?

  • Nice question, and interestingly not a lot of people know that Bonjour is still built in to Messages app.
    – Shane Hsu
    Aug 1, 2013 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


Messages app on Lion or Mountain Lion supports Bonjour discovery which lets computers discover other devices using Messages app on your local network without needing a central server setup.

Bonjour is not on by default, but you can find the option under Preferences, or simply +, to open up the panel. Select the account page, and you will find Bonjour in the sidebar.

Turn it on and you're good to go.

Now to retrieve the list of people on your local network, simply +1 to bring up the buddy list, it is also available under the Windows menu item.

  • @Ralph No problem. I just tried it out as well, glad it works.
    – Shane Hsu
    Aug 1, 2013 at 14:08

You can also use netcat which is built into OSX and many *nix OSes to build a simple chat server:

On your first box (server) type the following in terminal:

nc -n -v -l 10001(or choose your own port here)

On your second box (client) type:

nc -n -v address of first box) 10001(port chosen by first box)

Edit: -l and -p cannot be used together.


Try this:

  • keep a text file you use for sending text in a folder on your desktop

  • in Terminal run

    cat ~/Desktop/TRANSIT/this_message.txt |
        ssh user@remotehost "cat >> ~/Desktop/TRANSIT/this_message.txt"

You can then also create an automator action that watches the folder, TRANSIT in my example that executes the above bash command every time you drop a file in the folder...

  • Beautiful trick!
    – Shane Hsu
    Aug 2, 2013 at 4:55
  • 1
    Thank you Shane, using ssh for this type of workflow (& automator) has saved me several hours a month at work. The real nice part, works with almost any platform that supports ssh properly (sorry windows....) Aug 2, 2013 at 14:23

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