os x el capitan

OS X Server 5 – iOS File Sharing

With the introduction of OS X Server 5, Apple has added a new way to share files to iOS users.

In the past, we had the WebDav option, which is still available. But now a new iOS sharing option is available that presents share points to apps that support document management.

Note: Beware this feature is only available for OS X Server 5 running on El Capitan and for iOS 9 users.

Setup OS X Server

If you launch the server app and head to the File Sharing service, you will note several things.

  • If you edit the share point, a new option for iOS is available. Enable it to make that share point available for iOS 9 users.


  • On the main window for the file sharing service is an option to create personal folders for users who log in with iOS. As well as seeing the main shares, every user gets a personal folder.


Setup iOS 9

We can now setup iOS 9:

  • Head to the settings app and select Mail, Contacts and Calendars


  • Select “Other” as the account option to add


  • Then select “OS X Server Account”


  • If you are on the same subnet, the server will appear. Otherwise you can select “other.” In either case, enter your user credentials.



  • Now if you run an app that fully supports document management, like Pages, you will see this share as an option to grab some files.



14 Replies to "OS X Server 5 – iOS File Sharing"

  • Morgan

    This is very interesting. Have you guys tested this yet in an AD environment with the OS X Server bound to AD so that AD users can make use of this feature?

  • I cannot get any user to authenticate. It fails with “wrong username or password” using the same credentials that work for the same share over SMB or AFP (or VPN, even). Issues persisted through a wipe and restore to a vanilla El Capitan.

  • Kirk C

    What I haven’t sussed out is where the “personal” folder is being stored. For example, where is your “Richard” folder on your Mac’s storage? Is it in your “Files” share? On my end, I’m not seeing those personal folders being created in the share, even when I add documents to the personal folder.

  • Mike Wong

    Just tested this iOS file sharing. After I edited a shared file on my iPad Pages, I can see the changes on my iPhone Pages. But I cannot see the changes on my MacBook Pro mounting the same shared folder via AFP.

    I think something was wrong here. Any one tried this successfully?


  • Just a note – I’ve not found this highlighted anywhere else. If you are going to use this, you need to make sure port 443 is forwarded as IOS File Sharing to the correct server. This is is bundled in with the web services, so if like me you have web services served by a different machine your IOS File Sharing will be directed to that machine not your file server. Just delete the port 443 from your web server port mapping and create a new port mapping (or add it to your existing file server port mapping)

  • I just had an error pop up that says “Could not resolve server address”. What does this mean?

  • I just tested this and I set up a dedicated directory in my home to be shared with my iOS device. It all seems fine on the server side. The problem is when I want to add the OS X server account on the phone. Whenever I add my normal user credentials I get the message “The username or password for … is incorrect”. It only works if I enter my admin account’s credentials. As a result the shared folder is only readonly, as only my normal user has read&write permissions to that shared folder and everyone else and group are set to read only.
    Of course I could just give everyone permission to read and write to make it work, but in fact I would prefer to even remove the permission to read for everyone only leaving access to the intended user.

    Does anyone have any idea what may be wrong to only allow my administrator account to connect to my server? Could I have configured the server wrongly? File Sharing is the only service I activated. (Mac OS 10.11.4, Server 5.1, iOS 9.3)

    From a security point of view it certainly does not make sense to not allow access to user accounts, but administrator accounts, trough which a hacker could cause much more damage than as normal users.

  • Anyone get this working in an environment where the users are coming from AD? Interesting thing is when I add the account under Mail, Contacts, and Calendars it adds fine but when I go into mail to add an attachment and then select the server it says cannot connect authentication invalid.

  • But what remains a mystery is the ability to access the same storage from a Mac using WebDAV so documents can be swapped or used by either the Mac OS or iOS device.

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