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Going Back to Your Mac in Mac OS X Leopard

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The new "Back to My Mac" feature in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard puts all of your Macs within reach. Maria Langer shows you how.
From the author of Here’s the scenario: You’re on a plane headed to that big business meeting when you decide to spend some time tweaking the keynote presentation you’ll be using in the morning - Title Page

Here’s the scenario: You’re on a plane headed to that big business meeting when you decide to spend some time tweaking the keynote presentation you’ll be using in the morning. You open up your MacBook Pro and suddenly realize that you forgot to copy the final version of the presentation from the iMac in your office to your laptop before leaving. All you have is the first three slides you created three weeks ago (the last time you were on a plane), when you first heard you would be doing this presentation.

Although your client is sitting in the business class seat beside you, you stay cool. Why? Because you’re running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on your MacBook Pro, and your computer back at your office is turned on and connected to the Internet. You know that when you get to the hotel, you can "go back to your Mac" at the office—even though it’s 2,000 miles away—and get the presentation you forgot.

This situation isn’t so far-fetched. Most of us have forgotten a file at one time or another. It’s happened to me. That’s why, when Leopard was released, I upgraded all three of my Macs to the new operating system.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can set up the new Back to My Mac feature of Leopard. Then I’ll show you how you can take advantage of it when you need to go back to your Mac from afar.

What You Need

To use Back to My Mac, you need a few things:

  • At least two Macs, each of which has access to the Internet via an AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, or other router that supports NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP) or Universal Plug and Play (UPnP).
  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later installed on each Mac.
  • A .Mac basic or Family account. This feature works with .Mac, so if you’ve been putting off the purchase of this service, here’s the perfect excuse to sign up.

Back to My Mac makes it possible to access any Mac associated with your .Mac account, as long as that Mac is turned on, has Back to My Mac and associated sharing features turned on, and is connected to the Internet. Do your Macs meet those qualifications? If so, keep reading.

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