Connect to AFP Server


Getting started with Netatalk, or AFP file sharing in general, on Classic Mac OS and earlier OSX can be a daunting task. This page aims to summarize a handful of tips & tricks for getting started with and troubleshooting your vintage Mac network.

Connect from a Mac client with TCP

If you have configured Netatalk with support for Zeroconf (for Mac OS X 10.2 or later) or SLP (for Mac OS X 10.0 and 10.1) service discovery should work, and the file server should automatically be listed in the Network drawer.

In Classic Mac OS, you have to enter the IP address to the AFP file server manually with the stock AppleShare Client.

AFP over TCP can be used on Mac OS 7.1 and later. Mac OS 8.1 and later supports AFP over TCP out of the box, but on older versions you need to install AppleShare Client 3.7.4 (or later.) You may also need to install Open Transport 1.3 if a compatible version of OT is not already installed.

Note that the AppleShare Client 3.7.4 will refuse to install on a 7.1 System, so you will have to copy the AppleShare extension over manually.

On Classic Mac OS, open the Chooser, click on AppleTalk, and then the Server IP Address button.

On Mac OS X 10.8 or earlier, enter the Go menu, Connect to Server, enter afp://[ip address], Connect, and then the same username and password as above.

On Mac OS 9, you can use a unofficial Apple extension to enable support for Zeroconf service discovery.


Netatalk comes with a handy tool for inquiring the status of an AFP server, asip-status, regardless of whether it’s run by Netatalk or a real Mac. Pass the ip (v4/v6) address or “localhost” to the script to get a status summary of a running AFP server.

Connect with AppleTalk (Netatalk 2)

Note: You need to run Netatalk 2 in order to use AppleTalk networking.

AppleTalk is compatible with the oldest version of the Macintosh System Software that supported networking, as well as network enabled Apple II and Lisa systems, up until Mac OS X 10.8.

AFP over classic AppleTalk (DDP) is plug and play, with available servers detected automatically if the atalkd daemon is running and has registered the AFP server.

If your Mac has both LocalTalk (modem/printer port) and EtherTalk (Ethernet) support, you can switch between the two in the AppleTalk control panel. Make sure you have the correct AppleTalk network configured before opening the Chooser.

On System 6.0.x and later, open up Chooser and select AppleTalk. The file server should be detected automatically.

On Mac OS X 10.8 or earlier, open the Finder and select Network from the left drawer. The file server should be detected automatically.


Bootstrapping an AppleTalk network can be fiddly on a modern network.

For AppleTalk routing to work on wireless networks, the Wi-Fi AP must be AppleTalk compatible, for instance early Apple AirPort routers. See also this 68kmla discussion thread.

The atalkd daemon will attempt to auto detect the loopback interface and update its own atalkd.conf config file with address ranges and phase settings. If the default configuration fails, edit the config file manually to f.e. change to a different network interface. If atalkd insists in rewriting its own config file in undesired ways, make the file global read-only with file system privileges (chmod).

Inspect the AppleTalk network with the nbplkup (uses the NBP protocol to look up registered servers.) For instance, turn on personal file sharing on a Classic Mac OS system on the network (Apple’s own AFP server software) in addition to Netatalk. When you run nbplkup you should see both the Mac’s AFP server, as well as the Netatalk AFP server. If you can see only the latter, the routing between the Netatalk *NIX server and the Mac isn’t working.

Sometimes the atalkd daemon fails to register the other services with NBP. This can happen when the other daemons start before atalkd. In this case, wait until atalkd is fully started, and then restart afpd, a2boot, papd, and timelord.

Mac Emulators

The AFP share can be accessed also from within a Mac emulator with a network bridge, such as Basilisk II.

In Basilisk II or SheepShaver, make sure you configure the emulator with the slirp network interface, and install the AppleShare Client / Open Transport software on the emulated system as instructed above. In the TCP/IP control panel, configure DHCP and make sure you can ping the host system with OTTool or similar utility. At this point, you should be able to reach the shared drive through TCP, if not DDP.

Cross-Platform Client

It is possible to connect to an AFP server from a non-Mac machine by using a cross-platform open source AFP client called afpfs-ng.

The original project has been dormant for many years. However, there are a number of forks available that aim to keep the software up to date.

One such fork is maintained by a netatalk project member. It runs well on modern systems via the afpcmd CLI tool. However, the Fuse filesystem integration is unstable at the time of writing and is not recommended

See Also

This is a mirror of the Netatalk GitHub Wiki. Please visit the original page if you want to correct an error or contribute new contents.

Last updated 2024-05-13