Leopard: Still no FTP support? WTF?! - Macenstein

Leopard: Still no FTP support? WTF?!

The early reviews of Mac OS X Leopard are coming in from those lucky enough to have been shipped a review copy, had their pre-order shipped early, or stolen downloaded a copy through the Torrents. And while these reports are all well and good, what matters most to us is what the faithful Macenstein readers have to say.

One such faithful reader (and early Leopard adopter) The Hendry, was overall pleased with the release, but lamented to us that Leopard still sports one glaring omission that seems to have slipped by in Tiger and Panther before it – native FTP support.

“This is really just lame. Why do I still have to use a 3rd party application (or .Mac) to upload something to a server?! Windows users have been able to do this for YEARS! I suggest Apple sit an intern programmer down and have him spend 10 minutes adding this functionality to 10.5.1.”

Good point.

Sure, starting a few versions back, you were able to navigate to an FTP volume in the Finder (and starting with Tiger it actually WORKED reliably), but you were (and according to The Hendry apparently still are) limited to downloading from the Finder, you still cannot UPLOAD from the Finder.

Yes, there are certainly a number of cheap and even free FTP apps out there that do a great job on the whole uploading thing, but there is no reason Apple should be intentionally crippling such a basic feature as native FTP access in the Mac OS. As The Hendry points out, Apple’s .Mac service allows for uploading files, but I’d hate to think Apple is disabling such a basic feature to push .Mac. (cough! Conspiracy! cough!).

Maybe Apple thinks not enough people care about FTP access to make it a priority, but I bet a hell of a lot more care about it than are going to put fish tank footage behind them in iChat.

19 Responses to “Leopard: Still no FTP support? WTF?!”
  1. Tim F. says:

    FTP sends information in plain text over your network, which is probably why it isn’t supported natively — it’s a security risk.

    SCP, however, encrypts traffic before it traverses the network, and *is* natively supported by OS X. Just enable “Remote Login”, which is a secure shell daemon.

  2. Christophe says:

    Start terminal.

    Type “man ftp”.

    Discover the joys of having a Unix-based OS.

  3. Intrepidsilence says:

    Okay, really. It’s time to face up to the fact that whether or not ftp and telnet are dead yet, they should be. Anyone still broadcasting their username and password in clear text should stop and think about it. Moreover, any web service requiring the use of one of these antiquated services instead of supporting SSH should be dropped immediately and replaced with a service that is more forward thinking. Mac OS X supports SSH fully and it is the only way to go for secure replacements for ftp and telnet and is infinitely more functional. There are plenty of free ftp clients out there if you insist on continuing to use a crappy, insecure service. I see no reason for Apple to continue to support a service we should all be pushing into the grave. It it time.

  4. The Hendry says:

    Thanks Doc.

    Tim, I am tlaking about ftp-ing to remote servers, not into my machines. For instance, say a client i am collaborating with sends me the ftp address to pick up a file from on their server. I can click that link in safari, and the finder opens the volume on my desktop. I can drag files out, but I cannot drag files IN – no matter the permissions. OS X just won’t et you do it, and that is bush-league.

  5. The Hendry says:


    Just because terminal is there for the geeks doesn’t mean the rest of us know, understand it, or find it to be easier than a slick easy GUI, one Apple is known for.
    If I have to launch terminal, and enter a bunhc of gobbldegook, or simply browse the network and enter an ftp address, (or better yet, click a link in an e-mail) I think Apple could make that possible.

    and Intrepidsilence, there are a lot of “out dated” protocols that OS X still supports, and you know why? because we have a 3% marketshare!!! just because you found a newer better way to do something, don’t make it so I can’t interact with 97% of my clients! support both! geez, what are we being protected from here?

  6. Rowlings says:

    Hendry, I think we’re up to 6-7% market share, so you’re only being screwed out of interacting with 93% of the world.


  7. Jayson says:

    “I think we’re up to 6-7% market share”

    Don’t forget the ~1% that uses Linux/Unix 😉

    Seriously though, with the plethora of ways on the internet to steal your personal information, security is a real concern. It completely baffles me why software companies, hosting companies / internet servers, users, etc still use such insecure protocols. My previous job refused to open port 22 to allow ssh / scp / sftp traffic due to the fact that the protocol was open-source and therefore was insecure. However, they frequently opened ports for telnet / ftp and for a while even had vnc open to the world. Once you’ve watched a script-kiddie steal your password in minutes using a program like ettercap (really, it takes just a few minutes to learn how to sniff out passwords this way), you’ll never use telnet / ftp / non-ssl pop/imap again.

  8. Charles says:

    I can’t believe you think more people would be interested in FTP downloads than putting a fish tank background behind themselves in iChat. Have you seen the kids on the iMacs in the Apple Store?

  9. Bob says:

    I’ve been using Mac OS X’s FTP since 10.2, when I discovered it. Pretty simple really:

    1. From the finder, go to the “Go” menu. Select “Connect to Server”.

    2. In the server address, type in your ftp address “ftp://ftp.whatever.com/

    3. If it needs authentication, it will prompt you for your username and password. It will even ask if you want to store this in your keychain.

    4. It will mount on your desktop as a volume. Happy FTPing


  10. Thanks Bob, we’re aware of that.

    Can you upload files that way, or just download from the mounted volume.

    Seems to be one way for us.

    -the Doc

  11. Ooble says:

    I have to agree with people in that SFTP support is much more important. Currently I can mount a drive through SSH using sshfs (http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/), but it would be much easier if I could do it natively through the Connect to Server dialog box. In addition, the interface is much better.

  12. Bob says:

    I use it to upload files to the printers I use. I save alias’s of the volumes in a folder and when I click on them they open up with no problems. I upload some fairly large files to em this way. I think the only time I have problems is when they have a sftp connection.

  13. Rogier says:

    Apple want’s you to buy .Mac and use iDisk !

  14. noise says:

    ftp via GO menu works for me with both Down and Up loading,(mostly, but not always)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Most of you don’t get it… lack of FTP upload is just dumb dumb.

    I run an online media service for the entertainment industry that has a 90%+ Mac user base, FTP is part of life for us… We get support calls from our clients, and it’s always been very hard for us to explain to our them (and their clients) that they cannot upload using the built in Mac FTP, that they have to go get Cyberduck or YummyFTP or something.

    This is would be totally unnecessary if Apple would just properly implemented this most basic of protocols.

    It costs me money to provide support for a feature that should just work.

    Yes clear passwords are bad, of course SSH or SFTP would be better, even WebDAV over HTTPS, but if you want to stay in business you cannot force users to jump through hoops to get something basic as upload done. You have to provide options, but you also have to provide the basics.

    Imagine if SSH or SFTP was not allowed to send information, only receive… That wouldn’t work very well would it… The point is they have not fully implemented the basic functions of one of the most fundamental protocols out there. They should just not implement it rather than do it half-assed.

    Windows has supported fully FTP upload and download for years. Their implementation is basic, but it works for the general user. Someone that needs more features (resume, sync, etc) can buy one of the hundreds of FTP programs for Windows to get those extra features.

    Apple could easily do the same, provide a basic implementation of the FTP protocol, which would still leave plenty of room for the FTP programs for Mac that are out there (YummyFTP, Cyberduck, Transmit, RBrowser, Fetch, etc).

    I was really hoping this *major* oversight would be fixed in Leopard… This is one area where Apple has *really* dropped the ball, for a long time.

  16. matt says:

    It’s to force you to use .Mac. Yeah right. I prefer a domain name I decided that doesn’t cost the earth, thanks.

    I was quite surprised when I found this to be the case. Oh well Dragster does the job for now but it’s far from ideal.

  17. windi says:

    I have to use FTP servers because of my task.. yes, there is no SFTP or SSH support on the server, just plain text FTP. There is nothing I can do about that. On Linux there is a very simple to use ‘ftpfs’, and on Windows there are serveral easy to use FTP clients that show the site as a drive letter (for easy editting of files.) Windows Explorer can also do this natively to some extent.
    When I try to do this on Leopard, the only obivious choice is “Connect to Server”. FTP urls seem to open up (even the password is accepted) and a mount point is created for them, but the folder is always either empty or stuck. Passive mode and proxy settings don’t fix it.

  18. Spencer says:

    Hi guys,

    Great stuff you’re discussing here. I recall the previous version of Tiger allowing for FTP uploading. And it seems that there is deliberately no uploading support in the “Finder > Go > Connect to Server…” for Leopard 10.5.4

    However I read that two of you – “noise” and “bob” – actually accomplished this??

  19. FTP_Guy says:

    Want Apple to give you features? File a bug report!


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