How to Connect a MacBook With Another MacBook

by Mark Pool
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Two ways exist to connect a MacBook directly to another MacBook. If you need both computers to be interactive, you can create a private network on one of the MacBooks using its wireless networking capabilities. The various sharing options can then be used to share hardware, allow for remote management or share files. You can also use Target Disk Mode to connect one MacBook to another as if it were an external hard drive. All the files on the MacBook running in Target Disk Mode will be available to the second MacBook just as they would be on any external hard drive.

Creating a Private Network

Step 1

Click the "Create Network" option from the "AirPort" icon at the top-right corner of the screen. The icon is located to the left of the clock.

Step 2

Enter a name for the network.

Step 3

Click the "Require Password" option in Mac OS 10.6. Click the "Show Options" button in Mac OS 10.5.

Step 4

Click the "Security" drop-down menu and select the 128-bit option.

Step 5

Enter a password with exactly 13 characters, then click "OK."

Step 6

Click the "System Preferences" option in the "Apple" menu, then click the "Sharing" icon.

Step 7

Click the check box next to what you want to share. For example, you can share files, printers, DVD drives, Internet connections or enable remote login.

Step 8

Click the plus sign under the "Users" list in the item you want to share to give specific users permission to access the shared item. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 for each item and on each MacBook that you want to share something. Close the System Preferences window when finished.

Click the "AirPort" icon on the MacBook where you didn't create the network and click the name of the network you just created. Enter the password to connect, then click "OK."

Using Target Disk Mode

Step 1

Turn off the MacBook you want to access as a hard drive.

Step 2

Connect both MacBooks with a FireWire cable. Be aware that this is not a normal FireWire cable. To connect using the FireWire 800 port, see that both MacBooks have the 9-pin port, then purchase a 9-pin-to-9-pin FireWire cable. The port is completely rectangular. To connect using FireWire 400, see that both MacBooks have the 6-pin port, then purchase a 6-pin-to-6-pin FireWire cable. The FireWire 400 port is rectangular, but has a curve on one side of the rectangle.

Step 3

Turn on the MacBook and press and hold the "T" key on the keyboard until you see the yellow FireWire icon to start it in Target Disk Mode. It will appear on the other MacBook as an external drive.

Step 4

Transfer any files to or from the MacBook in Target Disk Mode, then drag its icon from the desktop to the Trash icon in the Dock to eject it.

Press the power button on the MacBook in Target Disk Mode and unplug the FireWire cable.


  • If your new MacBook doesn't have a FireWire port, use the Migration Assistant to transfer files and settings from your old MacBook over a wireless or wired network, using Time Machine or a normal external drive.


  • Some MacBooks don't have FireWire ports.
  • Target Disk Mode doesn't work with USB ports.

Items you will need

  • FireWire cable

More Articles