By Ellie / Last Updated March 14, 2024

How do I transfer files from Windows to Mac?


I'm simply seeking the most straightforward method to transfer some files from my Windows computer to my MacBook. Thank you for your assistance!”

- Question from Reddit

Windows to Mac File Transfer

Transferring files between different operating systems, such as Windows and Mac, is a common necessity in today's interconnected digital world. Whether you're migrating to a new device or simply need to share files between computers, knowing efficient transfer methods is crucial for seamless workflow.

How to transfer files from Windows to Mac [5 ways]

There are several methods to transfer files from Windows to Mac, each offering its advantages and limitations. Understanding these methods empowers users to choose the most suitable option based on their specific requirements.

Way 1. Migration Assistant

Migration Assistant is a utility software developed by Apple Inc. that facilitates the transfer of files, settings, and applications between computers. You can utilize the Migration Assistant to effortlessly transfer your contacts, calendars, email accounts, and additional data from your Windows PC to their respective destinations on your Mac. Besides, you're also allowed to transfer files between Macs

To prepare the software on your PC for the migration process, follow these steps:

  • Make sure that your PC has the latest Windows updates installed.
  • Download and install the relevant Migration Assistant software on your PC, based on the macOS version running on your Mac.
  • If you have antivirus, firewall, or VPN software installed, temporarily disable them until the data transfer is complete.
  • Connect both your Mac and PC to the same network, such as your home Wi-Fi network, or establish a direct network connection by using an Ethernet cable between the two devices.

On your PC

Step 1. Launch Migration Assistant, recently installed on your PC. If any other applications are running, you'll be prompted to close them before proceeding.

Windows 11 Migration Assistant

Step 2. Migration Assistant will notify you if it detects any of the following conditions:

  • Your PC is set to automatically install Windows updates.
  • Your PC's network firewall may hinder connection with your Mac.
  • Your PC is running on battery power.

Step 3. Upon receiving a prompt to send app usage data to Apple, choose between "Automatically Send" or "Don't Send."

Step 4. As Migration Assistant commences searching for your Mac and awaits its connection, proceed with the subsequent steps on your Mac.

Looking for Mac Follow Instructions

On your Mac

Step 1. Navigate to Migration Assistant, located in the Utilities folder within your Applications folder. You can access the Utilities folder directly by selecting Go > Utilities from the menu bar in Finder. Alternatively, use Spotlight to search for Migration Assistant.

Step 2. Follow the onscreen instructions until prompted to choose how you want to transfer your information. Opt for the option to transfer from a Windows PC, then proceed by clicking Continue.

Transfer From PC

Step 3. Select the icon representing your PC from the list, then click Continue to initiate the transfer process.

Transfer to This Mac

On your PC

Ensure that both your PC and Mac display the same passcode, then proceed by clicking Continue.

Verify Passcode

On your Mac

Step 1. Migration Assistant will now inventory the content on your PC and calculate the storage space utilized by each file category. This process may take a few minutes. Once completed, select the information you wish to transfer. You might need to scroll down to see the entire list.

PC Info To Transfer

Step 2. Click Continue to initiate the transfer. Larger transfers may require several hours to complete and may appear to pause intermittently. Consider starting the process in the evening and allowing it to continue overnight. Click Continue again to commence the transfer.

Step 3. Once Migration Assistant finishes the transfer, close Migration Assistant on both computers. Next, sign in to the migrated account on your Mac to access its files. The account will utilize the same username and password as the account on your PC.

Way 2. File Sharing

Setting up and utilizing file sharing on macOS is straightforward when your Windows PC and Mac are connected to the same network. We'll outline the process in two sections, one for each operating system.

On your Mac

Before accessing Mac files from your Windows PC, you'll need to configure file sharing on your Mac. Here's how:

Step 1. Open System Preferences on your Mac and navigate to General > Sharing.

macOS Settings

Step 2. Toggle on File Sharing and click the Information (i) icon next to the File Sharing toggle.

macOS File Sharing On

Step 3. Click Options to open the SMB File Sharing window. Enable "Share files and folders using SMB."

Step 4. In the Windows File Sharing section, select the checkbox next to the account name whose files you want to access on Windows. Input the user's password and click OK.

macOS SMB File Sharing

Step 5. Click Done to close the SMB File Sharing window.

Step 6. Make note of the IP Address displayed under the "File Sharing: On" status near the top of the window.

Once you've completed these steps to set up file sharing on your Mac, you're ready to proceed on your Windows PC.

On your PC

To transfer files stored on your Mac to your Windows PC, follow these instructions:

Step 1. Open File Explorer on your Windows PC.

Step 2. Click inside the address bar and type the IP address of your Mac. Disregard the SMB prefix - the IP address should look like \192.168.x.x.

Inserting Mac IP Address to Windows File Explorer

Step 3. Windows will prompt you to enter the username and password for the Mac user's files you're accessing. Ensure you input them exactly as you did on your Mac.

Step 4. You'll now have access to the shared folders on your Windows PC. Simply copy files as you would from any other Windows folder.

Way 3. Cloud storage services

Cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox offer the convenience of storing your files on their servers, allowing you to access them from anywhere. Simply install and configure these services on each of your computers to enable automatic syncing of your files.

Upload Files

However, it's essential to maintain an active internet connection to ensure that your files are consistently updated. Additionally, if you require more storage space beyond the limits of the free tiers, you'll need to subscribe to a paid plan. Keep in mind that utilizing cloud storage entails waiting twice: once for the files to upload from the source machine and again for them to download on the target PC.

Way 4. Removable USB Storage Device

Using an external hard drive or USB stick is often the simplest method for transferring files between a Windows PC and a Mac. All you need to do is copy files to and from your devices.

Ensure to format your drive using the exFAT file system, as it's compatible with both Windows and macOS and can handle large file sizes. Although this method doesn't offer real-time file syncing, it's incredibly user-friendly, particularly as it's plug-and-play.

Moreover, it's a one-time expense, unlike cloud services that necessitate a subscription. If you opt for this approach, consider essential factors when purchasing an external drive for your Mac and PC.

USB Drive

Way 5. E-mail

Another storage solution with excellent accessibility features is widely embraced by users worldwide: utilizing email. Simply send the necessary files to your email and organize them into respective folders for convenient access. By structuring your email inbox with folders, you can swiftly locate the desired data.

Email platforms offer users the ability to organize their data efficiently and access it through a straightforward login process.


However, this method has a significant drawback: memory space limitations. Email accounts typically have restricted memory space allocations, allowing users to store and access only a limited number of files and data.

Bonus tip: Transfer files from Windows to Windows

AnyViewer stands out as one of the premier remote file transfer software options for Windows, offering several advantages over its counterparts:

  • Free service: AnyViewer provides a cost-effective solution with its free service, making file transfers accessible to all users without additional expenses.
  • Advanced security: Enjoy peace of mind with advanced security features like Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) and two-factor authentication, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of your files.
  • Fast speed: With AnyViewer, experience rapid transfer speeds that facilitate swift batch file transfers, ultimately saving you time and boosting productivity.

To access computer files remotely via AnyViewer, download it and follow these steps:

Download Freeware Win PCs & Servers
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and launch AnyViewer on both computers. Go to "Log in" and select "Sign up" to create an AnyViewer account. If you've already signed up on the official website, you can log in directly.

Log in AnyViewer

Step 2. Log in to the same account on both computers. Your devices will automatically be linked to the account and displayed in the "My devices" list.

Free Editions

Step 3. On your local computer, go to "Device," click the remote computer, and select "One-click control."

File Transfer AnyViewer

Step 4. Now, you'll have access to all the files stored on your local device, listed on the left side, as well as all the files located on your remote device, listed on the right side. You can effortlessly transfer files between the two computers.

Choose Files

Consider upgrading to the Professional or Enterprise plan for seamless transfer of large files. Explore the benefits that elevate your file transfer experience:
Send files of up to 1 TB in size.
Transfer at speeds reaching up to 10 MB per second.
Utilize 5 threads for efficient and simultaneous transfers.
Enjoy the freedom to transfer multiple files at once without any limits.


The bottom line

In conclusion, transferring files between Windows and Mac systems is essential for seamless workflow and collaboration. Understanding various methods like Migration Assistant, File Sharing, cloud storage, USB devices, and email offers flexibility and convenience to users. Each method has its advantages and limitations, catering to different preferences and requirements.

Additionally, exploring tools like AnyViewer for remote file transfer on Windows systems further enriches your options for transferring files effortlessly.