How to Access a USB Drive on a Router on a Mac

Some routers allow you to share other resource types, such as printers, over USB.
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Sharing a USB drive through a router allows you to make the drive's contents accessible to any device on your network without having to physically plug the drive into different devices. You could use router-based sharing to send files to family members or roommates, or simply to ensure that important files can be accessed from any of your computers. In order to share a USB drive in this way, you need a router with a sharable USB port. You must also set up a network share on your computer. Configuring a network share allows operating systems such as Mac OSX to see a networked drive as if it were locally connected.

Connect the drive to your router's USB port and ensure that the router is powered on.

Log in to the router's configuration menu. The process to access the device's menu varies from router to router, but most router menus can be accessed by opening a Web browser and typing your router's IP address into the address bar.

Open the router's USB storage settings page and select the folders on the drive that you want to share. This process allows you to restrict some folders to local access only, should you want to. If you want to share the entire contents of the drive, share the drive's root folder.

Exit the router menu and click on the “Finder” icon. Select “Go” from the toolbar menu and then click “Connect to Server” to open the Connect to Server box.

Enter “smb://[Router IP]” (without quotes), where [router IP] is the IP address of your router, into the Server Address box. For example, if your router's IP address were, you would enter “smb://”.

Click “Connect” and then select your USB drive's name from the dialog box. Click “OK” to mount the network share on your Mac's desktop.

Double-click the network share's icon to access the files on the USB drive through the router.

  • Some routers allow you to set a username and password on shared USB drives. If you configure a username and password, you will be prompted for these details after clicking “Connect” on the Connect to Server box.

Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.