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Is there a way to transfer files directly from a Mac to another using only Terminal? Perhaps using SSH?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

Yes, you can use scp , which basically cp over ssh. It can work either way also, so:

scp ~/Document/Localfile remoteuser@remotemachine:~/Desktop


scp remoteuser@remotemachine:~/Destkop/remotefile ~/Desktop

The first command would copy a file to the remote machine, the second would copy a file from the remote to the local. The syntax is <user>@<machine or ip>:<file> you can do a man scp for more switches and options

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Thanks! That worked! – JShoe May 19 '11 at 20:34
No problem, please remember Gordon Davisson info below wrt Mac Metadata and the -E option – Ryan Gibbons May 19 '11 at 20:45

The scp command on Linux is how you do file transfers using SSH

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scp works great on Macs with one caveat: if you want it to copy Mac-specific file metadata (resource forks, extended attributes, etc), be sure to use its -E option. – Gordon Davisson May 19 '11 at 20:17

scp is the command you want. You need to have SSH logins enabled on the destination computer, and know the username and password for the destination computer.

scp file.txt user@destination-computer:/Users/user/Documents/file.txt
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Here is quick way of copying files using uuencode/uudecode and clipboard.

In terminal, while having connection opened on remote machine:

press CMD + K to clear the window
clear; uuencode filename < file

Then select and copy all text from the terminal window (CMD + A, CMD + C). Now open new terminal window, on your local system and do:


Now press CMD + V now to paste uuencoded content of your file. Press CTRL + D after that to finish input to uudecode program. uudecode will create your file locally, under the name 'filename'.

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