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

4 Answers 4


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

  • No problem, please remember Gordon Davisson info below wrt Mac Metadata and the -E option Commented May 19, 2011 at 20:45
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    Remember to use scp -r to copy entire folders/dirs Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 3:37

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. Commented May 19, 2011 at 20:17

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'.


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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