Linking to files on your iDisk


I have a dot mac account with Apple. I have copied stuff onto my iDisk? with no problem but I can’t figure out how to make the link. How do I link to files I put on my iDisk (like jpegs or Stuffit archives) in email messages and in on-line forums like Ebay?


Mac OS? X (10.2.x or newer recommended) and a valid dot mac account


All data posted on your iDisk has an absolute path or URL? which describes it’s place on the internet. Depending on which folder the information is in, the path is different. There are some minor UNIX related nuances which come into play including the fact File? and Folder Names are case sensitive.

I general, you can put files into folders or sub-folders you create anywhere on your iDisk. However, there some folders which are off limits:

  • the Root Level / first level of the iDisk
  • Software Folder (or any sub-folder therein)
  • Backup Folder (reserved for use by the dot mac backup software)

If you try to put something in any of those places you’ll see an error dialog and the operation will fail.

The Documents Folder is the other unique condition in that you cannot link directly to content inside it. Since the Documents folder contains personal information not intended for public distribution, the information can ONLY be accessed by using the Master DotMacID and password and mounting the iDisk on your Desktop.

What to do:

We’ll give you an example for putting a file in ever folder on your dot.mac iDisk and for a file inside a nested folder. Remember to read the recommended paths carefully, there are nuances which can be easily missed.

Conventions, when we say:

  • DotMacID - we mean your dot mac user name, it’s always lower case
  • FileName.jpg - we mean any file with an appropriate suffix
  • FolderName - we mean a sub-folder you may have created on your iDisk inside one of the standard folders
  • Case Sensitive - don’t forget file and folder names are case sensitive (example: BOB is NOT the same as Bob, BOb, bob, or boB)

Note: In most cases there is a dot before an iDisk folder name (example: Before the 'P’ in Public or 'M' in Movies), it’s a UNIX thing to specify a directory change applying to all folders EXCEPT the Sites folder. That is, the 'dot' before the folder name (e.g. .Public) tells unix to look 'up' one directory from the Sites directory. That's why you need the 'dot' before folder (aka directory) names except for the Sites folder as described in detail below.

Movies Folder:
For a File loose inside the Folder:

For a File nested in a Sub Folder:

Music Folder:
For a File loose inside the Folder:

For a File nested in a Sub Folder:

Pictures Folder:
For a File loose inside the Folder:

For a File nested in a Sub Folder:

Public Folder:
For a File loose inside the Folder:

For a File nested in a Sub Folder:

Sites Folder:
This one is special, notice there is no need to include the name Sites or .Sites in the path name.

For a File loose inside the Folder:

For a File nested in a Sub Folder:

With a little bit of planning, you can use these path naming conventions to link to any file, any where on your iDisk when sending an Email or linking to pictures or files on other web sites or on-line disucssion boards.

We hope that helps

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Obviously the iDisk? linking

Obviously the iDisk? linking feature died when Apple dropped support for iDisk services. However the article still provides some helpful fundamental information for how services like this work on more recent third party service offerings.

Things have changed...

Quite some time ago Apple changed the rules. The above tricks for linking to files directly on your iDisk? simply don't work. They typically return "Access Denied" errors.

Goes to show that all good things appear to come to an end.

While this is very frustrating, Apple has provided an alternative service (and did so quite some time ago). You can share files on your iDisk but it requires using Apple's MobileME web based interface (on your Mac) or their iDisk App for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. Here's a link from Apple (click here XTNL URL ) on how to do it via a web browser:

In some respects the new solution is better as it's easier to understand, particularly as it doesn't require a technical understanding of path names. However it's also much less convenient if you simply wanted to link to a picture for example for use on a web page (e.g. Ebay posting); that option simply won't work now.

The method is also much less convenient that using something like DropBox XTNL URL ; which makes it much more convenient to create the link to a file without the need of using your web browser.

As a reminder, Apple has always provided the ability for you to let people connect to your Public Folder in Mac or Windows Operating Systems ( click here for more XTNL URL ). While that method works great for sharing where you want folks to download something to their local drive, it doesn't allow a direct link for download to be put in an email, nor for does it give a link for use on a website. If you do use the Public Folder mounting method, please remember it's often a good idea to password protect your public folder, and/or set it for download only (or upload and download if that's your desire). Click here XTNL URL for an Apple article on how to set a password for your MobileMe iDisk Public Folder.

Take it or leave it folks 'cos here's the truth. That change happened a while back and it's unknown just how all this will unfold when iCloud XTNL URL rolls out Fall 2011. Current info says this is all going to change again or maybe even go away. When the real iCloud is up and running and we've had a chance to test what's actually being delivered we'll post an update here. Will Apple's iCloud Document Sharing (Link XTNL URL ) do the same thing? We don't think so but it's still too early to know for sure.

Files not downloading?

So you sent a link to a file in your email, but that link didn't download... instead it tried to open and display the content in a web browser.

The fix is easy!

Just compress the file first as a *.zip or *.sit file. That way, when the recepient clicks the link, even if it does redirect to their web browser, the browser will automatically start to download the item instead of displaying it.

Not sure how to compress files or folders to create *zip or *.sit files? try reading this related article on our website INTL URL

spaces in file and path names

Think of the path name as the route taken to find your file. In our examples above there is never a space in the file or folder names, or any other part of the file path (URL?).

This can be confusing as it's often common practice to put spaces in file names when working in the typical Mac OS? environment. Generally that is never a problem until you want to post that content on your iDisk? and provide a link (URL) to it. To help make that process easier we have a related article here that describes our recommended file and folder naming conventions.

Now, we're not saying you can't use spaces in your file or folder names. However your life will be a whole lot easier if you don't. Don't forget file and folder names are case sensitive when you make your links. We find it easiest to simply copy the file name in the Mac OS Finder, then paste it into our path (URL).

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