How to mount almost any remote drive in your Mac’s Finder

This useful utility may help some Mac users entertained as we wait for the news from WWDC 2020.

Apple, Mac, macOS, WWDC, iCloud, Files, Amazon, Google, Mountain Duck
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I don’t usually write about individual applications, but thought I’d make an exception for this one, as it may be useful to many people working from home. I'm talking about  Mountain Duck 4.

How to mount remote servers on Mac

Mountain Duck comes from David Kocher, developer of Cyberduck. Years ago, when I ran an iPod DJ club, I’d use Kocher’s Cyberduck as one of two FTP transfer tools of choice for the club’s website. (The other was Fetch).

The point is that the developer’s reputable and the newly upgraded Mountain Duck goes to places iCloud currently doesn’t – at least, not on a Mac.

That’s why I think it will be of use to anyone who needs to work with remote servers, WebDAV servers, Dropbox, Google, OneDrive, S3 servers and more.

The application lets you access these drives via a drop-down interface it adds to your Mac’s menu bar – a little like iCloud Drive’s support for third-party storage servers, but on your Mac. This makes Mountain Duck a useful application for remote workers who require access to cloud data services, including some enterprise systems.

It’s also a cross-platform solution that provides the same tools for Windows users.

What’s new in version 4?

Version 4 of the application adds a few new tools:

  • A file history, which offers up a detailed view of what you’ve done and are in the process of doing, including recently edited files.
  • A file lock feature that prevents others editing a document while you are editing it – useful for collaborative groups. This extends to Office.
  • The ability, if you happen to be working with versioned buckets in S3, to open and revert to previous versions of files, if kept.

Mountain Duck already offered Dropbox-like file synchronization in which files were synced to the local disk once opened so you can still access them offline, with changes synced as soon as you get online once again.

You can also work through your stored files and choose which ones are made available locally and which are kept online for download on request.

What other alternatives exist?

There are other applications that provide this. For example, many enterprise class services offer online storage tools, Eltima CloudMounter also lets you mount cloud-based storage services as disks on your Mac.

Apple’s iCloud lets you see the contents of your iCloud Drive in the Mac Finder, but so far this support hasn’t been extended to third-party storage services – even though this is available to iCloud Drive users on iPhone or iPad.

There’s a grey IT challenge to the solution for some enterprises, I suppose – if you are looking for a tool that lets you sync to your enterprise storage services via your Finder you should check with your IT department first. (The convenience of a tool like this may make it something your tech crew may want to look at.)

It will be interesting to see if Apple announces similar integration with third-party online storage services on Macs at WWDC 2020. But even if it does it will be a while until it becomes a reality – look how long it took to actually deliver Shared Folders on iCloud Drive on iOS. Meanwhile, Mountain Duck may provide you with a sense of how things could be. It costs $39/user.

On to WWDC

I’ll be back with reports from WWDC Online later today. You can watch Apple’s keynote on your Apple TV in the TV app, using the Developer app on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac, on YouTube, and on Apple’s website.

Over the weekend, the Apple rumor machine moderated itself, and new hardware is not currently anticipated, with Apple TV and HomePod announcements waiting until later this year.

We do still expect news on Apple’s switch to A-series chips in Macs, new operating system improvements and significant changes to Safari, particularly around empowering surfers with even more privacy and security by making it even more difficult to track users with ads.

Check back later on today for first news/reactions, and watch my Twitter feed for more immediate feedback today.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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