The Mac’s Finder performs a growing number of functions quite well. Copying and moving files is easier than ever. Finding files, photos, or whatever through Spotlight works better than in years past. Finder’s dual-pane window makes it easy to compare, move, copy files to disparate locations easier.
What the Finder does not do well is connect to remote files servers and other computers. For that, most Mac users have, for decades, used FTP, sFTP, and other file transfer utilities to move files from here to there and back.
Why isn’t that function built in to the Finder in the first place?
If that’s what you want then you’ll need to add a third party utility which does the dee. One of the new kids on the block is called Mountain Duck, which traces heritage back to the free CyberDuck Mac file transfer utility. Mountain Duck attaches itself to the Mac’s Finder so it looks and works much like the Finder, except it does more than Finder by itself. It’s a bit like using an FTP or sFTP app that is embedded into the Finder.
Files on a remote host or server appear on the Finder as if the files were on your Mac. Except they’re not. That makes those files– and those on your Mac– easy to transfer back and forth with a simple drag and drop.
Mountain Duck carries that remote access to an extreme that goes beyond standard FTP and sFTP file transfer protocols. That’s because there are so many other options these days. It handles WebDAV, Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift and others.
Installation and setup are straightforward. You can download Mountain Duck from the developer’s site as a trial version or from the Mac App Store. Make sure you have your remote account’s username and password (or, in the case of Amazon, the secret key and code) but that’s all you’ll need to setup each remote host.
From then on Mountain Duck can connect to the remote server by selecting the option from the Mac’s Menubar. Files can be moved from or downloaded to your Mac from a remote server by drag and drop. Some features you might find in a few prominent Mac file transfer utilities are missing, though. That includes permissions and sending SSH commands to the remote server, but those are best relegated to high end tools anyway.
Mountain Duck makes connecting to and using remote servers and hosts far easier by embedding it in the Finder, rather than just setting up the typical Source and Target in a typical file transfer utility. There’s not much to not like but it’s interesting that the price tag for ease of use– Mountain Duck is easier to use but not as capable as, say, Panic’s popular Transmit file transfer app– is a few dollars more. Regardless, there’s something to be said for simplicity, and that’s what you get with Mountain Duck.