Automatically Connect to a Network Drive on Mac OS X Start Up & Login
It can be helpful to configure Mac OS X to automatically mount shared network drives, this is particularly true for those of us who regularly connect to a network drive for file sharing or backups.
Setting up automatic network drive connections in OS X is a two-step process, you must mount the drive, then you add it to your automatic login items. This should work flawlessly in most versions of OS X, but we’ll cover an alternative approach that uses Automator to mount a network drive automatically on login as well.
1) Mounting the Network Drive
If you’re already familiar with mapping a network drive in Mac OS X you can skip the first part of this and go straight to System Preferences in the second section.
- From the OS X desktop, pull down the “Go” menu and select “Connect to Server”
- Connect to the server and mount the drive you want to automatically connect to on boot
- Choose Guest or for a specific user check the box next to “Remember this password in my keychain” – you must select to remember the password otherwise the automatic login event can not happen without logging into the network drive
Next, you add the network drive to automatically connect on OS X by bringing it into your Login Items list.
2) Setting Up Automatic Connections to the Network Drive on Login
Once you are connected to the network drive we can set up automatic connections upon logging into the Mac:
- Open System Preferences and click on “Users & Groups”
- Select your user name from the list and then click the “Login Items” tab
- Drag & drop a mounted network drive into the login items list
- Optional: check the “Hide” box to keep the drives window from opening on each login and boot
This can be used to automatically connect to and mount SMB drives for those that need to share files with a Windows PC often, though you’ll need to enable SAMBA beforehand within File Sharing preferences.
Confirm the drive will automatically mount by logging out of the active user account and logging back in, or by rebooting the Mac.
Alternate: How to Enable Automatic Mounting of Network Drives on Login with OS X Automator
One of our readers pointed out in the comments a great trick that uses Automator to automatically mount network drives on Mac login. This is quite easy to setup as well, and if you’re having problems with the above method being reliable (like in OS X Yosemite), then this Automator method works very well:
- Launch Automator in OS X and create a new “Application”
- Drag “Get Specified Server” into the workflow, click “Add” and place the network drive network location address into the field
- Next, drag “Connect to Server” into the workflow
- Click on “Run” then login to the network drive as usual to verify that it works, choosing to save the login credentials
- Save the Automator application with a name like ‘Automatically Mount Network Drive Share’, and save it somewhere easy to locate like ~/Documents/ and then drag this into the Login Items list of OS X
Here is what this workflow in Automator looks like, click to enlarge:
The next time the Mac logs in, that Automator Mount script will run and the network drive will mount as usual. This works very well, and I’m using it right now in OS X Yosemite. A big thanks to Dan for this automator trick!
If you want to stop this drive from automatically loading when you login or reboot the Mac, simply remove it (or the Automator app) from the automatic launch list in OS X and the network volume or network drive will no longer automatically connect any longer.