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How-To: Access Your Time Capsule Over the Internet

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apple-time-capsule-1The other day my friend called me to tell me that he bought this new product called Pogoplug. The Pogoplug is pretty cool; you plug it into the wall, connect a hard drive to it, then connect it to your local Internet, and you have an NAS ready to go. I thought it was a pretty neat product idea, and the ease of use was great, but when he showed me that he could mount it over the Internet so that you could access your files over the Net, I knew I needed to have one — almost.

After a few minutes of of shopping, I had found a 2TB USB hard drive and had the Pogoplug in my cart, but then saw I was going to spend about three hundred bucks. I then started thinking that I already had a Time Capsule 1TB hard drive with all my media on it, and that there must be a way to mount my Time Capsule over the Internet just like the Pogoplug. Unfortunately, there is really no documentation on how to mount the Time Capsule over the Internet, but after a few minutes, I ended up figuring it out myself. I can now have my files wherever I am!

Some Things to Note

  • This tutorial assumes you are using your Time Capsule as an NAS, not as the router. It’s possible it would work when in use as a router, but I didn’t give that a try.
  • Wherever your Time Capsule is must have a static IP address. (My broadband Internet came with that.)

Determine your External IP Address

We’re going to be referring back to this number a lot. Make sure you write it down.

  1. Go to What is My IP Address?
  2. Write down the number next to “Your IP Address is”

Determine your Time Capsule’s IP Address

  1. Launch Airport Utility: Applications ? Utilities ? Airport Utility
  2. Find your device in the left-hand column and select it.
  3. Copy the number down next to “IP Address” in the right-hand column.

Determine Your Time Capsule’s Disk Password

When we try to remotely connect to the Time Capsule, we are going to be prompted for the password for it. To set up a password for the Time Capsule disk:

  1. Launch Airport Utility: Applications ? Utilities ? Airport Utility
  2. Find your device in the left-hand column and select it.
  3. Click the “Manual Setup” button.
  4. Click the “Disks” tab.
  5. Click the “File Sharing” tab.
  6. Make sure the “Enable File Sharing” box is checked and “With a secure disk password” is selected from the “Secure Shared Disks” drop-down menu.
  7. Enter in a password in the “Disk Password” and “Verify Password” boxes.
  8. Click the “Update” button.

Forward Port 548

Port 548 is the Apple file-sharing port. We need to forward from our external IP address to the Time Capsule on our internal network.

Every router is different, so below I’ve outlined the basic steps. You’re going to have to consult your router’s documentation for exact instructions. has documentation for a lot of routers, and I also wrote an article for how to do port forwarding with Airport Extremes.

  1. Log in to your router. If you have left it as the router as the default configuration, launch a web browser and enter “” (most routers default to this IP). If this doesn’t work, consult your router’s manual for directions on how to get to the configuration panel.
  2. Once you are logged into your router, find the port forwarding section (mine was under the “Applications and Gaming” tab).
  3. Forward both the TCP and UDP ports from the router to your Time Capsule’s IP Address

AppleScript to Mount Drive (For Laptop Users)

We are going to make an application to mount the drive. After you save it in your Applications folder, anytime you are away from home you can simply double click it to mount your Time Capsule.

  1. Open Scipt Editor: Applications ? AppleScript ? Script Editor
  2. Paste the following code (be sure to replace Your External IP Address, Your Username, and the Time Capsule Password):
    mount volume ¬
  3. Click File ? Save As.
  4. Select “Application” from the “File Format” pulldown.
  5. Save it to your Applications folder.

Mount Drive From Any Mac Computer

Here is how you mount the drive from any of your friends’ computers. Obviously, you won’t have your application with you. If you’re feeling lazy, you could email it to yourself and store it in your email so you always have it.

  1. In the Finder bar at the top of your screen click Go ? Connect to Server.
  2. In the server address box, enter in your external IP address that we wrote down earlier.
  3. Click “Connect.”
  4. You will be prompted for a username and password.
    Username: Enter in your computers username. (On your home computer go to System Preferences ? Accounts and it’s the name next to “Username”.)
    Password: Enter in your Time Capsule’s Password


Optional Step: Forward a Domain Name to Your External IP Address

Remembering a domain name is much easier than remembering an IP address, so for this optional step we are going to forward a domain name to our External IP address that we wrote down earlier. Then, when we go to the “Connect to Server” you can enter in the domain name instead of the IP address.

This guide is for GoDaddy, but the same basic procedure should apply for other domain registrars.

  1. Purchase a domain at
  2. Log in to your Account Manager.
  3. In the My Products section, click Domain Manager.
  4. Click the domain name for which you want to create an A record.
  5. In the Total DNS section, click Total DNS Control and MX Records.
  6. Click Add New A Record.
  7. Complete the following:
    Host Name: The host name the A record links to. You can enter @ to map the record directly to your domain.
    Points to IP Address: The external IP address that we wrote down earlier.
    TTL: The time increment for which the server should cache the information.
  8. Click OK.

28 Responses to “How-To: Access Your Time Capsule Over the Internet”

  1. Thank you! Very helpful. Works fine.
    For those who are still having problems: in Airport Utility, choose your Time Capsule, Manual Setup, Disks tab, File Sharing tab. There you have to have selected Enable File Sharing and Share disks over WAN.

  2. Hello everyone.

    I am studying abroad in sd and I go back to my home country twice a year. In sd I have my Time Capsule where I back up my MacBook Pro. I do have a MacBook Air that I use to travel but sometimes I need files that are on my MacBook Pro. I am trying to set my time capsule so that I can access to my files from the internet through my MacBook Air (even if my macbook pro if off). I followed these steps but when I connect to my

  3. i am in this step

    Paste the following code (be sure to replace Your External IP Address, Your Username, and the Time Capsule Password): mount volume ¬ “afp://YOUR EXTERNAL IP ADDRESS” as user name “YOUR USERNAME” with password “TIME CAPSULE PASSWORD”

    i change ip, username and tc pass in the script editor and i get the following error

    Expected “given”, “in”, “of”, expression, “with”, “without”, other parameter name, etc. but found unknown token.

    I am new to applescript editor, please help me, i need to access my TC tomorrow over the internet

    • Hjalmerhag

      Have you tried to connect manually?

      Open finder, press cmd+k and write afp://your-ip and then when asked your username and password.

      I found the script to be pretty useless seeing you can just as easily connect manually.

      If that doesn’t work there’s probably something wrong else with the configuration.

      Good luck

      • Is it possible to share the time capsule HD over the internet to windows users? Just like Alex said
        “I want to set it up as a file sharing server that they can access any time and upload/download files. I don’t care if it’s FTP, they need my IP address, whatever.”
        Is this possible?? If so… HOW?!
        I’ve searched the internet on end to find an answer to this question, but I just come up short! It’s driving me insane to have 2TB HD, and I can’t share projectfiles that I’m working on with co-workers!
        PLEASPLEASPLEAS, someone, clarify all of this :D

  4. I googled “time capsule server” and this is pretty much all I found of use… but I was hoping someone here could let me know if what I want to do is possible:

    I got a time capsule, and have friends that I want to share files with. They are on Macs and PCs. Since the time capsule is always connected to the internet, I want to set it up as a file sharing server that they can access any time and upload/download files. I don’t care if it’s FTP, they need my IP address, whatever. I would buy a MobileMe account to make this happen. Is this possible?

    • everything explained here sets your time capsule up to work as an afp share for your time machine and file sharing (in connection with dyndns you can take control of changing ip’s) – this means your mac friends are ready to go.

      ///mine is working fine like this now///

      for your pc friends i guess you just need to fill the options in the second screenshot “windows sharing”, add a smb port forward and you are good for that too.

      ///i didn’t try this yet///

      what i did in short:
      – time capsule behind a router in bridge mode (dhcp is supplied by the router)
      – port forwarding on the router for afp (port 548) to time capsule
      – dyndns account for the router

      time machine and overall access to time capsule from everywhere ;-) thanks to jenny and all commenters here.

  5. My dad have an TimeCapsule and a Apple Macbook pro, but he doesn’t want to set it open… And i have a normal pc on vista. How can i set the UPNP open on my pc? please help me!

  6. Hjalmerhag


    I hade some trubble getting all this to work until i added a port in the port mapping section under advanced.

    If you can’t get it to work, add a new port mapping. Enter whatever port nr is free too use in “public TCP” and the same in “publid UDP”.
    In the Private IP Address box, type the internal IP address of your Time Capsule (
    And i private TCP and UDP enter 548.

    Then to connect your airport drive over the internet mount a network drive and type afp://”your external ip”:”whatever port number you entered in public tcp and udp”. i.e. afp://82.32.324.566:5000

    I would also recommend dynDNS… worked great for me…

  7. Antonie

    Does anyone know if the files are then accessible for PC users as well? Am looking for a good cross-platform server that can be accessed from both home & at our small office, as well as working as a wireless network & printer server.

    Time Capsule seems to do all that, but is it cross platform?

  8. Quirilio Vilorio III

    In this case do you need have a a computer that will provide de external DNS or the TC itself will have a DNS to access to?

  9. Anybody seen a read/write speed comparison between Pogoplug and Airdisk? I’m currently using Airport Extreme with a 1TB drive attached, but it’s freaking SLOW. Was wondering if Pogoplug might be faster.

  10. For Forward a Domain Name to Your External IP Address instead of buying a domain name you can also use services. They will connect a subdomain to your IP. Works fine.

      • Orlando

        Yes, Im stuck here trying to access through any PC anywhere to the TC HDD. Dyndns free services are not compatible with TC. Does anyone have the same issue here?
        Problem: Connect thru internet to HDD TC from any computer…..
        Please Help

  11. David

    Or, if you have Mobile Me you just turn on disk sharing in the Airport Utility and the disk will be mounted on any computer where you are signed in to Mobile Me automatically. A far cry easier, and works great. :-)

    • Dear David,

      I did turn on disk sharing in my airport configuration, but my Time Capsule doesn’t show up anywhere. Any idea what it could be, what I should check? I have UPnP turned on, this seemed to be a problem at first but has now been fixed.

      I’m using the latest MacBook Pro and the latest Time Capsule.

      Best, Jerry

    • Let me correct that last post: I did not turn on UPnP correctly after all. Now I did, and indeed my Time Capsule does show up in the Finder. However, it’s impossible to connect to it – I do not get to filling in username and password, it just displays that it’s connecting but nothing happens. Any idea?

    • drive-by-trucker

      @ David –

      Within Airport Utility I have turned ON disk sharing for MobileMe.

      I have all passwords set correctly.

      I am now within my MobileMe web space, however I can not find my Time Capsule data here… there is only
      [Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Photos, iDisk, Account]
      … there is no TC to be found.

      Any suggestions? Thanks a bunch I appreciate it!