OS X Lion FTPD Enable App Help Page

Ftpd is the ftp server that is part of unix including Linux and OS X.

Apple decided it was time to disable it beginning with OS X 10.7 Lion. They didn't remove it from the OS, they merely removed the GUI to control it. Well there are those of us who rely on ftp for our expensive scan-to-ftp scanners. For a long time I used a NAS drive with ftp capability for scanning but recently I decided to enable the ftp account on my Macbook and ftp scans directly to my Macbook. When Lion came out this suddenly stopped working without warning.

Version Specific Help - General ftp help - Frequently asked Questions - Readme

Frequently Asked Questions - Updated 9/29/2017

Version Specific Help - General ftp help - Frequently asked Questions - Readme

== Version specific help. ==

Latest Version Instructions:

Launch ftpd-enable from /Applications or wherever you choose. You may switch the state of ftpd and quit or you may leave the "padlock" icon sitting in your menu bar. The icon is red when ftpd is disabled, green when it is enabled and yellow if ftpd is actively running

When you hover over the padlock on the menu bar, you get a small "tool tip" that tells you your current ip address and whether ftpd is enabled or disabled. The tool tip also lets you know if there is an update available for ftpd-enable. You can always go to MacUpdate or to
www.troncept.com/lion-ftpd-enable/downloads.php to download the latest version.

If you click the padlock, you get the same information but you also get the ability to disable ftpd if it is enabled or enable ftpd if it is disabled. There is also an "About FTPD Enable" menu item and "Quit" which removes the padlock icon from your menu bar and leaves the ftpd state unchanged. The "About FTPD Enable" menu pick takes you to the about dialog which shows the current state of ftpd, your current ip address. The about dialog has 3 buttons.

One is "help"** which opens a web browser and brings you to this page. The middle button is "Donate" which opens a web browser on the ftpd-enable donation page. Lastly there is "Dismiss" which closes the about dialog.

** If you are running a beta version, one of the buttons says "Beta" and brings you to the ftpd-enable beta testers page.

enable iconVersion 1.3

Version 1.3 supports Gatekeeper and no longer requires you to pick "all" in System Preferences Security Settings to run ftp enable. You can now pick "App Store and Known Developers." You will still get the warning that you are running an app you downloaded from the internet but you won't get "You can't run this because it isn't from the app store or a known developer."

Version 1.3 cleans up a few minor localization issues in German.

Version 1.3 refreshes its ip address(es) whenever you pick "About FTPD Enable".

Version 1.3 can detect multiple ip addresses if you have them and will display them all when you hover over the padlock icon and will list them in the about dialog.
Starting with version 1.3, if you are unsure if your ip address(es) has (have) changed, simply click the padlock and pick "about" to refresh ftpd-enable's display of your ip address(es).

enable iconVersion 1.2

Version 1.2 is a complete overhaul of lion ftpd enable to use launchctl to manage ftpd. Beginning with version 1.2, when you enable ftpd, you are not merely running the ftpd daemon as if it was an application, you are changing a system preference to let OS X Lion start ftpd whenever an ftp connection is requested. Another cool new feature: Verison 1.2 displays your IP address when you hover over the menubar icon.

There are now five icon states. When ftpd-enable first launches, its icon is a grey locked padlock. Once it establishes whether ftpd is enabled or not, the icon changes to an unlocked padlock or a locked padlock. The unlocked padlock is green or yellow. Yellow indicates ftpd is not only enabled but also running. This is normal for about the first minute after you start up ftpd enable. The icon should then revert to green to let you know ftpd is enabled but not running. If you have a scanner that connects to your Mac via ftpd, the icon will switch to yellow and stay yellow for up to a minute after the scanner disconnects.

The unlocked icon indicates ftpd is enabled (launchctl) and the icon turns yellow while a user is actively connected to ftp or if the ftpd daemon is running for another reason.

The locked icon is yellow if ftpd (launchctl) is disabled but the ftpd daemon is found to be running.

The red locked padlock means ftpd is disabled. If there is a yellow padlock, it means that ftpd is disabled but somehow running. Perhaps it was left running from a previous version of ftpd-enable. You can pick enable and then disable from the pulldown menu and it will kill ftpd if it was left running and the padlock should switch to red. At this point you will need an admin password (to enable or disable ftpd).

Another new feature is automatic update notification. If a new version of ftpd-enable is available, you will know about it when you use the about dialog or even if you just hover over the menubar icon.

The version 1.2 menu includes the ip address and ftpd status. If ftpd is enabled, the enable item is not visible. Also if ftpd is disabled, the disable item is not visible. The version 1.2 about screen moves the name, version and updage available notification to the title bar. The top line is your Mac hostname and ip address.

enable iconVersion 1.1

Version 1.1 is the same as version 1.0 but adds support for several languages including chinese, english, french, german, italian, japanese, russian and spanish and can be extended to support other languages as well.
Currently in release. See version 1.0 below for screen shots which are updated to reflect version 1.1 appearance.

enable iconVersion 1.0

No longer Beta!
The release version of ftpd enable features a menubar icon. This started with beta 0.45 which was replaced with version 1.0. When you launch the app, it puts a red or green padlock on your menubar. The padlock is red if ftpd is disabled and green if ftpd is running. The icon is pretty small but I can see it from out in the hallway when I want to use my scan to ftp scanner and I need to check if ftpd is running before I start a new scan.

Enabled icon and menu...

Disabled icon and menu...

About Dialog...

If you pick Enable FTPD and ftpd is already running, nothing happens. The app checks to see if ftpd is running before it tries to start it up thus avoiding more than one instance of ftpd running. The same is true for disable FTPD. If you pick Disable FTPD and ftpd was not running, nothing happens. In each case, the icon is updated to indicate whether ftpd is running. Red for not running/disabled and green for running/enabled.

You can make ftpd-enable a login item and the icon will be there when you log in. Just remember you still need your password to enable or disable ftpd.

enable iconVersion 0.3.2

The third version toggles ftpd on and off and has one app, ftpd-enable.app. The app puts up a dialog letting you know if ftpd is running. If ftpd is running, you will get 3 choices: help, disable or ignore. If ftpd is not running, you will get 3 choices: help, enable or ignore. If the FTP server is running, enable-ftpd.app returns the name of the process as part of the dialog with the option to disable it. If you believe the ftp server is not running when the app says it is already running, please provide the name of the process the app shows in the disable dialog (inside parentheses).

(If you want to test future beta versions for us, drop us an email using the support form.)

enable icondisable iconVerison 0.2

The second version of lion-ftpd-enable was released 8/16/2011 and is beta version 0.2. There are two executables: ftpd-enable.app and ftpd-disable.app. This time, when you run either app, it puts up a self-dismissing dialog box confirming the action it took. ftpd-enable.app either puts up ftpd already running or ftpd started. ftpd-disable either puts up ftpd was not running or ftpd disabled.

enable icondisable iconVerison 0.1

The first version of lion-ftpd-enable was released 8/13/2011 and is beta version 0.1. There are two executables: ftpd-enable.app and ftp-disable.app. There are no dialog boxes, you simply run them. If you want to add ftpd-enable to your login items, this is the version to use as there is nothing to click on. Of course you will still have to provide an admin password to get the server going even when the app is part of your login items. If you notice difficulty logging in after adding ftpd-enable to your login items, take it back out and let us know on the support email form

Version Specific Help - General ftp help - Frequently asked Questions - Readme


Intel Mac running OS 10.7 Lion or later.
Properly set up ftpusers and ftpd.conf (probably set up if you used ftpd under Snow Leopard)
Must be run from an admin account.
Must enter admin account password when you run the app.

General FTP setup and FTPD help

To enable ftp in the terminal, it turns out all you have to do is start it. In the bash shell, all it takes is...
%sudo /usr/libexec/ftpd -D
And to stop ftpd all it takes is...
%sudo killall ftpd

A user commented on MacUpdate and pointed out perhaps a better way to do this is to tell launchctl to load the ftpd deamon on demand. This means it won't show in the process list when ftpd-enable looks for it so the padlock would stay red. But when somebody tries to connect via ftp, the ftpd deamon will automatically start.
The following terminal command can be used to enable ftpd. It doesn't start ftpd, so nothing shows up in the task list. But when somebody connects to your Mac via ftp, ftpd starts up on demand and keeps running for up to a minute after the connection drops.
sudo -s launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist
To disable ftpd, you remove it launchctl. A better method might involve leaving it loaded but get rid of the -w switch that overrides the disabled flag Apple put in ftp.plist but I'm doing it this way for now...
sudo -s launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist
Apple Supprt Page This method has the disadvantage that ftpd is left "enabled" all the time but you don't see it running. This method has the advantage that ftpd should start even after a reboot. This is the method ftpd-enable will use starting with version 1.2.


There is a file in /private/etc called ftpusers. Any user whose name appears in that file cannot log in using ftp. The typical file will have root and other accounts listed that really have no business using ftp.


Another file in /private/etc is called ftpd.conf. This is the config file that tells ftpd its basic configuraton. Mine only has one line:
umask all 022

OS X Firewall

Another issue to consider if the firewall. If your firewall is on, it might block ftpd from working. To get to firewall settings, go to Security and Privacy in System Preferences.
If your firewall is on, go to the Advanced... dialog to see what level your firewall is set to run.
The most severe is "Block all incoming connections". A less severe setting is to uncheck "Automatically allows signed software to receive incoming connections". There is a checkbox for "Enable stealth mode," but this shouldn't block ftpd from receiving connections.

Lastly there is a list of applications with a [+|-] dialog beneath them. This is where you can add individual applications that are allowed to receive connections. If running the firewall is important to you, could try adding ftpd to the list of applications, only Lion won't let you browse to /usr to find ftpd. If you suspect the firewall is your issue, try shttting it off only for testing and if shutting it off solves the problem, contact us on the support form so we can start finding a workaround if you want to be able to use ftpd with the firewall running but the firewall is getting in your way.

Version Specific Help - General ftp help - Frequently asked Questions - Readme

Latest README file

Readme for lion-ftpd-enable version 1.3 6/27/2013
These Applescript apps were created beginning on August 13, 2011 by Jeff Kendall. 
I made this when I found out the scan to ftp feature on my Brother printer
stopped working since I upgraded to OS X 10.7 Lion.  I hadn't noticed 
because I rarely scan documents.  I found instructions on the net but I realized
the majority of OS X users don't want to go digging around in the terminal and
especially don't want to deal with sudo. 

Version 1.3:
Version 1.3 is signed and supports gatekeeper "Known Developers" setting. Version 1.3 checks the current IP
address whenever you pick "about."  Version 1.3 can find multiple IP addresses if you have multiple 
connections such as simultaneous wired and wifi. Version 1.3 is tested on OSX 10.8.3 and 10.9 DP1.

Version 1.2:
Version 1.2 takes a different approach to enabling and disabling ftpd. By using launchctl, ftpd
is enabled but not left running all the time as if it were an application.  Starting with v1.2
if ftpd is enabled, the enable menu item is missing and vice versa. Starting with version 1.2, 
the ftp address of your machine is part of the tool tip as well as part of the first (greyed out)
menu pick.  The about box is changed as well.  If you are running a beta version, there is a link
to beta instead of a link to help.  Lastly, starting with version 1.2, the app checks for its own
updates and will inform you if an update is available.

Version 1.0:
Starting with Version 0.45 (now 1.0) there is one app that is a menubar application.  It is 
implemented as a Cocoa Applescript application with most of the code in Applescript and some code 
in Objective C. 

Menubar Icon:
The ftpd-enable menubar icon is a red locked padlock when ftpd is not running and a green unlocked 
padlock when ftpd is running.   If ftpd actually starts running, the icon will turn yellow and 
remain yellow for about 30 seconds after the active ftpd session ends.  It is normal for the icon
to be yellow when ftpd-enable launches because an ftp session is used to test ftpd (to avoid forcing
the user to enter an admin login just to find out if ftpd is enabled or not).

Start by launching ftpd-enable.app.  You should see an icon in the menubar. It might start out
as a red padlock and switch to green once the app verifies that ftpd was already running. To enable 
or disable ftpd, click the menubar icon to reveal the menu to control the state of ftpd. Don't 
worry about whether ftpd is running when you pick "enable ftpd".  The app first checks to see if it
is running before possibly starting up another instance.  The same is true for disable.  The app
checks to see if it is running and only kills ftpd if it is found to be running.  It is still 
necessary to enter your password to actually enable or disable ftpd.  If you enter your password, 
the app will remember it for "a while" but you will have to enter it again if you decide to
enable or disable ftpd "later."

Menubar Icon Menu:
Click the icon and you get a menu. 
** The first menu pick is greyed out and lets you know whether ftpd is running
or not.  
** The second menu picks is to enable ftpd (if ftpd is not already enabled).
** The second menu picks is to disable ftpd (if ftpd is already enabled).  
** The third menu pick brings up the about dialog which goes away if you don't click anything for 
15 seconds.  The dialog includes "Help" "Donate" and "Dismiss" buttons.  The help button takes
you to the troncept.com ftpd-enable help pages and the donate button takes you to troncept.com's 
paypal donate page.
** The last menu pick quits the app and removes the ftpd-enable icon from your menu bar. 

Donate Button:
Starting with version 1.0 there is a Paypal donate button in the about dialog. You don't need a 
Paypal account to donate.

Login Item:
Ftpd-enable can now be run as a login item but it is still necessary to enter your password to 
enable ftpd if it is not running or disable ftpd when it is running.  

Older Versions:
Version 0.3:
Starting with version 0.3 there is only one app to enable or disable ftpd. Run the app and if 
ftpd is running, the app offers to disable it. If ftpd is not running, the app offers to enable it.

Version 0.2:
Starting with version 0.2, the enable app checks to see if ftpd is already 
running before launching it and the disable app checks to see if ftpd is running 
before disabling it.  Self dismissing dialog boxes and online help is added. Added readme file.

With older versions, you had to remember to run the ftpd-enable app again when you were done 
"scanning to ftp" and pick "disable" as this prevents you leaving ftpd running which is a security 
concern and is the reason Apple took out this feature in Lion to begin with.


Shell Commands:
The commands in this script can be run by hand in terminal. They are:

To enable ftpd:
sudo /bin/launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

To disable ftpd:
sudo /bin/launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

Old Command To Run ftpd:
sudo /usr/libexec/ftpd -D

Old Command To Stop ftpd:
sudo killall ftpd


For more info go to http://www.troncept.com/lion-ftpd-enable

* Intel Mac running OS X 10.7 Lion
* Properly configured /private/etc/ftpusers and /private/etc/ftpd.conf (These are already 
there if you ever enabled ftp server under Snow Leopard and upgraded to Lion)
* Must be run by Admin user.
* Must enter admin user password to actually enable or disable the ftpd server.

Version History:
v1.3 7/18/2013 Release update. Gatekeeper support. Multipe IPs, IP refresh via about menu, German language updates.
v1.2 11/4/2011 Release update. Complete rewrite to use launchctl.
v1.1 10/24/2011 Release update. Added language support for Chinese, French, German, Italian,
Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Improved icon.
v1.0 10/1/2011 Release Version. Cocoa Applescript application with menubar icon
v0.3 8/23/2011 Bug fixes, single app to enable/disable ftpd
v0.2 8/14/2011 Bug fixes, dialog box
v 0.1 8/13/2011 Initial Release

README (v1.2) translations:
de es fr it it it it en
Older (1.0) README files: de es fr it en
Older (0.3.2) README files: es es fr it en

Version Specific Help - General ftp help - Frequently asked Questions - Readme

OS X Lion is a registered trademark owned by Apple Computer, Inc.
Copyright 2011 Troncept, LLC All rights Reserved Last updated: September 29 2017