Accessing Windows Shared Folders on iPhone.

Because the local network file transfer software I've been using doesn't work on Win11 anymore, and I couldn't find a good alternative, I decided to resort to the old method of using Windows shared folders to transfer files to iOS devices.

Note: The methods described in this article are intended for trusted networks, such as your home WiFi. It is strongly discouraged to set up sharing on public networks as it is highly insecure.

Enable SMB Protocol

In the search bar above the Start menu, type Turn Windows features on or off and open the corresponding panel. Check the box to enable the SMB Direct feature.

Search Windows Features
Turn Windows Features on or off

Sharing Settings

  1. Open Settings - Network & Internet - Wi-Fi - [Current Wi-Fi] Properties.
  2. Set the network profile type to Private network.
  3. In the search bar above the Start menu, type Manage advanced sharing settings and open the corresponding panel.
  4. Select Turn on network discovery and Turn on file and printer sharing in the Private section. Check Turn on automatic setup of network-connected devices.
  5. In the All Networks section, select Turn off Public folder sharing, choose Using 128-bit encryption... (recommended) and select Turn on password-protected sharing.
  6. Click Save changes.
Private network
Search manage advanced sharing settings
Private section
All Networks section

Create a Shared User

  1. Press the Win + X shortcut keys to open Computer Management.
  2. Expand the Local Users and Groups section, right-click on Users and select New User.
  3. Enter the new username and password, and check the option for Password never expires.
  4. Click Create.

New User

Folder Settings

  1. Locate the folder you want to share, right-click it, and select Properties.
  2. Open the Sharing tab, click the Share button under Network File and Folder Sharing.
  3. Choose the user you created earlier, then click Add.
  4. Adjust the permission level for the new user to Read/Write.
  5. Click Share.
Add user and adjust the permission level

iOS File Settings

  1. In the folder properties, you will find a line labeled Network Path.
  2. Open the Files app on your iOS device, tap the three dots in the upper right corner, and select Connect to Server.
  3. Enter smb:[network path of the shared folder], replacing backslashes \ with forward slashes /. For example, if the network path displayed in Windows is \\ThisPC\ShareFolder, you should enter smb://ThisPC/ShareFolder here.
  4. Enter the newly created username and password.
  5. Click Next in the upper-right corner to connect to the server.


  1. iOS’s built-in Files app can be a bit unintelligent. If you haven’t accessed the shared folder for a while, the next time you access it, you might only see an empty folder. In this case, you must exit the SMB server, then click the three dots in the upper-right corner and reconnect to the server.
  2. iOS’s built-in Files app may show an additional file named desktop.ini compared to Windows File Explorer. This is a hidden file in Windows, so you can safely ignore it.
  3. It’s highly recommended to use a third-party file app to replace the built-in one.
  4. Your iPhone and PC must be on the same network.