Information on the Fetch ftp client for the Mac

Reviewed by Alan Forrest 6/17/2014


About Fetch:


Fetch is an ftp shareware application for the Macintosh that allows very easy file transfer between your Mac and an FTP server (as in when you need to get a file to/from your Mac from/to your UNIX home directory).

Fetch is downloadable from the Software Distribution page maintained by campus.  Fetch is supported and licensed by the ITS Software office.  The download page includes licensing information that you can use to register the program. We recommend that you use the following link to obtain Fetch (onyen username and password required):  https://shareware.unc.edu/unconly/fetchdownload.html.  (At the time of this writing, the current version of Fetch is 5.6, which adds compatibility with Mac OS 10.4 and higher. Version 4.03 is available for 10.3.9 and lower).

For more information than this article provides, read Fetch Help, accessed via the Windows menu when Fetch is running.


Opening Fetch:


Launch Fetch as you would any other Macintosh application.

Upon launching, an Open Connection… dialog box may open.  If you know the machine you want, you can fill in the blanks and hit OK. Otherwise, you can hit Cancel.


Application window:


The Fetch application window consists of an Open Connection button at the top (or a Close Connection button if you already connected at the above step), a scroll box (to list files in directories) at the left, two buttons for the ftp commands Put File… and Get File…, and a status bar at the right.  There are also radio buttons that allow you to choose the format for the file to be transferred:  Automatic, Text, or Binary.  Fetch will default to the Automatic file format choice.  If you know that the file is ASCII text, you can select the Text radio button, or if you know that the file is binary, you can select the Binary radio button.

Note that there are many more options available if you look at the menus.  Most options are explained well in Fetch Help.  In particular, you may want to set up Shortcuts for sites you access often, and set default upload and download options.  This article will explain the basic put and get.


Opening a connection:


Click on Open Connection… to open the Open Connection dialog box.  Enter the host name (or IP number) of the machine with which you would like to exchange files.  In the Connect Using box (located under Username), select SFTP (which is required for campus machines) from the dropdown menu.  Enter your userid (or nothing, for anonymous ftp).  Enter your password (or nothing, for anonymous ftp).  Enter the directory on the remote machine (or nothing, to access the uppermost level of the working directory on the remote machine).  Click on OK for Fetch to attempt to make the connection.  If it is successful, a list of files and subdirectories will appear in the left-hand box.

Note:  If Fetch is on a machine assigned to you, you may create shortcuts for connections you make frequently.  To do this, use the “Add Shortcut” command on the Customize menu.  Once you create a shortcut, it will appear in the Shortcuts pull down menu. You can select it from the menu rather than enter the four fields above.


Moving a file from UNIX to Mac:


Once you have opened a connection and have a list of UNIX files, highlight the one you want to transfer, choose the file format with the radio buttons (if you want something other than Automatic), and click on Get File… to get it to your Mac.   A dialog box will open asking you for the destination and name of the file when it gets to your Mac.  When you say OK to that dialog box (by clicking “Save” or hitting return), the status bar will show you the
statistics on the file being transferred.

Note: If you need to move multiple files or an entire subdirectory, use Get Directories and Files… from the Remote menu.


Moving a file from Mac to UNIX:


Once you have opened a connection, open the UNIX directory (on the left, by double-clicking) into which you want to transfer the Mac file.   Now click on the Put File… button.  A dialog box will open asking you to select the file to be transferred.  When you say OK to that dialog box (by clicking “Open” or hitting return), another box will appear asking you to specify the name and format of the file. When you click OK on that box, the status bar will showyou the statistics on the file being transferred.

Note: If you need to move multiple files or an entire subdirectory, use Put Folders and Files… from the Remote menu.