Wi-Fi File Sharing on the BlackBerry PlayBook


Video PlayBook 101: How to setup and use Wi-Fi File Sharing on the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Adam Zeis on 18 Apr 2011 03:11 pm EDT


One of the cool features of the BlackBerry PlayBook is the ability to use Wi-Fi File Sharing. Wi-Fi File Sharing on the BlackBerry PlayBook is a setting that allows you to easily transfer files between your Mac/PC and your PlayBook over your wifi network. You get the usual drag and drop features of being connected via USB, but you are able to cut the cord so you can move files much easier. 

Being that there isn't much help documentation on the process or setup just yet, I did have a bit of trouble getting going. When you connect the PlayBook to your computer for the first time with a USB cable, it should install the necessary drivers for both standard connected file sharing and Wi-Fi File Sharing (the PlayBook doesn't just show up as a USB-styled flash drive). From there you should be able to access the PlayBook as a network drive without using a USB cable, as long as it's on the same network as your computer. I didn't have much luck with the setup, so I took a different route and added the PlayBook manually. In the video above I explain how to get the PlayBook connected as a shared drive with just a few easy steps.

From there you will be connected to the PlayBook and it will show as a shared drive on the network. Now you can drag and drop files to/from the PlayBook without ever having to connect directly to the device. When Wi-Fi File Sharing is enabled, the PlayBook will be "listening" even when the display is off. So that means when your PlayBook is in standby in your backpack or briefcase or desk drawer, you can still use Wi-Fi File Sharing without having to do anything on the PlayBook itself. This is by far one of my favorite features of the PlayBook now. Being able to get files on it without having to worry about a USB cable or even where the device is (as long as it's still on the same wifi network) is a huge bonus. While I haven't tried it on a Windows PC, it works essentially the same (anyone who has tried it please leave a comment and let us know how it worked!).

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Wi-Fi File Sharing on the BlackBerry PlayBook


That's hilarious. As soon as I watched the video I messaged Adam and told him the same thing.  I think he's gone his whole life having the concept of forward and back slashes mixed up.  Ahh well...


I setup the wi-fi sharing on the playbook and then i wandered over to my computer running windows 7.

the playbook was automatically there and ready to go! kinda nice not having to hook this thing up.

This feature will be very useful, can't wait to get my PlayBook, live in the UK so that could be a while. Get a move on RIM

The features like this is what makes the Playbook a killer machine, "welcome to the power of desktop computing in the palm of your hand"

So far I haven't figured out how to set it up on a PC. I enabled it on the Playbook but I'm not sure what to do on my PC. It doesn't automatically show in My Computer. I went to My Network Places and couldn't find it there either.

Followup - I found the IP Address of the Playbook under settings. I tried to connect that way (the IP address seemed consistent with my network) but it couldn't resolve the proxy. No go still.

Got it working on Win7 by simply leaving the smb: part off. If you click Start, then Run, then \\your-playbook-name it should come up.

Any word on the transfer rate? Especially on large video files? I have 300mbs+ on my N network, so it'd be awesome if I could get speeds at least somewhat comparable to USB.

A related question... do you have the option of using a standard USB connection to transfer files in mass storage mode, or do you HAVE to use either WiFi or Desktop? I'm asking this question because I can see plenty of situations where I'd like to be able to connect a Playbook to someone else's computer, so that they could transfer a file to the device, but where they wouldn't want to install software on their computer for that purpose.

So the computer can see the files on the playbook, but can the playbook see shared files stored on the computer?

I would love to know whether or not you can do the reverse on a Windows or Novell network.

If it does (and it should if it's a professional grade tablet, professionals use Windows/Novell file shares), this will add even more reason for schools to ditch iPad and go PlayBook.

This is the question that has been burning for me the most. I have all my media on a server in the basement, music, tv, photos, movies. If the playbook could access and play that stuff just like my little network tv device or a game console, we would have a winner for sure. Synchronizing media is so yesterday now that we live on networks.

I have just spent some time playing around with the wifi file sharing, and as far as i know, It doesn't look like you can browse through your PC/Mac's files from the playbook.

I could be wrong, I am a little stupid sometimes :).

very good feature
geez i feel like RIM is bad at marketing some important features that would definitely peak my interest
oh well at least i got crackberry and crew for that

is there any sort of network media streaming present?
im sure it should be possible in the future

Sweet! Again, RIM is above the rest for using standards, including SMB, which all computers support (Windows, Mac, and Linux). This basically turns the playbook into a mini file server.

i feel like an individual/company/organization is driving reviewers/blogers to write BAD things about playbook everyday. I guess budget are distributed to those writers. As if they don't want to stop. Come on people, wake up, write article/blog/review in balance form.

The same method Adam used to connect on a Mac should work on Linux. just type smb://Playbook in the file manager address bar (Nautilus in Ubuntu).

I didn't see an answer... can the playbook access files on a remote "server" (or share)? i.e. if i want to stream a video off my desktop computer, is there a way to browse a remote share *from* the playbook?

I'm wondering the same thing. Haven't found a way yet thru bluetooth. Would rather not have to py for a vpn.

This is great news!

The PlayBook is going to act as a SMB server over wireless! For us Linux users this is great news.

The more and more I see of the PB now, the more I get excited. I was a little down after some of the negative interviews but there are so many treats and delights this bad boy offers that I just simply cannot wait for my developer PB to arrive.

"No usb here, no cords here". No offence Adam but I'm pretty sure the followers on Crackberry respect your word enough for you to not be needing to remind us you weren't connected. I am loving this playbook 101 series.

I hope all these things are in the 1250 page manual. There must be a zillion things that I can do with this PlayBook. I may never leave my house again !

I got mine working with my PC finally. I transferred about 20 songs to my Playbook in about 4 minutes. It said it was doing about 1.7-2 MBps across my wireless network. It was decent and faster than I expected.

No luck here either. It sets up under networks each time I connect the USB and I can even use it for a short while after disconnecting the USB. Then, for some unknown reason, my Playbook continues to show under the network but cannot be accessed. Maybe an update....

My desktop is mac os x 10.4.11. This is the only way to share files between it and my playbook since there is no desktop software for 10.4.11

This rocks! It works effortlessly with my i-Tunes library, home movies and pictures. TAT apps to view and play are nicely simple.

Thank you RIM and Adam.

Must sleep...

Wireless is horribly slow on the PB. Can't get any more than 3 megs transferred. Running ping tests with -t playbook name it will ping with 100+ms ping times from my desktop machine that is connected via ethernet cable. Lots of time outs etc. I can ping my Dell D630 laptop sitting next to playbook over wireless network and its 1 - 2ms. So I am confident it isn't the wireless router.
Will test at work on another wireless network tomorrow.

Could be newest OS that was loaded but man its slow. barely breaks 300k/sec when xfers are working.


I used the PB's IP address and it now works. You always figure things out AFTER you pose the question. lol

I followed the directions completely but the connection still fails on my MackBook Pro. Any reason why this would NOT work?

Thanks in advance.

I cannot get this to work. I bought a playbook a month ago and i run a macbook pro and still have not successfully been able to transfer anything to it via usb or wifi network sharing. I have tried all these things and I'm getting frustrated

Works perfectly on my old outdated XP SP2. Bought myself the PlayBook while in the US and brought it back home to Australia. Could not be happier with this purchase! I just mapped the drive using the search facility in the Windows browser using the same work group and user name on both the PB and my laptop.
What I now need is the reverse where I can access my Windows media server files from the PB - guess I am not the only one hoping for this to come.
Anybody with tagging experience using wav format. It all works with Windows Media Player and my slimserver, but the tags are not visible on the PB.

My file sharing password is different from my device password. And I never gave a password for my file sharing. So now when I try to log into it, I cannot because I don't have that original password.

Anyone else having the same issue?

Same issue here, but I don't use even use passwords on my Mac.
Then I started looking for a solution in Google, and found out so many issues with SMB connections that I left the idea to use it.
A USB cable is just fine: these days, everything should be more or less plug & play...

I am using a xp machine. I can connect to my tablet using wifi. I can transfer files from my PC to the tablet and I can see them in the tablet folder. The problem I have is any pictures or videos made with the tablet does not show up in the folder on my PC. Why is it that I cannot see over wifi pictures or videos created by the tablet on my pc. I would like to transfer the pictures/videos I created with the tablet to my PC over wifi.

Any help would be much appreciated.


I have a Mac G5 running OS 10.5. I can't get it to connect to the Wifi or by usb
"installation cannot proceed, as not all OS requirements were met. Please upgrade to 10.5.7 or higher." So I'm at my wits end!! When I type in EVERY combo I can think of for the PB server address, I get told it doesn't exist or may not be working. FRUSTRATING!!!!! I have sharing on and followed the instructions in the vid. Do I need to buy a $2,000 new computer to work with my $199 tablet? Please help. I'm hoping that there is a simple solution that I'm not seeing. Because of the age of my mac I'm guessing, I also can't use Box, as it won't allow me to upload. SO close to frisbying my PB!!

it dosent show up in network so i have to run it every time...
any solutions???
Saahil Jaffer

How do you get the Playbook to connect to a network location such as a NAS device I have on my home network. It's great that I can connect to my playbook from various Operating Systems via WIFI but I'd like to connect from my Playbook to network locations as well.


I'm a PC guy so hated the thought of having to do this on my wife's iMac (she insisted on getting that @#&$^).

It worked just fine after viewing the video, many thanks. It is even easier on a PC (as are most things).

Read the thread and it worked perfectly, run - \\Tablet Network Name, copied videos and songs at 800kb/s. Love the Playbook