Installation Guide for Mac

11305 BEAR DataShare AW_sm


BEAR DataShare is part of the Birmingham Environment for Academic Research; a set of services designed to support the University’s researchers.

BEAR DataShare is a file synchronisation and sharing service provided by IT Services. Based on PowerFolder - the service allows you to securely save and sync your files with your colleagues and partners anywhere in the world, from any device.

There are two ways to use BEAR DataShare:

  • Web based
  • Application (Client) based – allows files to be synced locally onto your device

Both methods are covered in our User Guide and Canvas course which are available from our main webpage.

This guide takes you through how to install and set up the application (Client) on a Mac.

Installing the BEAR DataShare Client

Pre-requisites: Administrator account required!

NOTE: We would strongly recommend that you ‘FireVault’ your Mac to encrypt your device.

To download the BEAR DataShare Client, open a web browser and enter the following address;

Download client_01

Click on the link ‘Clients’ on the bottom left-hand side and then select ‘Download for Mac’:

Download client_02

The Client installation file will be saved in the ‘Downloads’ area of your Mac.

NOTE: You may need to temporarily change your ‘Security & Privacy’ settings in ‘System Preferences’ (General tab), to allow you to download apps from ‘Anywhere’ (click the lock in the bottom left hand corner to make changes).

03_Security preferences

Ensure you change it back to the original security setting after downloading and installing BEAR DataShare.


To find the installation file, go to your ‘Downloads’ area (see above) and double-click on the file eg. BEAR_DataShare_Latest.dmg. The following window will pop up: 

05_Downloads folder_cropped

You then need to drag and drop the BEAR DataShare icon onto the Applications folder within the window. Dragging the icon onto the Applications folder may bring up the Applications window, if not then navigate to it through Finder:

06_Applications folder

Double-click on the BEAR DataShare application within Applications and it should start the installation. The following Initial License Agreement screen will pop up:

07_Licence agreement

Select ‘Agree’ and then carry on with the installation.

08_Download from internet

If the window above pops up then you will need to click on ‘Open’ to continue with the installation.

Configuring BEAR DataShare

After installation, the Client may start automatically. If not, to start the Client go to your Launchpad and click on the BEAR DataShare icon:

09_DataShare icon

If you see the below window saying login failed then you will need to enter your login details, so please click on ‘No User account configured’:

10_first login

On the ‘Activation’ screen (below):

  • If you are a member of University of Birmingham research staff or a postgraduate research student then enter your UoB username and associated password or;
  • If you are using the service as an invited person then enter the email address and password that you created in order to access the shared files.

Select ‘Next’, activation should complete successfully and then BEAR DataShare logs in.

11_Login prompt

Application icons and buttons described

Once successfully logged in you will see the following window:

12_The Client window labelled

Any folders you are already a member of should appear (with the owner in brackets). If you have access to many folders then it may take a few minutes to fully synchronise. 

  1. Status and last check - shows if your folders are synchronised and when the status was last checked.
  2. User account - shows the username the Client was activated with.
  3. Quota bar - shows how much space you have used out of your 25GB quota if you hover the mouse cursor over it. By clicking on the bar, you are taken to the web portal which shows used storage, file history storage and free space.
  4. Auxiliary menu:
    1. Web - takes you to the user account folder list in the cloud.
    2. Explore - takes you to the default folder path using your default file browser (e.g. Finder on a Mac).
    3. Pause – pauses all checking and synchronisation activities.
    4. Preferences – allows you to configure the Client settings including setting advanced options. To be able to view file history click on ‘Preferences’, then on the ‘General’ tab check the tick box next to ‘Show advanced options’.  
  5. Folder list - shows all available and synchronised folders.
  6. Synchronised folder - clicking on the folder will either open up your file browser or if using advanced options, will show details such as which files are new or updated (marked in bold).
  7. Available (unsynchronised) folder - click on the folder to synchronise it locally.

Creating your base folder

By default, BEAR DataShare creates a folder called DataShare which is accessible via Finder in your ‘Favorites’ - see 'Synchronising existing folders between devices' for a cautionary note.


To create a folder, open up the Client window through the toolbar icon and click on ‘Create Folder’.

14_Create folder in Client

After clicking on ‘Create Folder’, the window ‘Choose Directory’ will pop up. Click on ‘New Directory’ and enter the name of the new folder, then click OK and it should appear in your list of folders.

15_Create new directory

Then click OK again and a new ‘Folder Configuration Wizard’ window will appear and notify you that setup was successful.

16_Setup folder successful

Select ‘Finish’ completing the setup. BEAR DataShare will now synchronise this folder with the BEAR DataShare server. You can add files to it either through Finder (make sure the Client is running) or on the web portal.

Synchronising existing folders between devices

You may already have existing folders which you wish to sync, so that you can access the data via the web portal or through other devices which have the Client installed. To sync existing folders, follow the steps for creating a folder above but instead of clicking on ‘New Directory’, navigate to the folder you wish to sync, select it and then click ‘OK’. It may take some time to sync the folder, depending on the size of the files to be uploaded.

17_Syncing folder


  • Do not sync folders such as ‘Documents’ or ‘Desktop’, as if syncing multiple devices, they will all have their own ‘Documents’ folder and DataShare will struggle to identify which ‘Documents’ belong to which device. Make sure folders that you sync have different names on the different devices.
  • Do not sync whole network drives – DataShare makes local copies of your folder and you may end up going over your College quota.

If you have synced existing folders then always use the Client window to get to the Finder view of a folder by right-clicking on the folder and then clicking ‘Explore’. If you access the files through the DataShare folder you see in the ‘Favorites’ section of Finder, then you will view the version of the folder that was initially synced and not the up-to-date folder.


How to get help with BEAR DataShare

For more information on BEAR DataShare please go to our main webpage where you will find links to our Frequently Asked Questions and user guides including our full user guide, Canvas course (UoB only) and a quick user guide for invited users. To log a fault with BEAR DataShare you can log a ticket here: Report a Fault With BEAR or CaStLeS

Any other queries can be made online through the Service Desk or you can come and visit us in person at our regular drop-in sessions.


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