Apple Computer developed the AppleTalk protocol suite to implement file transfer, printer sharing, and mail service among Apple systems using the LocalTalk interface built into Apple hardware. AppleTalk ports to other network media such as Ethernet by the use of LocalTalk to Ethernet bridges or by Ethernet add-in boards for Apple machines.

AppleTalk is a multi-layered protocol providing internetwork routing, transaction and data stream service, naming service, and comprehensive file and print sharing. In addition, many third-party applications exist for the AppleTalk protocols.