A great deal has been said about AirDrop since its launch in 2011. The airDrop was an amazing addition to the Apple ecosystem nearly ten years ago. Over time, it persisted, and suffered, and lagged behind many competing services.
AirDrop is a rapid and straightforward way to share images, documents, and other files between Apple devices. Prior to using it, you will need to enable the feature. The AirDrop feature is frequently the quickest method to transfer content between iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. In addition to sharing images and documents, users can also AirDrop website links, pass from Wallet, Apple Maps locations, and many other items that can be shared via the Share sheet.
What is AirDrop, and how does it function
The concept of AirDrop is uncomplicated: transferring files. It operates over WiFi and Bluetooth, detecting devices nearby that can accept file transfers.
You can choose to accept files from everyone or just those in your contacts list. You can also choose to have AirDrop block all incoming file transfers, though this setting will also make your device undiscoverable by others, so you will not be able to send files either.
OS X Yosemite introduced a new era for AirDrop on the Mac. Before this version of OS X (now macOS), AirDrop for Mac and iOS were not interoperable. This made transferring files between a Mac and iPhone or iPad challenging; now that these systems work well together, there is no such problem. When you want to share a file using AirDrop, you must select AirDrop from the share-sheet when right-clicking on a file or folder, then select AirDrop. An available list of devices to share will appear.
System Prerequisites of AirDrop
Sending or receiving items from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch requires a 2012 or later Mac with OS X Yosemite or newer. This excludes the Mac Pro (Mid 2012) by default. To send items to another Mac device, you need a MacBook Pro (late 2008) or newer, excluding the MacBook Pro (17-inch, late 2008), MacBook Air (late 2010), MacBook (late 2008), iMac (early 2009), Mac Mini (mid-2010), Mac Pro (early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or mid-2010). However, many of these models did not come with compatible software by default but may be compatible with system upgrades. You can verify if your Mac is compatible by checking for the AirDrop feature in Finder’s “Go” menu.
How to Enable AirDrop and Utilize It on an iPhone and Mac
With AirDrop, it’s easy to wirelessly transfer any files, photos, or videos to and from your iPhone and Mac. You can also use AirDrop to share files with your friends and family, as long as they have an Apple device and are within range. Here’s how to enable AirDrop and use it to transfer files from an iPhone to a Mac, and vice versa.
How to Activate AirDrop on an iPhone
To activate AirDrop on an iPhone or iPad, access the Control Center by swiping up on older models or swiping down from the top-right corner on an iPhone X or later. Then touch and hold the WiFi button, select AirDrop, and choose who can send files to your iPhone.
- Access the Control Center on your iPhone by swiping down from the top-right corner of your screen on an iPhone X or a newer model. If you have an older iPhone, you can access the Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of your screen.
- Then press and hold the WiFi button, which appears as three curved lines in a blue circle in the upper-left corner of your screen.
Note: From here, you can check if your WiFi and Bluetooth are activated. If not, you can activate them from here by tapping their respective icons.
Next, select AirDrop.
Finally, choose who can send files to your device. If you choose Contacts Only, you will only receive files from people in your Contacts list. If you select Everyone, any Apple device in range can transfer files to your device. You can switch off AirDrop at any time by choosing Receiving Off.
Note: If you only see Receiving Off and cannot change it, go to Settings, then Screen Time, and then Content and Privacy Restrictions. Then choose Allowed apps and slide the switch next to AirDrop. It is enabled when it turns green.
How to Turn on AirDrop on a Mac
To activate AirDrop on a Mac:
- Right-click anywhere on your desktop.
- Click Go at the top of your screen and select AirDrop from the drop-down menu.
- Click Allow me to be discovered at the bottom of the pop-up window and choose who can send files to your Mac.
Note: Your Mac needs to have WiFi and Bluetooth activated to use AirDrop. To do this, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen, then click System Preferences. Next, choose Bluetooth, activate Turn Bluetooth On, and click Network, then WiFi, and activate Turn WiFi On.
- Right-click anywhere on your Mac desktop. Alternatively, you can also open a Finder window on your Mac.
- Then click Go in the Apple Menu Bar at the very top of your screen.
- Next, select AirDrop. You can also press the Command + Shift + R keys on your keyboard at the same time to skip the previous step.
Then select Allow me to be discovered by, which you will find at the end of the pop-up window.
Finally, decide who can send files to your device. If you choose Contacts Only, you will only receive files from people in your Contacts list. If you select Everyone, any Apple device in range can transfer files to your device using AirDrop. You can deactivate AirDrop at any time by selecting Receiving Off.
How to AirDrop From an iPhone to a Mac
To use AirDrop to transfer files from an iPhone to another iPhone or Mac, open the file you want to share on your iPhone. Then tap the Share button and choose AirDrop. Finally, select the device you want to send the file to.
- Open a file on your iPhone that you need to AirDrop. For example, if you want to share a photo, you can open the Photos app or the Camera app.
- Click the Share button, represented by a box with an arrow pointing up. You can find this icon in various parts of the screen, depending on what you are trying to share. You can also access it by tapping and holding text, images, and more.
- Next, tap AirDrop, located in a row along with other apps.
Then select the device that you want to send the files to. If the recipient is in your contacts list, you will see their name and photo next to their device. Otherwise, you will see only a gray circle with the owner’s initials below it.
- Finally, the files will be sent to the Downloads folder on a Mac.
Note: Depending on the recipient and their settings, they may need to approve the AirDrop by tapping or clicking the Accept button in the pop-up message on the other device.
How to AirDrop from Mac to iPhone
To use AirDrop to transfer files from a Mac to another Mac or an iPhone, open a Finder window and click a file or folder. Then select the Share icon at the top of the Finder window and choose AirDrop. Finally, click the device you want to send files to.
- Select a file on your Mac that you want to AirDrop.
- Click the Share button at the top of the Finder window, represented by the arrow pointing up from a box. If this is greyed out, ensure that you select the file you want to AirDrop.
- Next, choose AirDrop.
Finally, double-tap the iPhone recipient from the list. If you are sending a photo or video, it will be sent to the Photos app on the iPhone.
Alternatively, you can also follow the steps below to send files from Mac:
- Open a Finder window.
- Then choose AirDrop from the left sidebar. If you do not see this in the left sidebar, select Finder and press the Command + Coma keys on your keyboard at the same time. Then click the Sidebar tab and check the box next to AirDrop.
- Finally, drag a file onto the profile image of the recipient you want to send files to.
Where do Airdrop Files go on Mac, iPhone
Accepting AirDrop files is one thing – but where do they end up once you’ve accepted the download?
On your Mac, AirDrop files go directly to the Downloads folder. It makes sense: an AirDrop is still a download. The delivery is just more direct. For iOS devices, photos sent to your iPhone and iPad using iPadOS will directly appear in your Photos app. If you transfer a website from Mac to iPhone or iPad, it will now open in your default browser. Should you send yourself a file, like a PDF, AirDrop will open it directly in the Files app. If you have many cloud storage services, like Google Drive and iCloud, it will enable you to save it to one of them via a popup menu.
Whether it is due to the age of your device or personal preference, if Airdrop is not the ideal solution for you, there are several third-party alternatives that can function very similarly to Airdrop. We will discuss just a few of these below. Though the list is extensive and far beyond what we can cover in this article, a quick online search reveals close to a hundred different options!
- Zapya: Obtainable for free on nearly every platform, including Mac, Zapya touts itself as the swiftest file transfer tool. Zapya is uncomplicated, rapid, and. You can download Zapya and get it set up in less than 5 minutes. Once set up, transferring files is a matter of one to two taps (or clicks) on any device. Any file type can be transferred, and speed depends only on the proximity of the two devices, determining signal strength.
- AnySend: This tool is available directly in the App Store and is generally acknowledged as the simplest solution. Any Send adds a simple icon to your menubar (and on any installed Mac). Click to send, it’s as easy as that! The recipient Mac gets a brief notification, and the file begins to transfer; no special configuration or cluttered menus are necessary.
- FileDrop: Another easy-to-use service, FileDrop, is available on the App Store and through their beautiful website. The goal of FileDrop is to simplify things, as they say, “No Clouds, No Cables.” The primary aim of file drop is to transfer files as effortlessly as a simple click and drop with minimal effort and configuration. This tool is free and definitely worth a quick look if you need an alternative to Airdrop.
Reasons for AirDrop Not Functioning on Mac
There are several factors to consider when using AirDrop on your Mac, especially if you are encountering difficulties. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Your iPhone or iPad settings are incorrect: Just like your Mac’s AirDrop, iPhones and iPads have three choices. If you are unable to send or receive from any of these devices, check how AirDrop is configured on each device.
The device is not a contact. If you have your AirDrop set to “Contacts Only,” it will only accept AirDrop files from people in your contacts list. It is likely that your device is not using an account listed under any contact. If your work phone was using a work email as its account – but that email is not listed in your contacts card in Settings – your Mac would not recognize it as a contact. This can also be an issue with new devices.
Your Mac is old: Does AirDrop work on older Macs? Yes – just not as well as more modern Macs. This can be questionable if you have an older Mac that does not support AirDrop or uses a macOS version older than Yosemite. The AirDrop protocol has changed, and your devices may not be compatible if you have an older Mac.
Your Mac settings are off. Keep in mind when using AirDrop, you have three options: accept files from everyone, accept files from contact, and not accepting AirDrop files at all. If you have your AirDrop settings set to “No One,” as we discussed earlier, you cannot send or receive files.
Bluetooth or WiFi are not working properly: AirDrop works with either Bluetooth or WiFi to send and receive files. If you are on the same WiFi network, you should not have problems unless it’s a public WiFi or something is inhibiting your devices from connecting (a VPN may cause issues, for example). It’s also good to ensure your Bluetooth is on for both devices.
AirDrop is fantastic for sending and receiving files. It is used worldwide and supported by many who have a Mac and iPhone. The ability to instantly and effortlessly send yourself a file feels like magic. Apple’s iCloud has become more dependable but syncs slowly across devices. AirDrop is simply more reliable across the board – but it’s not flawless. You can end up with wonky settings, duplicate files, and missing backups.