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Home / Mac / How to use AirDrop in macOS and iOS

How to use AirDrop in macOS and iOS

Apple's AirDrop feature was first created in 2011 for file transfer and other information. It only appeared within platform: from iOS to iOS and macOS to macOS. Later versions can cross between iOS and macOS. It's useful for your own equipment, when you want to send a photo from your Mac to an iPhone, and as convenient as reading an article and sharing the URL with someone you know nearby.

AirDrop relies on proximity and requires both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on. It will also not work on an iPhone or iPad while you have Personal Hotspot enabled, as it depends on some Wi-Fi features that are switched for other purposes.

Readers often report that it is difficult to make AirDrop work properly and that may be for a number of factors. Here is a brief guide to the latest in AirDrop setup, limitation and troubleshooting.

As you share with

You control what AirDrop on your device will receive by choosing from All, Contacts Only, and Disabled. The last state is marked as receiving in iOS and none in macOS.

  mac911 airdrop general ios configure IDG

iOS allows you to configure AirDrop receipt via general settings.

iOS: You can use the control center (on an iPhone X or later or on an iPad with iOS 12 or later, swipe down from the top right corner, on other devices, swipe up from the bottom edge of any one screen), and then hold down on the network area (box with the flight mode buttons, mobile data, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). Now press the AirDrop button at the bottom left. Alternatively, open Settings > General > AirDrop and select from the same options.

macOS: Switch to Finder and select Go > AirDrop (Command-Shift-R) to open the AirDrop window.

  mac911 configure macos discovery airdrop IDG

Select from who you want to receive AirDrop files.

I recommend that most people leave AirDrop only for Contacts, as it is the safest and easiest way. Then anyone who has an email address or phone number in the contact list can send you files or other shared items. You can also send files to any device you own that is in range and logged into the same iCloud account.

A number of people have reported receiving unwanted files, often obscene in nature, when they leave AirDrop set to Everyone and are public places, such as subway stations. Although you sometimes need to switch to Everyone, I recommend that you switch back to Contacts only or completely disabled afterwards.

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