AirDrop is like FedEx for your iPhone files and photos. Here’s how to use it

If you’re still emailing photos from your iPhone to friends nearby, or still using a thumb drive to transfer some files from your Mac, stop. Try AirDrop instead. Do you have one? iPhone 14a iPad Mini or a new M2 MacBook Pro, AirDrop is a convenient way to transfer files and content from one Apple device to another. AirDrop lets you quickly share photos, documents, videos, audio recordings, contact cards, web links, and notes (among other things) between Apple devices.

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AirDrop is limited to iOS and macOS. (Sorry, Android and PC users.) When AirDrop came out in 2012, that was it one of the features that separated iPhone from Android phones. If you have an Android phone, Google has its own version of AirDrop called Nearby Sharedoing something similar.

You don’t even need the latest ones iPhone 14 pro or a 16″ MacBook Pro with M2 Max chip Use AirDrop. It works with any iOS device running iOS 7 or later and any Mac running OS X Yosemite or later. The only “requirement” is that both devices are within 30 feet of each other and have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. As far as I can tell, there is no limit to the size of the file you AirDrop. Note, however, that the larger the file, the longer the transfer will take.

If you want to follow me step by step on setting up and using AirDrop, watch the video below.

How to enable AirDrop

On an iPhone, make sure both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on. Next, open the control center control panel, then press and hold the wireless connection icon until it expands into a rectangle. Last tap AirDrop and choose reception off, Contacts only or All to control who can send files to your phone.

On a Mac, check if Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on. Open a Finder window. Then click in the sidebar AirDrop. A window with a radar-like graphic opens. Anyone nearby with AirDrop enabled will appear in this window. At the bottom of the window, you can choose who can send you content: No one, contacts or All.

How AirDrop works on an iPhone

To use AirDrop on an iPhone, the person you’re sending files to must have an Apple device with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. If either of you have Personal Hotspot turned on, turn it off; Otherwise, AirDrop will not work. The same applies if you use a VPN. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect it has something to do with how a VPN encrypts your internet connection.

Whenever you see a Split on your phone (the rectangular icon with an arrow pointing up) you can select AirDrop. When you do this, you’ll be presented with a list of all nearby Apple devices that also have AirDrop enabled. Tap the name of the device you want to send to. Let’s say you’re in the Photos app and see an image that you want to AirDrop. Tap the Split button to open the Share menu. Tap at the bottom of the menu AirDrop Symbol. Next, a window will appear listing everyone nearby who has AirDrop enabled. Find the person you want to send the photo to and tap their contact icon.

Next, a window notification will appear on the recipient’s phone with a preview of what you’re sharing. You have the opportunity to do so Accept or Reject. As soon as they type Accept, the selected photo is transferred. Pictures and videos are saved in the Photos app on the recipient’s phone. Documents will prompt the recipient to select an app to save them to. Web links will automatically open in your default web browser, which will be Safari for most users.

If the person you’re sending to has their AirDrop set to Contacts Only, they must have a contact card in the Contacts app that contains either your email address or phone number for this to work. If you’re not in his contacts, have him change his AirDrop setting to All to get your file.


When you tap the Share menu in iOS, a dialog box appears showing nearby people who have AirDrop enabled. Tap the person you want to share with.

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How AirDrop works on a Mac

First, make sure your Mac has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, then open a Finder window. Then click in the sidebar AirDrop. To share a file, simply drag and drop it onto the desired person’s contact icon in the AirDrop window. Also, just like iOS, you can always access AirDrop whenever you see the Split Button.

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On a Mac, the Finder window shows anyone nearby who has AirDrop enabled,


If you’re having trouble sending a file via AirDrop from a Mac, click the Don’t see who you’re looking for Button at the bottom of the AirDrop Finder window. Then click the Look for an older Mac button that pops up.

How AirDrop works from iPhone to Mac (or vice versa)

If you want to AirDrop content from an iPhone to a Mac, start with the content. For example, if you want to AirDrop a web link, open the page on your iPhone. Then open the Split menu and tap AirDrop Symbol. Next, select the Mac icon and name for the device you want to send the web link to. The recipient’s Mac will display a prompt asking them to do so Accept or decline. As soon as they type Acceptthe web link is transferred and opened in your default web browser.

If you want to AirDrop from your iPhone to your Mac and they’re both signed in with the same Apple ID, you won’t see an option to accept or decline. The transfer is easy.

How to change your AirDrop name

Your AirDrop name is the same as your common device name. To check or change it on an iPhone, open settings. Beat General, then tap above. The first item in the list shows your iPhone’s current name. Just tap on it to change it.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of AirDrop, grab one Check out more helpful iPhone tips and tricks below.