How to Use AirDrop Over Ethernet and Unsupported Macs

Airdrop allows you to send a file over to another Mac that is in the same WiFi network. However, not all Macs support Airdrop, especially those without the latest updates. Even those with the latest updates may not work out if not under a WiFi network. This doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Below, we will go over how to use Airdrop in both situations.

Is This Article for Me?

We don’t want to waste your time, so let’s cut to the chase. There may be a possibility that you already have AirDrop and you may not know it. First off, you can simply go to Finder and look on the sidebar. You should spot AirDrop available there.

A much quicker way is to simply click anywhere on your desktop, which automatically activates Finder without opening a window, and click the “Go” folder in the menu bar above. From there, see if you can find AirDrop.

Airdrop basisc

A third option could be to find out based on your current Mac model. Officially, AirDrop is available for the following models:

  • MacBooks and MacBook Pros after 2008
  • iMacs and Mac Pros after 2009
  • Mac Minis and MacBook Airs after 2010

If you have upgraded to Lion and still did not find the Airdrop option in the Finder, it could be that AirDrop is not activated by default. Let’s get started with enabling AirDrop!

Enabling AirDrop

This “hack” of sorts will occur in Terminal. First off, activate Terminal by finding it in your Applications folder found in the dock, or by searching for Terminal in the Spotlight search feature.

Once opened, all you have to do is copy and paste the command below:

defaults write BrowseAllInterfaces 1

However, if you did make a mistake, froze up, or did anything else, then trash the previous command by entering the following command into Terminal. (Only do so if you wish to disable what you previously entered; otherwise, disregard this and simply restart your computer to apply the changes.)

defaults write BrowseAllInterfaces 0

Basics of AirDrop

You should see the AirDrop option after restarting your Mac.

There are multiple places to find AirDrop. To find AirDrop in Finder, simply click on open the Finder and look at the left pane. You should see a folder called “AirDrop” with a little package parachute as its symbol; click on it. In a couple of seconds, you should see your Mac’s profile image appear with your Mac’s name. AirDrop will soon begin to scan for other Macs in your WiFi network. If you are using an Ethernet cord, your Mac will then look for individuals who are also sharing that same network.

Ready to send? Simply click and drag a file over the individual, and then click “Send” when prompted. Chances are, you’ll need to have access to that file in Finder, despite having AirDrop open. If this is the case, simply create a new window by clicking “File” and “New Finder Window” in the menu bar.┬áReceiving a file is much easier, and will only require you to open AirDrop, and when prompted, to either reject the file by clicking “Decline”, “Save” it and move on with what you’re doing, or “Save and Open” if you need to take a look right away.

Spotting AirDrop on Mac

Airsdrop: via the Finder

As mentioned before, AirDrop isn’t just found in Finder. There are other ways to send through AirDrop. One notable way is through Preview. Open the file you would like to view in Preview. Next to the zooming options, you should see a sharing button. Click it, and select AirDrop. AirDrop can also be found in iPhoto and any other Apple applications with a share button, except for Safari. So keep an eye out for it.

AirDrop: via the Preview

How has AirDrop helped with your file sharing needs? Let us know in the comment section below.

Ari Simon
Ari Simon

Ari Simon has been a writer with Make Tech Easier since August 2011. Ari loves anything related to technology and social media. When Ari isn't working, he enjoys traveling and trying out the latest tech gadget.

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