How to Use AirDrop to Share Files on Mac and iOS

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Whether it happens once in a while or frequently, transferring files between an iPhone and a Mac can be incredibly handy. Prior to Apple’s release of AirDrop, if you wanted to share files, photos and documents, it was a real headache. Relying on third-party apps that did not always work or being unable to email files over a certain size was not a great experience.

With the release of AirDrop, Apple has simplified this entire process in a way that only Apple can. If you have never used AirDrop before, you have to try it and experience how easy moving files can be. Here is everything you need to know to use AirDrop.

Why Use AirDrop?

How To Use Airdrop Mac Ios Multiple Users

This is a great question and the answer is it’s all about ease of use. When the moment comes that you want to share a location on a map, a contact’s phone number or a bunch of photos to your computer, AirDrop can be the answer. You can even share Notes, Pages and other documents via AirDrop, and it could not be simpler.

Setting Up AirDrop

Now that you why you should use AirDrop, you need to learn how. Make sure AirDrop is active on both your Mac and iPhone. On the iPhone, head to “Settings -> General -> AirDrop.” In this menu you can select who you want to share with or turn off AirDrop completely. For the most part, it is probably best to select “Contacts Only” so you are not exposed to someone sending you a file accidentally.

How To Use Airdrop Mac Ios Iphone Settings

On the Mac, open up any Finder window (file directory) and click on “Go” from the menu bar. Once you click on go and a menu drop-down appears, locate and select “AirDrop.” Similar to iOS, you have the option on the Mac to determine how you will receive AirDrop files. Once again, “Contacts Only” is the best bet for security.

Using AirDrop on the Mac

Available on any Mac computer released after 2012, finding another Mac or iPhone user to AirDrop with should not be difficult. While we know how to get started with accepting AirDrop files, there is one more step. Head to “System Preferences -> Bluetooth” and activate Bluetooth. All you need to do now is find something you want to share.

For simplicity’s sake, start with locating a website to share in Safari. To share with AirDrop:

  1. Find the Share feature on Safari that looks like a square box with an arrow pointing north coming out of it.
  2. Click on this box to see an option for AirDrop. Assuming there is another AirDrop device available nearby, you will see the option to share.
  3. Select the device you wish to share with and click “Done.” AirDrop will notify the recipient of an incoming request to share and give them the option to accept or decline.
  4. If they allow it, the shared website will immediately open in Safari. The same goes for any file shared, including music, photos, contacts, etc.
  5. With third-party browsers, when you want to share a file with AirDrop, head to “File -> Share -> AirDrop,” and use the same process to find the recipient.
How To Use Airdrop Mac Ios Browser Share

Alternatively, you can also share via AirDrop by dragging files into the AirDrop window in Finder. To do this, find whatever file or content you want to share and drag it to the AirDrop label in Finder which is traditionally located under “Favorites”. Hold the file there for a minute until the Finder window appears and then let go.

Note that only recipients who have AirDrop turned on will appear. Just as you had the option to turn receiving files off in Settings, other users do as well. If you don’t find the recipient listed, you should verify with them that they have the option turned on.

Using AirDrop with iOS

Sending files via AirDrop on the iPhone could not be any easier. When you want to send anything with AirDrop, you will need to pull up the “Share Sheet.” Generally speaking, that can be found using the same icon that the Mac has, the square with the arrow pointing up out of it.

When you bring up the Sharing function, select the person you wish to share with and tap on their name. The file(s) will then be sent, and you will receive a notification if they have accepted or declined the transfer.

How To Use Airdrop Mac Ios Iphone

Please note that for iOS sharing, if the person you are sharing with is in your contacts, you will see an image associated with their name. If they are not in your contacts, you will see a name without an image. If you don’t see the name, you can alternately click on the AirDrop icon for a list of everyone within range and with AirDrop turned on.

AirDrop can be a wildly useful tool for all kinds of use cases, and if it doesn’t work for some reason, we have fixes for it as well. Even without Bluetooth, you can get Airdrop to work on an ethernet connection and unsupported Macs.

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David Beren David Beren

David Beren is a freelance tech writer with over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves dogs, his kids and all things Nintendo.

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