Everything you need to know about Apple AirDrop

“One of the best aspects of the ubiquity of technology in our lives is the ability to share content with one another.” Conner Forrest writes for TechRepublic. “Unfortunately, this process is typically pretty clunky. You select the content you wish to share and email it or send it via text message. The receiving user then has to open the content and save it to his or her own device.”

“Apple users, however, have another option in using AirDrop, which allows users to transfer photos, videos, locations, voice memos, or notes from one device to another over the ‘air,'” Forrest writes. “AirDrop is, perhaps, one of the most underused features in the Apple ecosystem, but it is a great resource for Apple users.”

Forrest writes, “Let’s take a look at how to use it.”

Read more in the full article here.

29 Comments

    1. This is true, but often times its still easier than setting up sharing, explaining how to connect to a remote share, explaining it again, then going over to the subject’s machine and copying the file to a USB drive.

        1. Works great for me between my 2 Macbooks and also my iPhone 5s. I Airdrop photos to my daughter when she’s around on her 5s also.

          So many people turn off Bluetooth because they think that saves power (IT DOES NOT) and without Bluetooth there’s no Airdrop (at least between iPhone and OS X).

    2. I agree. And it is so haphazard in its function…I have 2 computers and 2 devices. The devices are set up to “everybody”. All on the same network and bluetooth connected. Yet, more times than not, one or more won’t recognize the others, or if there is recognition, then the drop stalls…usually says “waiting for device to accept” WTF.

      My usual remedy is to restart a device or a computer. Then AirDrop works, but only for a short time…then back to the non-recognition etc. Apple can and ought to do so much better here…so much better.

          1. There is a trollbot network at work on MDN. The problem it appears to have is it can’t distinguish before critical or positive writings regarding Apple. The trollbot has been around since the Apple Watch has been big news.

    3. Correct. One of the biggest reasons that it ‘does not work’ is due to Apple’s adoption of Low Energy Bluetooth (v.4.0x?) in newer Mac desktop/laptop models, along with complimentary changes made in OS X 10.10. It used to work fine in OS X 8, and somewhat fine in OS X 10.9. Then when BT LE became the norm in Mac hardware, this caused a great deal of confusion and frustration. Apple’s Achilles Heel is that it does not adequately explain these changes.

  1. Perhaps Airdrop is underused because it doesn’t work most of the time. I have used it once. I have tried to use it a few times subsequently but it just doesn’t work.

    There are quite a few things that just don’t work in my Apple setup. Yosemite is the most unstable Mac OS I have ever used, and I started on Panther.

        1. Well I can’t really judge because I am reluctant to upgrade my latest work computer to Yosemite having done so on my back up computer and not exactly been blown away by the look and feel while this one works almost flawlessly on ML. And of course even though I could link between my 2 computers now I can’t as the the 2 versions don’t work together. And then i found that my iPad for which I really felt this would be so useful won’t support it anyway just too old. So sadly it has little to offer me for now and instead as clunky as it can be Dropbox does what I need without risking issues (like the wifi problems on my iPad) that seem to be inherent in the latest operating systems. If I wanted PC hell I would have bought one.

  2. I have to agree that airdrop doesn’t work very well and I have relatively new apple gear.

    It just works is a farce these days. There are more and more examples of this problem surfacing.

    This is bad news for Apple. I wish they would get their s**t together.

  3. I concur with the above. Airdrop is flakey as hell, so I don’t bother using it. It’s not my kit (I’m slap bang at the beginning of my 5-year upgrade, so it’s all pretty much latest gen), it’s just Airdrop. Nice idea, horrible execution. Rather like most of Apple’s attempts to do anything over wifi/the cloud. Sigh.

      1. It works off and on. Right now I sit with my MBP Retina mid 2012 in my lap, my iP5S in my hand and 4 m away I have my iMac Retina all configured the way they should. At one time I can see my iP on my MBP and a few minutes later NOT but instead my iMac i there. My iMac OTH at the same time does not see my MBP (and of course NOT my iP). NO it does NOT just work!

        1. Exactly how do you check to see your device ips from all your devices?
          Im trying to replicate ..

          I have my iphone 6 and 2014 imac and ipad air..
          When using airdrop on all devices i can see all other devices..as long as they are not sleep !
          Tried this on and off.. Cant make it not work !

          Plus. .. Airdroping to others devices in proximity.. Have never once had a problem… Solid as a rock.. For me and those who used it to send something to me !

          But of course the other devices cant be off or sleep !

          Ps.. All my software are on updated to the latest versions !

  4. I don’t seem to have any problems using AirDrop at all. As long as bluetooth is active and the appropriate security / share level is enabled, it’s just drag and drop.
    A friend took some pics on her iPhone at an event last week and I asked her to send me the pics. She started composing an email…. I just quietly took her hands off the device, launched photos, swiped up to enable airdrop and dropped the pics on my phone “just like that”. She’d never used Airdrop before and was stunned at how easy and fast it was.

    Before iCloud Drive, I used airdrop ‘all the time’ to transfer files between my phone and my macbook. That’s not even necessary any longer since nearly everything is readily available via the cloud.
    For me, it still seems to ‘just work’.

  5. AirDrop is a GREAT feature …. We use at work to share photos all the time ….

    Yes sometimes you need to “restart” AirDrop to get pics over but without I would now be lost …. Here is how I use ….

    I go onto your commercial flat roof and take about 15-25 pics of issues I see …. I also do a short video – usually under 45 seconds …. I do all this work with an iPhone 6 Plus ….

    Then I go down to my truck ….. AirDrop files to my iPad where I’ll
    take the video and about 6-10 pictures and I will make a short iMovie and use some if I movies features like the text over the pics and a little background music at appropriate times …..

    I have this process down to under 10 minutes for the movie making plus time to gather the info that I need to gather anyways …..

    Are my Customers impressed, yep, and then they see my highly polished truck and we talk about a little personal stuff and boom – job sold …..

    In April of 2010 with the original iPad I sold a $115,000 job and the three bids were very close, all within $1,500 and the Customer said our presentation ran circles around the others ….. And all I did was take photos and run thru PhotoShop and edit and then upload to iPad – Time spent was hours compared to under 15 minutes
    with AirDrop and I can do right on the job on m iPad!

    1. I used to work in roofing. The day SJ demonstrated the iPad I had wished I had one when I was selling roofs. Roofing is one of the hardest sales jobs. Almost none of the customers have ever actually been on their roofs. It’s amazing how cheap people will get on the part of the structure that protects everything else and it. Being able to instantly show customers photos will make it easier for them to understand their problems. I also thought of all the OSHA and instruction manuals you could easily keep at the job site. The iPad would make the foreman’s job easier while collecting more data for the office to use. Roofing is a mobile business and the iPad is an incredible mobile tool. Unfortunately the tech world is an indoor business and has very little understanding of the needs of outdoor jobs. Not having a physical keyboard is a solution not a problem.

      As for AirDrop the main problem I have had is forgetting to have both parties have their Bluetooth on. I use it so little that I forget the little things when I do.

  6. I don’t know about others’ experience with airdrop, but about 1/2 the time I try to send a video or picture from my iPhone 6 to my 2013 Mac Pro (cylinder) the process fails. It either goes incredibly slow (like 10 minutes to send 2MB) or stalls out.

    I usually end up having to shut down Bluetooth on both the Mac and the iPhone and then turn Bluetooth back on for both. This usually clears it, and then I can send that same 2MB file in under a second. Sometimes even that doesn’t work, and I have to restart both devices.

    Basically, AirDrop is one feature I feel is Microsoft level of quality. Works when it wants to.

  7. Airdrop works half the time for me, but that means it always works in just one direction… My MBP sees my iPhone 6 and can send anything easily, but no matter what I’ve tried, my MBP never shows up on my iPhone as a share option. Any ideas anyone?

    1. On the MBP open a new Finder window and select Airdrop from the side panel. That has worked consistently for me. As soon as I click Airdrop in the side panel it shows up on my iPhone.

      I use Airdrop almost everyday. It seems to have improved a lot over the last six months. The big problem is discovery and connecting between iOS and OS X. It has worked well between my iPad and iPhone.

      Usually I go to settings in iOS and toggle Bluetooth off then on. That usually helps when it seems stuck.

  8. No! No! No!
    Airdrop DOES NOT work. The fact that one can get it to function is NOT the same as working. A clock that is not wound or has no battery does NOT tell time correctly twice a day. For it to WORK it must work most of the time. What most of the time is is may differ form one person to the next, but I do not use it for every time I have tried to use it ti fails. Now when you have modern Macs and ONLY Apple WiFI stations, and you have to jump through holes to send someone a file, it is just not working. Coming from Apple it should work as advertised: Click on the Airdrop, drag a file and wait for the other to “accept” and that’s all.
    So no, it is not working. And no, this is not under specific circumstances when both Macs have been asleep and just woken up on a raining day with fluctuating current and the wife heavily menstruating……

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