How to share content with AirDrop on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

With Apple’s AirDrop, you can instantly share your photos, videos, locations, and more with other Apple devices nearby.

Set your AirDrop receiving options
Use Control Center to choose who can see your device in AirDrop and send you content.

1. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Control Center.

2. Tap AirDrop.

3. Choose one of these options:
• Receiving Off: You won’t receive AirDrop requests.
• Contacts Only: Only your contacts can see your device.
• Everyone: All nearby iOS devices using AirDrop can see your device.

Turn on and set up AirDrop on your Mac

1. Choose Go > AirDrop from the menu bar in the Finder. An AirDrop window opens. If Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is turned off, you’ll see a button to turn it on. AirDrop turns on automatically when Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on.

2. To receive files from everyone instead of only those in your Contacts app, you can use the “Allow me to be discovered by” setting at the bottom of the AirDrop window.

To share content with AirDrop

1. Open an app and find the content that you want to share. To share multiple items, tap Select, then tap the items. With iOS 10 and later, you can also share apps with AirDrop. Just press and hold the app icon on the Home screen.

2. Tap Share or the share icon.

3. Tap the name of a nearby AirDrop user or the Apple device. If you have a Mac or another iOS device that’s signed in with your Apple ID, you can also AirDrop content to that device.

To receive content with AirDrop
When someone shares content with you using AirDrop, you see an alert with a preview of the content and can tap Accept or Decline.

If you tap Accept, you get the content in the app it was sent from. For example, photos appear in the Photos app and websites open in Safari. App links open in the App Store so you can download or purchase the app.

If you AirDrop content to yourself, like share a photo from your iPhone to your Mac, you won’t see an option to Accept or Decline. The content is automatically sent to that device. Just make sure that both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID.

Troubleshooting: Note that, currently, if you’re signed into iCloud on your Mac with name@mac.com or name@me.com, but on your iPhone with name@icloud.com, the mac.com, me.com, icloud.com domains are NOT interchangeable. Make sure all of your Apple iOS devices and Macs are signed in with the exact same Apple ID (we recommend using icloud.com).

16 Comments

  1. Although it’s gotten somewhat better over the years, Airdrop between iOS and MacOS is still pretty unreliable. After every OS update, I give it a try again. About 50% of the time I have to fall back on Dropbox/Box to make the transfer.

    I even tried getting AppleCare assistance, but even the managers had very spotty knowledge. One insisted that Airdrop was not supported on my 2013 MBA—even though Apple’s online documentation says it is. Other managers have admitted that it should work, but couldn’t provide assistance in getting it to work reliably.

  2. I hear you Col. Panic. Same experience. I can usually get it to work after “fiddling” with a bunch of setting but as for “it just works” almost never.

  3. Gave up trying to use airdrop after too many failed attempts, files disappearing in transit, unable to see other devices etc etc
    Until Sierra broke Dropcopy, Dropcopy was what Airdrop should be – a simpleGUI with robust performance that I could send files between Macs on same network, and to/from iphones and ipads
    Dropcopy “just worked” Airdrop didn’t. Simple as that

  4. One would think Apple would realize that reliability is a crucial part of the user experience. But Airdrop, Continuity, Handoff, etc have all been underperforming services of the iCloud unbrella. Part of it is that Apple outsources much of it. But a bigger problem is that Apple leaders just don’t care. They assume once an iPhone is purchased, they have that person locked into the garden. In the past, Microsoft was the butt of jokes for their poor reliability. For unknown reasons, now Apple is the one with a surprising number of half assed products and services.

  5. OK. So I want to copy a file from my MacBook Pro to iPhone.
    Where are the steps for that?
    It just works?? No. Not at all.

    Seriously, how to do this without spending time searching on the Internet and spending an hour when Dropbox does it in 20 seconds.

  6. Same experience; AirDrop works about 80% of the time with my 2012 MBPro and iPhone 6. Before Apple introduced AirDrop, I used an app that worked 100% of the time called PhotoSync. But PhotoSync was put out of business by Apple with technology that doesn’t work as well.

    I also don’t like that AirDrop dumps pictures into the Downloads folder, where they have to be manually moved to the Pictures folder. That’s pretty dumb, when (the now orphaned) Picassa can check and see if a folder exists in Pictures, create one and date it if necessary, and move pictures into it in one step.

  7. My reliability is now up to 100% of AirDrop attempts now that I’m using OS 10.12.2 and iOS 10.2.1.
    Keep updating, both hw and sw, and it will work.

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