How to: Use Airdrop to share Media on iPhone, iPad, and Mac



By Conner Carey of iPhone Life Magazine

Airdrop on iPhone is one of the easiest ways to quickly share files, photos, and more between devices. You can Airdrop photos from your iPad to your friend’s iPhone or Airdrop photos from your iPhone to your Mac computer for an easy transfer. You can also Airdrop from iPhone to iPhone. As long as you have relatively recent devices running on an updated operating system, you’re probably already setup to use Airdrop. We’ll cover what Airdrop is below, as well as how to turn Airdrop on, how it works, and how to use Airdrop whether you’re on iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Once you know how to use Airdrop, you’ll never go back.

What Is Airdrop?

So, what is Airdrop, exactly? Airdrop is an Apple-made feature that allows you to wirelessly transfer media between your iOS and Mac devices. You can Airdrop your own files between your devices for easily being able to work with media across the board, but you can also Airdrop a photo to a friend if they are nearby, which is faster and involves less fuss than sending it via messages or email. It’s one of the most painless Apple continuity features, meaning it’s easy to use and works exactly as it should.

How Does Airdrop Work?

“AirDrop uses Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between the devices. Each device creates a firewall around the connection and files are sent encrypted, which actually makes it safer than transferring via email,” according to Lifewire. Airdrop looks for nearby devices to create this network with. And it can look decently far; so if you’re a couple rooms away from someone, you’ll probably still be able to Airdrop them files.
Despite using a Bluetooth connection to make this work, Airdrop is incredibly fast. When you Airdrop media, it will alert the other person immediately, and they’ll be able to accept what you’ve sent.


Will My Device Work with Airdrop?

If you have an iPhone 5 or later, an iPad 4 or iPad Mini or later, an iPod Touch 5, or a Mac released in 2010 and beyond, you should be able to use Airdrop with no problems. Your Mac must be running at least OS X Lion. And if your iPhone is running anything older than iOS 9, you’re simply doing it wrong (update your phones!).

How to Turn On Airdrop

Airdrop is accessed via Control Center. To turn on Airdrop:
• Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Control Center.
• Tap Airdrop.
• You’ll see three options: Receiving Off, Contacts Only, and Everyone.
• To turn Airdrop off, you would select Receiving Off.




• If you only want to receive Airdrops from people in your contacts, tap Contacts Only.
• If you’re okay with receiving Airdrops from anyone nearby, tap Everyone.
Even if you select Everyone, you can choose to reject an Airdrop you don’t want to receive when it’s sent to you.

How to Use Airdrop

Anytime you go to Share something (document, picture, etc) on iPhone, you’ll see the option to Airdrop it at the top of the Share menu. You can share files from your iCloud Drive, pictures from the Photos app, songs you’ve found on Apple Music, recordings from Voice Memos, and much more. If you see the option, you can Airdrop that media.

How to Airdrop Photos & Other Files on iPhone or iPad


This process will work regardless of what you’re sharing. Once you’ve tapped the Share icon, the other steps are the same. For example, in iCloud Drive, you can tap on a document, then tap the Share icon and follow the steps. For this example, we’ll show how to Airdrop photos from an iPhone to Mac. You could also Airdrop from iPhone to iPhone, or to iPad, whether yours or someone elses that’s nearby.

• To Airdrop a photo specifically, open the Photos app.
• You can tap Select to easily mass select photos to Airdrop. Or tap on an individual photo you want to share.
• Then tap the Share icon that’s located in the lower left corner of your iPhone.



• Near the top of the Share menu, you’ll see Tap to share with Airdrop. Below that any available devices to receive your Airdrop will appear.
• In this case, you can see that my Macbook is the only device nearby that I can send these photos to. When I’m in the office, however, I can see icons for many of my coworkers working in about a  thirty-foot vicinity of me.
• To Airdrop your photos (or other media), tap the device you want to send them to.



If you’re sending the photos to a device of yours, they’ll automatically download and save to your device. If you’re sending the photos to someone else, they’ll receive a notification that you’re trying to Airdrop them something. They can then Accept or Decline it. Remember, these same steps apply to other media. It doesn’t have to be photos that you’re sending.

How to Airdrop on Mac


On Mac, you can Airdrop any media or file to other Macs or iOS devices, whether yours or someone else’s’. To do so, you’ll simply open Finder, locate the items you want to share, and Airdrop them. Here’s how in detail:

• Open Finder on your Mac.
• Locate the media and files you want to share. Select them. Hold down the Command key on your Mac keyboard to select multiple.
• Right click on the highlighted items you want to share.


• If nothing is showing up, wake up the device you’re sending the items to and unlock it. Once you’ve done that, the device should appear as an option.
• Tap on their name and device to send it.


Same rules apply as above: if you send the items to a device you own, they’ll automatically download and save to your device. If you’re Airdropping files or media to someone else, the recipient will get a notification that you’re trying to Airdrop them something. They can then Accept or Decline it.

Airdrop Troubleshooting Tips from Apple


“If you can’t see the person or the device that you’re trying to AirDrop to, check the following:

• Check that both of you have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on. If either of you have Personal Hotspot on, turn it off.
• Make sure that the person you’re sending to is nearby. You can’t AirDrop to users who are out of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range.
• If the other person’s AirDrop receiving setting is set to Contacts Only, and you’re not in their Contacts, have them set their AirDrop receiving setting to Everyone.”

That’s it! Now you’re ready to use Airdrop. It’s truly one of Apple’s best features. I used it to share all the screenshots for this article from my iPhone to my Mac. It has advantage over other methods because it’s fast and can handle large amounts of media and files. Welcome to the world of Airdropping on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. Enjoy!

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