AirDrop lets you send files, photos and other data between iPhones, iPads and Macs. Like all wireless technologies, AirDrop can be spirited. And sometimes it can be a challenge to "see" devices. To fix common AirDrop issues:
What is AirDrop?
AirDrop is Apple's proprietary method for locally sending files or data between two devices. The devices initially establish a Bluetooth connection, with Wi-Fi taking over a large part of the load when transferring files.
The feature was first introduced on Macs in 2008 and expanded to include iOS devices in 201
This is one of the reasons why Apple has introduced the new U1 chip with ultra-wideband technology the iPhone 11. The U1 is designed to enhance the legibility of devices and eliminate the problems that AirDrop has for years plague. However, it will take a while for the majority of people to have such a chip in their device. At the moment, we're not trying to get AirDrop up and running the old-fashioned way.
We've split these tips into Mac and iOS devices because you can use different methods on each platform. If you want to use AirDrop between an iPhone or iPad and a Mac, be sure to read both sections for relevant tips.
Can my Mac or iOS device use AirDrop?
AirDrop is compatible with the following Mac computers:
- MacBook Pro (late 2008 or later)
- MacBook Air (late 2010 or later)
- MacBook (late 2008 or later)
- iMac ( Early 2009 or later)
- Mac mini (mid-2010 or later)
- Mac Pro (early 2009 with AirPort Extreme or later)
AirDrop is compatible with iOS devices that:
- iOS 7 or later Run Higher
- Still a Lightning Port
Comprehensive Compatibility The older your device is, the more likely it is to experience problems with AirDrop.
Troubleshooting AirDrop on a Mac
AirDrop works on a Mac with more tricks than on an iOS device. This is because you can access the terminal on a Mac, make additional settings, and delete files from system folders.
Now it's off!
You've heard of it before, but let's say it again: you should keep your device up to date if you want to minimize software problems. AirDrop is spirited at best. If your Mac is running an outdated version of macOS and you are trying to send files to your brand new iPhone 11, this may be the problem.
Make a Backup First On your Mac, use Time Machine to go to System Preferences> Software Update and install any available updates. If you do not have the latest version of macOS, open the App Store, search for "macOS" and then download it for free.
Open AirDrop in the Finder
According to Apple If your Mac OS X is running Mavericks or earlier, you need to open the Finder and click AirDrop in the sidebar to transfer files. Apple does not prescribe this requirement for later versions of macOS, but we achieved better results when we opened the AirDrop window before starting a transfer.
Set the visibility of your Mac to "Everyone."
 If you're having trouble sending files to a Mac, adjust the visibility in Finder> AirDrop. At the bottom of the screen, click the arrow next to "Allow me to be detected by:" and choose "Everyone" from the drop-down menu.
If you select "Contacts only", make sure the other party's contact exists Details are displayed in your Contacts app. Apple does not specify what information should be used to identify a contact, but an email address associated with an Apple ID is a good choice.
Sometimes the Contacts Only option does not work properly – even if email addresses and phone numbers are present. For best results, ensure that both parties appear in the contact apps of the other participant.
Do Not Disturb Disable
Do Not Disturb mode affects AirDrop because your Mac becomes invisible to other devices. To disable, open the Notification Center (the icon in the upper-right corner of your screen), click the Today tab, roll up, and uncheck Do Not Disturb.
Looking for an Older Mac
Older Macs use an older implementation of AirDrop that is not compatible with the latest iOS devices. You can use a modern Mac to send files to an older Mac, but you must first tell AirDrop to search for the older Mac. If your Mac was made before 2012, this method may work for you.
First, make sure the older Mac is visible and the AirDrop window is open and ready to receive. On your newer Mac, go to the Finder and click "AirDrop" in the sidebar. At the bottom of the window, click "Do not see who you're looking for" and then "Search for an older Mac".
Connect to same Wi-Fi network
Apple explicitly states this Both devices do not need to use the same Wi-Fi network for AirDrop to work. However, in our own experience, the results are much better when devices share a network. If possible, connect both devices to the same network and try again.
Disable "Block all incoming connections"
If you use the firewall that comes with macOS, you may also be blocking inbound connections. To prevent AirDrop transmissions from failing, disable this setting. You do not need to exit the firewall.
Go to System Preferences> Security and Privacy and click the Firewall tab. If the firewall is disabled, you can proceed to the next tip.
If the firewall is enabled, click the lock in the lower-left corner of the window, and then enter your administrator password (or touch the ID or, if possible, your Apple Watch.)
Click In the following window, make sure that the check box next to "Block all incoming connections" is cleared, click "OK" to save your changes and try again.
Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth manually
Sometimes you just have to turn them off and on again by clicking the icon in the menu bar at the top right of the screen. Turn off the power and Bluetooth, then turn them on again and try again.
Quit Bluetooth with a terminal command.
If this does not work, you can You are trying to stop the Bluetooth service on your Mac. instead. This essentially forces the service to restart and may also resolve visibility and transmission issues.
To do this, open a new terminal window and type (or paste) the following:
sudo pkill blued
Press Enter, enter your administrator password (or authorize using Touch ID or Apple Watch) and press Enter again. The service will reboot immediately and stop all other Bluetooth connections that you have opened. You can now try using AirDrop again.
Reset All Bluetooth Connections
This is the nuclear option, but many people have succeeded, so it may be worth it. Your Mac stores well-known Bluetooth connections in a single file. Deleting this file will force your Mac to reconnect, and all problems may be resolved. It may also fix issues with Bluetooth devices that are not paired or are not working properly.
First, click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and then select "Turn off Bluetooth". Open a Finder window and then select "Go"> Go to the folder in the menu bar.
Type (or paste) the following and press Enter:
/ Library / Preferences /
Locate and delete the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file. You can use the search bar by clicking "Settings" at the top of the Finder window. Now turn on Bluetooth again and check if AirDrop works.
Remember to reconnect your Bluetooth devices after running this tip.
Restart your Mac.
As always The most effective way to solve AirDrop problems is to reboot the Mac and try again. However, it is not practical – especially if you are in the middle of something. We recommend that you first experiment with the previous tips to see if they work with your specific hardware. You may not have the same problem in the future.
More Troubleshooting Tips for Mac AirDrop
Still have AirDrop problems? There are a few other things you should try:
- Restart your network device.
- Reset the PRAM and SMC of your Mac.
- Log out of your Apple ID in System Preferences and then log in again.  Reinstall macOS to restore the status of your device.
Fixing AirDrop Issues on an iOS Device
Due to the closed operating system, iOS devices do not have as many troubleshooting options open for them. Luckily, some tips have worked out for us.
Just like macOS, iOS is updated regularly. Make sure you're using the latest version of iOS to get the most out of AirDrop's success. Go to Settings> General> Software Update and install all available updates.
Make sure your iOS device is visible.
You can change the visibility of your iOS device in the Control Center. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the control center via iPhone 8 or earlier. If you have an iPhone X or higher, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen.
Press and hold the control panel with the Airplane Mode and Wi-Fi icons until a new control panel appears. Touch "AirDrop" to adjust the visibility. For best results, tap Everyone.
If you choose the Contacts Only option, the person you're sharing with must also be in your Contacts app (or the Phone app on the Contacts tab). For best results with this method, make sure the other party's associated Apple ID is displayed in the corresponding contact.
Since "Only Contacts" is spirited, we recommend that you set this option to "Everyone" for broadcasts and then "Receiving Off" if you do not want to be bombarded by strangers.
Make sure your iPhone is enabled and unlocked.
Your iPhone must be enabled to be visible to other AirDrop devices AirDrop requests will be displayed as notifications on your lock screen when your device is locked. For best results, ensure that Your device is enabled, unlocked, and ready to receive.
Do Not Disturb Disable
If Do Not Disturb Mode is enabled on your iOS device, you will not be able to receive AirDrop requests. To disable the Do Not Disturb mode, go to Go to Settings> Do Not Disturb, or you can also switch the Do Not Disturb icon (it looks like a moon) in Control Center.
Disable Personal Hotspot 
You can not use AirDrop if you have a personal hotspot connected. To quickly disable Personal Hotspot, open the Control Center, tap and hold the control panel with the Wi-Fi icon. Then disable Personal Hotspot.
Receive different file types separately
When you receive a file via AirDrop, it opens immediately in the app. This can cause problems if you try to send multiple file types in one transfer.
Split your transfers by file type before sending them to an iOS device via AirDrop. Fi with airplane mode
A popular tip is to disable all your device's radios with airplane mode. Switching between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is not enough, because disabling Wi-Fi in the Control Center will only disconnect the current network. To reset all services, open the Control Center, enable airplane mode, and wait about 10 seconds. Disable airplane mode and try again.
Note that Airplane mode stores your last known configuration. If you turn on airplane mode and then manually re-enable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, airplane mode will remember it the next time. Make sure you disable both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi before you run this tip.
Restart your iOS device.
If in doubt, turn it off and on again. This will probably fix (at least temporarily) your AirDrop issues, although this is not always the most convenient option.
Reset network settings
We have not tried this can not confirm its success rate, but if you have chronic problems with AirDrop, you should try it. This will reset all known Wi-Fi networks as well as the VPN, APN, and Mobile settings to their default values. You will then need to reconnect to all Wi-Fi networks.
If it's worth your while, go to Settings> General> Reset> Reset Network Settings.
Use iCloud instead of AirDrop.
iCloud Drive is Apple's cloud storage device. It's hardly the most robust cloud storage service on the market, but it's integrated with every iOS and MacOS device, making it a great alternative to AirDrop.
There are limitations, however. While AirDrop is designed for local file transfers, iCloud is an online storage medium. You need to connect to the Internet, and if you need to upload or download large files, this can be impractical (or impossible).
If you want to give iCloud a chance, keep reading and we'll work it through.
Sending files or pictures to iOS
To upload files to iCloud Drive:
- Select the files or pictures you want to send, and then tap the Share button.
- Scroll down to Save As Files. "
- Select a destination (or create a new folder), and then tap Save.
Your files are instantly sent to iCloud over the Internet. If your connection is slow, you may need to wait awhile for it to appear on other devices.
Receiving files or pictures on iOS
To retrieve files that you have uploaded to iCloud Drive on iOS:
- Start the Files app.
- Navigate to the folder where you saved your files or pictures.
- Access your files.
Sending Files or Images to a Mac
On a Mac, Finder is used for all iCloud Drive interactions. To send files or pictures:
- Start Finder and click iCloud Drive in the sidebar.
- Select a folder (or create a folder) where you want to upload your files to the folder and wait for them to upload.
The status of the upload should appear under the file you are uploading.
Receiving Files or Pictures on a Mac
Retrieving Files from iCloud Drive on a Mac:
- Start Finder and click "iCloud Drive" in the sidebar.
- Navigate to the folder where you saved your files or pictures.
- Access your files.
If the files exist The download is ongoing. Double click on it. When opened, you can prioritize the download.
The addition of the U1 chip to the latest iPhones highlights Apple's awareness of the issues that affect device discoverability. While the applications of the U1 chip go well beyond local file transfers, this represents a remarkable advance for local device-to-device wireless file transfers.
We expect the U1 and similar chips to be used in future Apple hardware. RELATED: What is ultra-broadband and why is it in the iPhone 11?