How to use AirDrop on your Apple devices

One of the reasons many of us find technology so useful in our day-to-day lives is the ability to share content with one another. For example, we can share our location to meet with friends, notes we’ve taken on our device, and photos from parties, all with the touch of a button.

Unfortunately, this process is typically quite clunky. You need to select the content you wish to share and email it or send it over a messaging platform. What’s more, if you are trying to send many files at once, it can take a lot of time and eat up lots of your mobile data. Finally, the receiving user must then go through all content individually and save it to their own device.

If you own Apple devices however, AirDrop is a great way to send a receive photos and documents quickly, without using a network connection.

Using AirDrop between two iOS devices

To use AirDop with an iOS device, you will need to have the certain hardware and software required. These include:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPod touch 5th generation or later
  • iPad 4th generation or later
  • Both devices must be running iOS 7 or later
  • Both devices must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled

As long as both devices have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, you should be able to tap the “AirDrop” icon towards the bottom of the screen (you will need to have your personal hotspot switched off). Once you tap it, you’ll have to choose between making your device available to “Contacts Only” or “Everyone.”

“Contacts Only” means only your phone contacts will know you’re on AirDrop. “Everyone” means that any person with an Apple device in range of around 10 meters can see your device. If your phone can be discovered by other iOS users, you are putting yourself at risk of being sent unsolicited files from strangers – and so we recommend using the “Contacts Only” setting.

To send a file with AirDrop, firstly select the content you want to share and tap the share button (in the bottom left corner for photos and top right for notes). In this next menu you should see the standard platforms you can share content on, WhatsApp, Facebook, Gmail etc. However, you should also be able to see “AirDrop”. Once you have clicked on this your device will bring up a list of available devices you can drop to. When you tap on the person you wish to share with, that person will receive a notification to either Accept or Decline content. If they accept the content, it will automatically be saved onto their device.

If you AirDrop something to yourself, like a photo from your iPhone to your iPad, you won’t see an option to Accept or Decline if both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID – it’ll just automatically be sent to your device.

AirDrop works through Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer network between the devices. This connection allows files to be sent securely, as each device creates a firewall and any files sent are encrypted end-to-end. It is for this reason that AirDrop is safer than transferring files via email. What’s more, there is no file size limit, unlike with email providers.

However, in 2015 a bug was found that could allow someone within the range of an AirDrop user to silently install a malicious app on a target Apple device by sending the file via AirDrop. It is therefore essential that if you have Apple devices you remain vigilant about installing update patches and turn AirDrop “Receiving Off” when you are not using it.

Using AirDrop between one iOS device and a Mac

If you’d like to use AirDrop between a Mac and an iOS device both your Mac and iOS device must have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, as before. The devices must also have the following software and hardware:

  • The iOS device needs to include a lightning connector
  • The iOS device needs iOS 7 or later installed
  • The Mac needs to be a 2012 or later model with OS X Yosemite installed

To send a file via AirDrop from a Mac, start by clicking the “Finder” icon. With this finder window open, you should see “AirDrop” listed as an option on the left-hand side. Click “AirDrop” and your computer will begin searching for any devices that are using AirDrop.

When the available devices are in view, simply drag and drop the file you want to send onto the name of the device you want to send it to. You can also see in the picture below that on this screen display you can change the setting “Allow me to be discovered by” to “Contacts Only” or “Everyone” as on an iOS device.

Knowing how to use AirDrop is great if you are regularly sharing files within the Apple ecosystem. We hope these tips will help you avoid the back-and-forth that comes with sending content via email or text, and have you AirDropping in no time.

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