How To: Use AirDrop With Your Mac or iOS Device

How To: Use AirDrop With Your Mac or iOS Device

With the introduction of iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple made AirDrop file transfer available across platforms. In this article, we’ll discuss how to use AirDrop to transfer files among the platforms.


Get Your iOS Device and Mac Ready for AirDrop

Getting your iOS device or Mac prepared to allow AirDrop basically involves turning on Bluetooth on your device or Mac made in 2012 or after. (Sorry, Macs made before 2012 don’t support the Bluetooth version required to use AirDrop.)

To turn on Bluetooth on your iOS device, simply swipe up from the bottom of your Home screen to display Control Center. If the Bluetooth icon, (the middle icon in the top row of Control Center), is lit up, Bluetooth is on and you’re ready to go. If it’s not lit up, just tap the icon, and it will light up, indicating that Bluetooth has now been switched on.

While in the Control Center, make sure AirDrop is turned on. The AirDrop icon is in the lower left-hand corner of Control Center. Tap the icon, and you can then set the preferences for who to accept files from. The options are “Off,” “Contacts Only,” or “Everyone.” (You can also go into “Settings” -> “Bluetooth” and tap the Bluetooth toggle button to turn on Bluetooth.)

On your Mac, you can click the Bluetooth icon you’ll see in the toolbar in the upper right-hand corner of your Mac’s Menu, and then click “Turn Bluetooth On.” Alternatively, you can go to “System Preferences” -> “Bluetooth” and turn it on there.

Sending Files Via AirDrop From Your iOS Device

Open the file, photo, webpage, or other item you want to share with a Mac or iOS recipient and click the “Share” button. (It looks like a box with an “up” arrow in it, in the bottom toolbar of most apps.) “AirDrop” should appear as an option to share the content.

You’ll see a list of AirDrop enabled Macs or iOS devices around you, tap the name of the Mac or device you’d like to send the file to, and that user will receive a notification on their device or Mac that you’d like to share something with them. They will then have the option of either accepting or declining the content.

Sending Files Via AirDrop From Your Mac

Open a Finder window on your Mac, and click the “AirDrop” icon in the left-hand pane of the Finder window.

Now, simply click, drag the file you wish to share onto the AirDrop Finder window, dropping it onto the the name and icon of the device or Mac you want to send the file to.

The lucky recipient of the file will be notified – and will see a preview of the file if they are on an iOS device – and will be given a choice to accept or decline the content.

(Note: An iOS device needs to be unlocked, or the device will not show up as an available destination.)

Using AirDrop to send and receive files is an easy way to transfer files between iOS devices and Macs without opening an app to send an email or text message with an attachment. One word of caution though, be sure to have AirDrop on your iOS device set to only receive files from “Contacts” when you’re out in public. Otherwise someone like me may send you a photo of the first sloth in space. (See the photo above…)