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AirDrop not working? Here's how to fix it



  A hand with an iPhone with the AirDrop settings menu open.
Aleksey Khilko / Shutterstock

With AirDrop you can transfer files, photos & other data between iPhones, iPads and Macs. Just like all wireless technology, AirDrop can be temperamental. And devices show each other & # 39; & # 39; can sometimes be a challenge. Here you can read how to solve common AirDrop problems.

What is AirDrop?

AirDrop is Apple's proprietary method of transferring files or data locally between two devices. The devices initially connect via Bluetooth, with Wi-Fi doing a lot of the hard work when it comes to file transfer.

The feature was first introduced on Macs in 2008. It extended to iOS devices with the rollout of iOS 7 in 201

3 AirDrop is excellent when it works, but if you have older hardware, you are more likely to issues. Visibility problems are the most common problems that people have with AirDrop – sometimes the recipient does not appear, no matter how hard you try.

This is one of the reasons why Apple introduced the new U1 chip with ultra-broadband technology, the iPhone 11. The U1 is designed to improve the findability of the device and eliminate the problems that have plagued AirDrop for years. However, it will take a while for the majority of people to have such a chip in their device. We are currently trying to make AirDrop work in the old-fashioned way.

We have divided these tips between 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, view 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 newer)
  • MacBook Air (late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (late 2008 or newer)
  • iMac ( early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac mini (mid-2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (early 2009 with AirPort Extreme or newer)

AirDrop is compatible with iOS devices that:

  • iOS 7 or higher
  • Despite that, a Lightning port

has extensive compatibility, the older your device, the greater the chance that you will have problems with AirDrop.

Troubleshooting AirDrop on a Mac

There are more tricks to make AirDrop work on a Mac than for an iOS device. This is because on a Mac you have access to the Terminal, more settings that you can adjust, and the ability to delete files from system folders.

Let's start!

Update macOS

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You've heard it before, but we'll say it again: you need to keep your device up-to-date if you want to minimize software problems. AirDrop is temperamental at the best moment, so if your Mac uses an outdated version of macOS and you're trying to send files to your brand new iPhone 11, that may be the problem.

First back up your Mac with Time Machine and then go to System Preferences> Software Update and install all available updates. If you are not using the latest version of macOS, open the App Store, search for "macOS" and download it for free.

Open AirDrop in Finder

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According to Apple, if your Mac OS X is running Mavericks or earlier, you must open Finder and click on AirDrop in the sidebar to transfer files. Apple does not set this requirement for later versions of macOS, but we have had better results when we open the AirDrop window before starting a transfer.

Set the visibility of your Mac to & # 39; Everyone & # 39;

  The [19659006] If you are having trouble sending files to a Mac, adjust visibility under Finder> AirDrop. At the bottom of the screen, click the arrow next to & # 39; Allow me to be found by: & # 39; and select & # 39; Everyone & # 39; in the drop-down menu.

If you use & # 39; Contacts only & # 39; select the contact details of the other party in your Contacts app. Apple does not specify which specific piece of information it uses to identify a contact, but an email address associated with an Apple ID is a solid choice.

Sometimes the "Contacts Only" option does not work properly – even when e-mail addresses and phone numbers are present. For the best result, ensure that both parties appear in each other's Contacts apps.

Disable Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb interferes with AirDrop because it makes your Mac invisible to other devices. To disable it, open "Notification Center" (the icon in the upper right corner of your screen), click the "Today" tab, scroll up and disable "Do not disturb".

Search for an Older Mac

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Older Macs use an older AirDrop implementation 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 created 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 Finder and click "AirDrop" in the sidebar. Click on "Don't see who you are looking for?" At the bottom of the window, click on "Search for an older Mac".

Connecting to the same Wi-Fi network

Apple explicitly states that both devices do not have to share the same Wi-Fi network for AirDrop to work. However, our own experience suggests that when devices share a network, the results are much better. If possible, connect both devices to the same network and try again.

Disable "Block all incoming connections"

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If you use the firewall provided with macOS, incoming connections may also be blocked. To prevent AirDrop transfers from failing, you must disable this setting. You no longer need to use the firewall for this.

Go to System Preferences> Security and Privacy and then click on the "Firewall" tab. If the firewall is set to "Off", 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 type your administrator password (or use Touch ID or your Apple Watch, if possible).

Then click on "Firewall options". In the window that opens, check that the check box next to "Block all incoming connections" is not checked. Click "OK" to save your changes and try again.

Switching off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth manually

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Sometimes you have to switch it off and on again. To do this with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, click on the relevant icon in the menu bar at the top right of the screen. After turning off both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, turn them on again and try again.

Kill Bluetooth with a Terminal Command

If that doesn't work, you can try killing the Bluetooth service of your Mac instead. This essentially forces the service to restart and may also resolve issues with visibility and transfer.

To do this, open a new Terminal window and type (or paste):

  sudo pkill blued 

Press Enter, type your administrator password (or authorize via Touch ID or Apple Watch) and then press Enter again. The service restarts immediately and disconnects all other Bluetooth connections that you have opened. You can now try using AirDrop again.

Reset all Bluetooth connections

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This is the nuclear option, but many people have had success with it, so it may be worth a try. Your Mac stores known Bluetooth connections in one file. If you delete that file, you force your Mac to make new connections and resolve any issues. It can also solve problems with Bluetooth devices that are not pairing or not working properly.

First click on the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and then select "Turn Bluetooth off". Open a Finder window and then select Go> Go To Folder from the menu bar.

Type (or paste) the following and then press Enter:

  / Library / Preferences / 

Locate the file "com.apple.Bluetooth.plist" and delete it. You can use the search bar, make sure you click on "Preferences" at the top of the Finder window. Now switch Bluetooth on again and see if AirDrop works.

Do not forget to pair your Bluetooth devices again after you have tried this tip.

Restart your Mac

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As always, the most effective way to troubleshoot AirDrop problems is to restart your Mac and try again. However, it is not handy, especially if you are doing something. We recommend that you first experiment with the previous tips to see if one of them works with your specific hardware; it may happen that you get the same problem in the future.

Other troubleshooting tips for Mac AirDrop

Still having problems with AirDrop? There are a few other things you want to try:

  • Restart your network equipment.
  • Reset the PRAM and SMC of your Mac.
  • Log out of your Apple ID under System Preferences and then log in again. [19659012] Reinstall macOS to restore your device to a "like new" state.

Resolving AirDrop Issues on an iOS Device

Due to the closed nature of the operating system, iOS devices do not have that many troubleshooting options open to them. Fortunately, there are a few tips that have worked for us.

Update iOS

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Like macOS, iOS regularly receives updates. Make sure you use the latest version of iOS to give yourself the best chance at AirDrop. Go to Settings> General> Software Update and install available updates.

Make sure your iOS device is visible

 The AirDrop visibility menu in iOS.

You can change the visibility of your iOS device in Control Center. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center on an iPhone 8 or earlier. If you have an iPhone X or higher, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen.

Hold down the aircraft mode panel and Wi-Fi symbols until a new panel appears. Tap "AirDrop" to set the visibility. For the best results, tap "Everyone".

If you select the "Contacts only" option, the person with whom you share must also be in your Contacts app (or the Phone app on the Contacts tab). For the best results with this method, ensure that the linked Apple ID of the other party is displayed in the relevant contact.

Because "Contacts Only" is temperamental, we recommend that you set this option to "Everyone" for transfers and then change to "Receiving Off" if you do not want to be bombarded by strangers.

Make sure your iPhone is awake and unlocked.

Your iPhone must be awake to be visible to other AirDrop devices. AirDrop requests appear as notifications on your lock screen when your device is locked. For the best result, make sure your device is awake, unlocked, and ready to receive.

Disable Do Not Disturb

If Do Not Disturb mode is enabled on your iOS device, you cannot receive AirDrop requests. Go to Settings> Do Not Disturb to disable Do Not Disturb mode. You can also switch the Do Not Disturb icon (it looks like a moon) in the Control Center.

Disable personal hotspot

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You cannot use AirDrop if you have connected a personal hotspot. To quickly turn off a personal hotspot, open Control Center, tap the panel with the Wi-Fi symbol in it, and then turn off "Personal hotspot".

Different file types received separately

When you receive a file via AirDrop, it is immediately opened in the relevant app. This sometimes causes 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 and see if this solves the problem.

Kill Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with aircraft mode

 Aircraft mode enabled in Control Center on iOS.

A favorite tip is to kill all the radios of your device with the airplane mode. Switching between WiFi and Bluetooth is not enough, because it only disconnects you from the current network when you switch WiFi off in the Control Center. To reset all services, open Control Center, turn on Airplane mode, and wait about 10 seconds. Turn off airplane mode and try again.

Note that Airplane mode saves your last known configuration. If you enable Airplane mode and then manually re-enable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, Airplane mode will remember this next time. Make sure you turn off both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi before trying this tip.

Restart your iOS device

If in doubt, switch the device off and on again. This will probably solve your AirDrop problems (at least temporarily), although it is not always the most convenient option.

Reset network settings

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We did not try this, so we cannot confirm the conversion rate, but if you have chronic AirDrop problems, you can try it. This resets all known Wi-Fi networks and VPN, APN and mobile settings to their default values. You must then reconnect to all your 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 medium. It is hardly the most robust cloud storage service there is, but it is integrated into every iOS and macOS device, so it is a good alternative to AirDrop. However, there are limitations. While AirDrop is designed for local file transfer, 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 inconvenient (or impossible).

If you want to give iCloud a chance, read on, and we'll help you further

Sending files or images on iOS

Uploading files to iCloud Drive:

  1. Select the files or images you want to send and then tap the Share button.
  2. Scroll down to "Save to Files."
  3. Select a destination (or create a new folder), and then tap "Save."

Your files are immediately sent to iCloud via the Internet. If your connection is slow is, you may have to wait a while before they appear on other devices.

Receive files or images on iOS

To retrieve files that you have uploaded to iCloud Drive on iOS:

  1. Start the files app. [19659012] Navigate to the folder where you have stored your files or images.
  2. Access your files.

Send files or images on a Mac

On a Mac, the process uses Finder, just like for all iCloud Drive. Send files or images:

  1. Start Finder and click "iCloud Drive" in the sidebar.
  2. Select (or create a) folder to upload your files to.
  3. Drag and drop (or copy) and stick) your berry teeth in the folder and wait until they are uploaded.

You can see the status of the upload under the file that you upload.

Receive files or images on a Mac

Retrieve files from iCloud Drive on a Mac:

  1. Start Finder and click "iCloud Drive" in the sidebar.
  2. Navigate to the folder where you have stored your files or images.
  3. Access your files.

If the files are free, do not finish downloading, double click on it. When they are opened, you can prioritize the download.

AirDrop improvements

With the addition of the U1 chip to the latest iPhones, it is clear that Apple is aware of the problems that plague the findability of devices. Although the applications of the U1 chip go far beyond local file transfer, it is a remarkable step forward for local wireless device-to-device file transfer.

We expect to see the U1 and similar chips in future Apple hardware.

RELATED: What is ultra broadband and why is it in the iPhone 11?




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