share files with airdrop

Transferring media from one device to another can be a real bitch. True, you could use a USB stick or a SD card, but transfers can be slow. So is cloud storage, if you are moving a really big video file (for example). Email imposes a strict limit of around 25MB, which is useless for big files. So if you are an iOS and Mac person, you should share files with Airdrop instead.

Non-Mac users can use file transfer services such as WeTransfer or the newly-launched Mozilla encrypted service Send. But if you have iOS and Mac devices, and the file transfer will take place on your wifi network, then Airdrop is definitely the only way to do it. It’s a wonderful fast feature and I am always using it. Not many people know about it or use it though.

Share Files With Airdrop

Here are the steps required to use Airdrop. As I said, the whole thing needs to take place on the same wifi network. This is not something to send someone a file from one end of the world to the other. It is something to pass to another device in the same house or apartment. Maybe your friend is sitting next to you, and wants a video from your phone onto their phone or Mac? Airdrop will have it on their device in no time.

Switch On Bluetooth On Both Devices

Airdrop works along the lines of Bluetooth. So on both the receiving device and the sending device, switch on the Bluetooth feature. This will mean taking your iOS device off the battery’s Low Power Mode if it is on.

On iOS, the Bluetooth setting can be found one of three ways. Either in the settings :

Or go to your main screen, swipe up, and you’ll find the wifi toggle in the Control Center.

Or ask Siri.

On a Mac, you can also ask Siri. Alternatively, look at the top right hand corner of the screen where the clock is. You should see a very faint Bluetooth icon. Click on that and choose “Turn Bluetooth On“. That icon will now brighten up.

If for any reason the Bluetooth icon is NOT there, go to System Preferences–>Bluetooth, and choose “Show Bluetooth In Menu Bar“.

While you’re there, you can also click the “Turn Bluetooth On” button.

Last of all, you can go to the Airdrop tab in Finder, and click the “Turn On Bluetooth” button.

Go To The Media File You Want To Share & Access The Share Menu

Turning on Bluetooth also turns on the Airdrop feature. So now you need to go to the media file you want to transfer to the other device. Tap the Share menu button and this screen will appear.

You’ll see the Airdrop option below the media you want to transfer. As yet, it has not detected the other device, but just give it a moment.

Look In The Airdrop Section & Wait For The Other Device To Show Up

In a few moments, it will find the other device. In this example, I am transferring a photo of my dog to my MacBook Air, but as I said, you can do this with videos too (which are really fast).

To initiate the file transfer, just tap on the icon in the “Tap to share with Airdrop” menu. It will then tell you that it is “waiting“.

See The File Appear At The Other End – Magic!

Waiting for what? It’s waiting for the other device to approve the transfer of the file. So this is what pops up on the Mac in the Airdrop section.

Obviously you accept in this case, so click “accept” and it will download to your default downloads folder. Or click “Open In Photos” if you are a user of that app.

And there it is.

Is Airdrop Not Working?

If one or both of the devices is not showing up in Airdrop, check the following :

  1. In Airdrop, you can be either seen by “Everyone” or by your contacts only. If the other person is not in your contacts with that device’s phone number or email, then change your setting temporarily to “Everyone“.
  2. Make sure you have Bluetooth and wifi on. Also make sure you are in range of one another. It doesn’t help if the other person is next door.
  3. If you have a Personal Hotspot turned on, switch it off.


Airdrop is a wonderful feature on iOS and Mac devices which delivers an unbelievably fast transfer of files between devices. In the future, don’t muck about with removable drives or cloud storage. Use Airdrop. It’s on your devices already, so why not take advantage of it?