How to use AirDrop to share Photos, Videos and other files between your iPhone, iPad and Mac

BY Jason

Published 18 Oct 2014

AirDrop is a feature in iOS and OS X that lets you share files between devices locally. AirDrop was incompatible across Mac and iOS earlier, but with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, it works across iOS and Mac, so you’ll be able to transfer files from your iPhone to your Mac, and vice versa.


To transfer files between two Mac computers or a Mac computer and an iOS device, you need one of the Mac models listed below and OS X Lion or later.

  • 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 card, or Mid 2010)

*The MacBook Pro (17-Inch Late 2008) and the white MacBook (Late 2008) do not support AirDrop.

You also need the iOS device running iOS 7 or later to transfer files between two iOS devices or an iOS device and a Mac computer.


To Send Files

  • Open Finder, and navigate to Go > AirDrop from the menu bar, or select AirDrop from the Finder window sidebar.
  • You’ll see all your AirDrop compatible devices here. Drag and drop the file(s) you want to share on the device avatar.
  • Click on Send.

airdrop yosemite

Alternatively, if you have a file open in an app that has the Share icon, you can just click on it, and select AirDrop. You’ll see a share sheet, as shown below, with a list of nearby devices. Clicking on any of them will initiate the transfer.

airdrop app transfer

To Receive Files

If you’re receiving a file from a device belonging to the same iCloud account as yours, you won’t have to do anything. The file automatically gets added to your Downloads folder.

If you’re receiving a file from a device that doesn’t belong to your iCloud account, then you’ll get a popover asking if you want to Save, Save and Open or Decline the transfer. Clicking on Save or Save and Open will save the file in your Downloads folder.

airdrop recieve file


Sending a file from your iOS device to Mac isn’t any different from sharing a file via AirDrop between iOS devices. You’ll just notice that in addition to all your iOS devices, you’ll also see your Mac in the nearby devices list:

  • You can share files using AirDrop via the share panel. So you will be able to share things via AirDrop from any app that has the share panel. Out of the box, you will be able to share photos, videos, contacts etc.
  • If there are any iOS devices with AirDrop enabled, they will automatically show up in the Share panel. As you can see in the screenshot below, you will see your contact pictures. You need to tap on the Contacts to send whatever want to share.


  • When you receive an AirDrop, you will get an alert with a preview of the photo or video, and with options to Accept or Decline it. If for example, you accept a photo via AirDrop, it will automatically launch the Photos app after the transfer is complete. It shows the progress with a circular animation during the transfer process.


  • AirDrop is enabled by default, however you can turn it off by tapping on the AirDrop option in Control Center. You also have the option to make yourself discoverable to everyone or people in your contacts.


Note that for AirDrop to work, you need both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled. You however don’t need to be connected to the same network. Your devices need to be in proximity, within a range of 30 feet (9 meters),