November 17th, 2021

How to turn on and use AirDrop

clipboard icon
How to turn on and use AirDrop on Apple devices

AirDrop® is a tool that makes it easy to share files like photos and videos to nearby Apple® devices. As long the other device is within range, there's no need to fiddle with texts or email.

If you're not sure how to get started, don't worry. Here at Asurion, our experts help millions of customers learn more about how to use their tech every day—from increasing your storage capacity to securing your phone from hackers. Here are their tips for how to turn on AirDrop and use it on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod Touch®, and Mac®.

How to turn on AirDrop

Here's how to turn on the feature and customize AirDrop settings to change who's allowed to AirDrop to you on for iOS®, iPadOS®, and MacOS®.

iOS and iPadOS

  • How to turn on AirDrop in Settings: Open Settings > General > AirDrop, then choose Receiving OffContacts Only, or Everyone.
  • How to turn on AirDrop in the Control Center: Open the Control Center and press and hold on the section with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® buttons, tap AirDrop, then choose Receiving OffContacts Only, or Everyone.

MacOS

  • How to turn on AirDrop in the macOS Control Center: Open the Control Center, click the AirDrop icon, turn on the feature, and select Contacts Only or Everyone.
  • How to turn on Airdrop in Finder: Open Finder, select AirDrop on the menu on the left, then click Allow me to be discovered by and choose an option.

How to use AirDrop on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Using AirDrop is simple, but the steps will vary depending on which device model you have. Here’s a rundown of how to use it on some of Apple’s more popular handheld devices:

How to use AirDrop on iPhone 11 or later

  1. Open the file you want to share.
  2. Tap Share or the Share button (a box with an arrow pointing up), then tap the AirDrop button.
  3. If the person you're sending something to via AirDrop has an iPhone 11 or later, point your iPhone towards theirs.
  4. Tap their profile picture of the user you want to share with when it appears at the top of the screen.
  • If you see a red badge with a number in it, there are multiple people you can AirDrop to. Tap the profile picture with the badge to see the list of AirDrop recipients.

How to use AirDrop on iPhone XS or earlier, iPad, or iPod Touch

  1. Open the file you want to share.
  2. Tap Share or the Share button (a box with an arrow pointing up), then tap the AirDrop button.
  3. Tap the profile picture of the user you want to share with when it appears.

Note: If you see a red badge with a number in it, there are multiple people you can AirDrop to. Tap the profile picture with the badge to see the list of AirDrop recipients.

How to receive files on AirDrop on your iPhone or iPad

Receiving files, photos, and videos is easy. Here are two common scenarios:

  • If you successfully AirDrop something to a different device with a different Apple ID, the recipient will see a message asking them to accept or decline.
  • If you try to AirDrop something between two of your own devices with the same Apple ID, you won't get a preview and files will be accepted automatically.

How to AirDrop from an iPhone to a Mac

  1. Open the file you want to send, then tap the Share button on the lower-left corner.
  2. Select AirDrop, then select the device you want to AirDrop to.
  3. Tap Done once your file is sent.

How to use AirDrop on a Mac

Now that you know how to AirDrop from your iPhone and iPad, here's how to use this tool on a Mac.

How to AirDrop from Mac to iPhone

  1. Open the app with the file you want to share.
  2. Click the Share button (a box with an arrow pointing up) in that app's toolbar.
  3. Select AirDrop, then select the device or recipient—or you can open AirDrop in Finder and drag and drop files to a recipient in the open AirDrop window.

Need help?

Having trouble using or setting up AirDrop, or still wondering how exactly it works? An Asurion Expert can help.

Stop by the nearest uBreakiFix by Asurion for a free diagnosis and faster repairs than anyone else.

Tech is expensive. Protect it all.

Protect the devices your family loves and relies on with one simple plan that covers all your favorite home tech. With Asurion Home+, we cover your computers, TVs, tablets, premium headphones, smart devices, and so much more—plus, 24/7 assistance for your whole family with any tech care need—for less than $1/day. Learn more about Asurion Home+ coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind device protection.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

SHARE THIS ARTICLEclipboard icon