How to Use AirDrop on Your iPhone

Files can be transferred from your iPhone to your Mac or other Apple devices.

How to Use AirDrop on Your iPhone
AirDrop on Your iPhone

What to Know

    • AirDrop can be enabled in the Control Center or the iPhone Settings. Open the file you want to send, then tap the Share icon to select a recipient.

    • Receiving a file? For files sent to you via AirDrop, tap Accept or Decline.

    This article explains how to use AirDrop on your iPhone, including how to enable it, send a file, and accept or decline a file AirDropped to you on iPhones running iOS 14 through iOS 11. An alternative method is provided for older iPhones running at least iOS 7.

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    How to Turn On AirDrop

    You can enable AirDrop in one of two places: the Settings app or the Control Center. Because the service is delivered via Bluetooth, senders and receivers must be within 30 feet of one another, preferably closer.

    Use AirDrop from the Control Center

    • Swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen to access Control Center on the iPhone.
    • To expand the section, press and hold the section that displays the airplane mode, wireless, cellular, and Bluetooth icons.
    • Tap AirDrop to turn it on.
    • On the next screen, choose one of the three options: Receiving Off, Contacts Only, or Everyone.

    • Receiving Off prevents your phone from receiving AirDrop requests, preventing nearby devices from seeing your phone when they try to share files. You can, however, send files to others.
    • Contacts Only limit AirDrop to people in your address book only. This gives you the most privacy but also limits the number of people with whom you can share files.
    • Everyone around you can share files with you via AirDrop.

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    Turn on AirDrop Using iPhone Settings

    AirDrop can also be enabled in the iPhone's Settings app.

    1. Open the Settings app.

    2. Tap General.

    3. Tap AirDrop.

    4. Choose one of three settings: Receiving Off, Contacts Only, or Everyone.

    How to Enable AirDrop on Older Phones

    If you have an older iPhone, you can enable AirDrop as long as it is running iOS 7 or later.

    1. In older versions of iOS, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center.
    2. Select the AirDrop icon. It is typically located in the center, next to the AirPlay Mirroring button.
    3. Select one of the three AirDrop options categories.

    How to Share Files Over AirDrop

    To send a file to someone:

    1. Launch the app containing the content you want to share. Open the Photos app, for example, to share photos or videos saved on your phone.

    2. Open the file you want to share via AirDrop in a new window by tapping it.

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    Note: AirDrop can share multiple files at once if the app supports it. To select multiple images or videos in the Photos app, for example, open an album, tap Select, and then tap each image you want to send.

    3. Select the Share option (it looks like a rectangle with an arrow coming out of it).

    4 .Tap the device or person's name you want to share the file with in the Tap to share with AirDrop section. Icons representing nearby AirDrop-enabled devices that are ready to receive files are displayed.

    Wait for the other user to accept or decline the transfer after you send the content via AirDrop. A Waiting message appears while the file is being transferred, a Sending message appears during the transfer, and a Sent message appears once the file has been accepted and delivered. If the other user declines your AirDrop request, you'll see a red Declined message instead.

    Tip: If AirDrop does not work, it is possible that it is not enabled in Settings or the Control Center, or that sharing is set to Contacts Only and the person attempting to send you a file is not in your address book. If both users have checked those settings and AirDrop is still not working, try the following troubleshooting steps.

    How to Accept or Decline an AirDrop Transfer

    When someone sends you data via AirDrop, a window with a preview of the content appears on your phone's screen. You have two choices: accept or reject.

    When you tap Accept, the file is saved to your device and opened in the corresponding app. Accepting an image transfer via AirDrop, for example, saves the photos to your phone and opens them in the Photos app, URLs open in the Safari browser, and so on.

    The transfer is cancelled if you tap Decline, and the other user is notified that you declined the request.

    Note: When you share a file with a device that is logged in with the same Apple ID as you, that device does not see the Accept or Decline message. The transfer is accepted automatically because both devices are assumed to be yours.

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    Which Apps Support AirDrop?

    Many of the iOS preinstalled apps, such as Photos, Notes, Safari, Contacts, and Maps, support AirDrop. You can send photos, videos, websites, address book entries, text files, and other files to others.

    AirDrop is supported by some third-party apps. However, it is up to developers to include AirDrop support in their apps, so not every app available on the App Store supports AirDrop.

    AirDrop Requirements

    The following are the requirements for sharing data between a Mac and an Apple mobile device:

    • iOS 7 or later on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
    • Except for the mid-2012 Mac Pro, which isn't compatible, with a Mac from 2012 with OS X Yosemite (10.0) or higher.
    • Another iOS or Mac user who has an AirDrop-enabled device.
    • Both the sender and recipient devices had Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on.
    • When sharing files between two Mac computers, both must be older than 2012 and running OS X Yosemite or later.