What is AirDrop?

Airdrop on iOS

Gone are those times when iPhone users could not send photos, videos or files to other devices. What is AirDrop? A native function of iOS and macOS with which we can send content very diverse to other devices, be it from iOS to iOS, from iOS to Mac or from Mac to Mac. Any combination is possible. We explain absolutely all the details of how AirDrop works, from which devices are compatible, to how to configure the restrictions to avoid undesirable connections. Do you want to be a master with AirDrop? Inside you have everything you need.

How AirDrop works

AirDrop makes use of Bluetooth and WiFi to detect devices and transfer files, therefore it is necessary to have both connections active. Bluetooth is used to detect devices and establish connection, while file transfer is done via WiFi connection, much faster and with greater bandwidth. But do not worry because it is not necessary to be connected to a WiFi network, the connection is made directly between the two devices, without there being networks in between.

This mode of operation allows that even if you have AirDrop activated the battery consumption is very low, since the search for devices is carried out through low consumption Bluetooth, a connection that has improved a lot in recent years and that hardly costs extra battery.

What devices are supported

Since Bluetooth and WiFi are used to transfer files, the demands should not be high at first, since all iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac computers have these types of connections. But there are some system and hardware requirements that leave out some older devices..

For iOS devices it is necessary:

  • iOS 7 or later
  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad 4 or later
  • iPad Mini 1st generation or later
  • iPod Toch 5th Generation and later

For Mac computers there are different requirements if you are sending to another Mac or an iOS deviceas Macs support different versions of AirDrop, while iOS devices require a more modern version. If you are going to send from Mac to Mac you need:

  • MacBook Pro Late 2008 or later (except MacBook Pro 17 ″ Late 2008)
  • MacBook Air Late 2010 or later
  • MacBook Late 2008 or later (except white MacBook Late 2008)
  • iMac Early 2009 or later
  • Mac Mini Mid 2010 or later
  • Mac Pro Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme or Mid 2010 card

If you want to send from an iOS device to a Mac, or vice versa, you first need an AirDrop-compatible iOS device, already listed above, and a Mac from the following:

  • Any computer from 2012 or later, with OS X Yosemite or laterExcept for the Mac Pro Mid 2012.

Sending files by Airdrop

How to set up AirDrop on iOS

For AirDrop to work it is only necessary that Bluetooth and WiFi are activated. Unfold the control center and make sure the AirDrop button is blue, indicating that reception is on. The only configuration you have to do is to indicate who you allow to send files to: to anyone, only those you have among your contacts, or to anyone (which will disable AirDrop). Note that if Do Not Disturb mode is on, AirDrop will automatically turn off.

Privacy is not a problem, because any submission of a file from another person, be it a contact or an unknown person, will require your acceptance. unlocking the device. Therefore, setting it open to everyone or only to your contacts will only mean that strangers will not even be able to bother you with the notification that they want to send you a file. Something important is that if you choose the only contacts option, you must make sure that in your agenda you have included the phone number and / or email associated with the iCloud account of the person who wants to send you the file.

Airdrop on Mac

How to set up AirDrop on macOS

For macOS, the configuration is not complicated either and it is based the same as in iOS on deciding who can send you files. AirDrop is integrated into Finder, where it has its own section in the left column. Within this section we will see the same options as in iOS (Nobody, Contacts only and Everyone), and we will see the nearby devices to which we can send devices, or from whom we can receive them.

How to prepare your device to receive a file

We have everything perfectly configured, we make sure that our WiFi and Bluetooth connection is activated, our device is compatible, and we want them to send us a file. Although AirDrop reception is supposedly "Automatic", anyone who opens their share menu via AirDrop should see your device As long as your privacy options are appropriate, there are times when the recipient we want does not appear.

Sending files by Airdrop

If this happens, all we have to ask the receiver of the file is to display the Control Center in iOS, sliding from the bottom up on the screen, or if you are with macOS to open Finder and select the "AirDrop" section in the column on the left. Once this is done we should see them on the share screen. If we still do not see it, you should review the privacy options in case you have limited file sending or even AirDrop disabled.

How to send files using AirDrop

Once we have verified that our devices are compatible with AirDrop, that we have the WiFi and Bluetooth connections activated and that both devices (sender and receiver) are close enough to be detected via Bluetooth, we can start transferring a file. What kind of files can be shared? Where can it be shared from? The answer is simple: any file compatible with this delivery system and from any application that supports the sharing option. It does not have to be a native application, third-party applications can perfectly send files by AirDrop.

These are just a few examples of what we can share: photos and videos, Apple Music or Spotify lists, news from a newspaper from its iOS application, web pages from Safari, documents of all kinds from iCloud Drive ... There is only one limitation: no copyrighted content. You can share the link to an Apple Music song, but not the song file, and the same happens with any movie you have on your iPhone, unless you have it in a storage application such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Send photo by Airdrop

Sending a file is very easy. We just have to select the file in question, look in the application for the square icon with the arrow (1) and press it and then the typical iOS «Share» menu will appear. In the upper part, the receivers that have AirDrop active should appear (if they do not appear, look at the previous section where we indicated how to make them appear), select the receiver (2) and wait for the file to be sent. If it is a device with our same iCloud account, the sending will be automatic, if it is another account, the receiver must confirm receipt, for which you will also have to unlock the device. After a few seconds the file will have been transferred and it will be confirmed to us on our device (3).

On Mac the procedure is very similar, with the obvious changes due to the different interface it has. AirDrop is within the Share options of those compatible applications, like Safari. As in iOS we look for the square icon with the arrow and select AirDrop.

The potential recipients of the files will appear in the AirDrop window., and as we did before, we only have to choose who it is intended for and wait a few seconds for the file to be sent.

In the event that there is no application from which to use that option, because it is a file, we have several options to use AirDrop. The first is to open a Finder window and select "AirDrop" in the left column.. We will see the receivers that are active and we will be able to drag any element to that window so that they are sent to them.

As well We can choose the file from Finder, and with right click choose the option «Share> AirDrop» and the window to choose the receiver will appear, as in the first example.

A fast and very practical system

Surely more than once you have shared photos or videos to a person who was right next to you using a messaging application such as WhatsApp or email. In addition to data consumption, you should know that these files are compressed and therefore lose quality, and depending on the coverage and size it can even take a long time to send. AirDrop is a system that You can use it with any iPhone, iPad or Mac user and that in a very simple and fast way, without having to resort to an internet connection and without loss of quality, allows you to share those files with someone else.


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