What is AirDrop and how to get the most out of it

What is AirDrop?

If you have just released a new iPhone or iPad, you have probably asked yourself what is air drop. It is also likely that you have just discovered this functionality on your iPhone, iPad or Mac. Be that as it may, in this article we are going to answer all the questions you have about this proprietary Apple technology.

What is AirDrop?

AirDrop is an Apple proprietary communication protocol that allows all devices managed by iOS, iPadOS and macOS share any type of file with each other without the need to use an internet connection as long as you are nearby.

The AirDrop protocol uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection devices, so both need to be turned on in order to share content via AirDrop.

The Cupertino-based company announced this technology in 2011, however, is not limited to devices that Apple has released since that date, since it is also available on older devices, such as MacBooks from 2008 onwards.

Apple allows us to configure AirDrop to limit the number of people around us who can send us files: everyone, only contacts or disabled.

AirDrop Compatible Devices

MacBook Pro

AirDrop is available in iOS 7 on the following devices, but only for share content with other iOS devices:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad 4th generation and later
  • iPad Pro 1st generation and later
  • iPad Mini 1st generation and later
  • iPod Touch 5th generation and later

AirDrop protocol is available for share files between Macs Starting with OS X 7.0 Lion and computers:

  • Mac Mini from mid 2010 and later
  • Mac Pro from early 2009 with the AirPort Extreme card and models from mid 2010 and later.
  • All MacBook Pro models after 2008 except the 17-inch MacBook Pro.
  • MacBook Air after 2010 and later.
  • MacBooks released after 2008 or newer excluding white MacBook
  • iMac from early 2009 and later

Si tu iPhone is managed by iOS 8 or later and your Mac is managed by OS X 10.0 Yosemite or later, you can share content between an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and vice versa between the following devices:

  • iPhone: iPhone 5 and later
  • iPad: iPad 4th generation and later
  • iPad Pro: iPad Pro 1st generation and later
  • iPad Mini: iPad Mini 1st generation and later
  • iPod Touch: iPod Touch 5th generation and later
  • MacBook Air mid 2012 and newer
  • MacBook Pro from mid 2012 and later
  • iMacs from mid 2012 and later
  • Mac Mini from mid 2012 and later
  • Mac Pro from mid 2013 and later

Where files shared via AirDrop are stored

Depending on the format of the files that we receive on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, these will be stored in one application or another:

  • Photographs and videos: If we receive both photos and videos recorded with an iPhone, they will be automatically stored in the Photos application.
  • Videos: If it is videos in a format not compatible with iOS, iOS will not recognize the format and will ask us with which application we want to open it.
  • Archives: When iOS is not able to associate the file extension to a native application, it will show us a list of applications in which to store the file to open it later.
  • web links: If we share a web link, iOS will automatically open the link with the default browser that we have installed on our device.

If we share a file from an iPhone to a Mac or between Macs, the computer will take one action or another depending on the type of shared file.

  • Archives. Regardless of what type of file it is, macOS will store the file directly in the Downloads folder. It doesn't matter if they are photographs, videos, text documents...
  • web links. When it comes to web links, macOS will automatically open the link in your computer's default browser.

What kind of files can be sent with AirDrop

AirDrop allows us share any file format between devices managed by iOS, iPadOS and macOS. It does not matter if the destination computer does not have a compatible application to open it.

Apple claims that there is no maximum limit of space of a file to send it via AirDrop. However, if the size is too large, it is more than likely that the iOS device will go to sleep and the screen will turn off.

If this happens, the transfer will be interrupted. Using AirDrop to send large video files is not recommended. In these cases, it is better to use one of the options that we show you in another article in which we taught transfer photos from iphone to mac.

How to set up AirDrop on iPhone

Configure AirDrop

To configure which people can send us files through the AirDrop protocol on the iPhone, we must follow the steps that I detail below:

  • We access the control panel by sliding your finger from the top right of the screen.
  • We press and hold down the Wi-Fi icon.
  • Then press and hold the AirDrop.
  • Finally, We select the mode that best suits our needs.

How to set up AirDrop on Mac

To configure which people can send us files through the AirDrop protocol on Mac, we must follow the steps that I detail below:

Set up AirDrop on macOS

The first thing to do is show the AirDrop icon in the top menu bar. To do so, we must perform the steps that I show you below:

  • We access System preferences.
  • Within System Preferences, click on Dock and menu bar.
  • Next, in the left column, click on AirDrop.
  • In the right column, check the box Show in menu bar.

To activate AirDrop and limit which users can send us files, click on the icon in the menu bar and:

  • We uncheck the switch to disable AirDrop.
  • select Only contacts o All.

Alternatives to AirDrop for Windows

Alternatives to AirDrop

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the AirDrop protocol it is exclusive to apple, so it is not available on any other platform.

One of the best alternatives to AirDrop for Windows and that, in addition, is also available for Android, it is AirDroid, a completely free application that works through a web browser and with an application for Windows.

AirDroid - File Transfer & Share (AppStore Link)
AirDroid - File Transfer & ShareFree

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