Use AirDrop with Mac, iPhone and iPad

Apple's contactless transmission technology "AirDrop" is useful for exchanging files and data between Mac, iPhone, iPad and Co. This fast data exchange option is possible both between the same devices and across platforms between macOS, iOS and iPadOS. Photos, videos, documents, etc. do not have to be sent as email attachments or via WhatsApp when the recipient device is nearby - only Bluetooth and WLAN are required to activate and use AirDrop. In this guide I have summarized a few details for use on Apple computers, smartphones and tablets.

Use AirDrop on Mac

Um AirDrop on the Mac To activate and use it, you have to switch on WLAN and Bluetooth first. You will also be told if you click the menu item in the Finder Go to, via the key combination Shift+cmd+R (⇧ + ⌘ + R) or call up the AirDrop overview via the menu bar on the left of the Finder. If both or one of the wireless connections is deactivated, you will see the corresponding notice.

Activate Apple AirDrop on the Mac, among other things, via the Finder. But all you have to do is turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth;)

Activate Apple AirDrop on the Mac, among other things, via the Finder. But all you have to do is turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth;)

If everything is switched on, you can use AirDrop on the Apple Mac. As soon as one of your other Apple devices, the device of a contact or another person nearby is displayed in the Finder, you can send files there. To do this, simply drag them onto the person's photo. But it is also possible to send data via the “Share” feature with the selection of the wireless connection option from Apple. The people and devices are only shown to you if they have set this up on themselves.

Known devices, contacts and other shared devices are displayed in the Finder.

Known devices, contacts and other shared devices are displayed in the Finder.

If you want to control your own AirDrop visibility, you can do this in the Finder window described and shown above. There you will find (kept quite small) the drop-down menu “I am visible to:…” - instead of the three dots it says “Everyone”, “Only contacts” or “Nobody”. You can change this by clicking on the arrow next to the text.

The menu for sharing your own device for AirDrop activities is a bit small ...

The menu for sharing your own device for AirDrop activities is a bit small ...

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Use AirDrop on the iPhone / iPad

In older iOS versions you can find the AirDrop symbol directly in the control center of the operating system. From iOS 12 and under iPadOS you first have to call up the control center (depending on the model, swipe from the upper or lower edge of the screen to the middle) and then set a 3D or force touch on the "network settings card", i.e. the tile with flight mode, mobile data, WLAN and Bluetooth. Then the larger overview including AirDrop opens.

Use Apple AirDrop on the iPhone via the control center; here too, basically only Bluetooth and WLAN have to be on.

Use Apple AirDrop on the iPhone via the control center; here too, basically only Bluetooth and WLAN have to be on.

Of course, the prerequisite for using AirDrop on the mobile Apple device is that you have activated both WLAN and Bluetooth. If you now want to set your visibility, tap or press the AirDrop symbol in the control center that is called up as described above. Now you get the options again: "Receive off", "Only for contacts" and "For everyone". You can also find the same under Settings -> General -> AirDrop ;)

You can set up who you are visible to in two different ways.

You can set up who you are visible to in two different ways.

You can use AirDrop on the iPad and iPhone to send files from the various apps or the "Files" browser - very easily with the share function. Wherever iMessage, e-mail, WhatsApp, Twitter and Co. are suggested, you will also get AirDrop or a direct contact in your area suggested. With the first display, you simply tap on it and then select the target device.

Summary: Activate AirDrop

Regardless of whether it is a Mac, iPhone or iPad, it basically only takes these few steps to activate the send feature:

  1. Turn on WiFi and Bluetooth
  2. Specify settings for sending / receiving
  3. Send files by "sharing" or drag-and-drop

Summary: send / receive files with AirDrop

Here, too, generalized statements can be used to briefly summarize the process. Depending on the iOS, iPadOS and macOS version, details may change:

  1. Allow sending and ask recipient to make their own device visible
  2. Select the share function on the iPhone or iPad or call up the file on the Mac
  3. Select "AirDrop" as the share option or drag and drop the file onto the contact

Further details and pictures: Apple Support Document HT204144

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