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AirDrop not working? You can fix it quickly with these tips

With AirDrop, you can wirelessly send documents, photos, videos, websites, places on a map, and more to your nearby Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It uses Bluetooth for energy-efficient streaming and discovery, as well as peer-to-peer Wi-Fi for fast transmission. The whole process is not only simple, but incredibly safe…when it works as expected. If you’re having trouble, it can be frustrating.

AirDrop is supposed to make it easier to transfer data from one Apple device to another. It does this by using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to create an encrypted communications channel. But unfortunately AirDrop is far from perfect and doesn’t always work the way it’s intended.

If you’ve ever wondered why AirDrop isn’t working on your iPhone or Mac, we’ll help you out. Below you will find everything you can do to fix AirDrop.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

AirDrop requirements for Apple devices

First, you need to verify that your device is indeed AirDrop compatible. Sometimes Apple’s requirements change, but at the time of writing, you can use AirDrop with:

  • Any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later.
  • Any Mac released after 2011 (except for the 2012 Mac Pro) running OS X Yosemite or later.

If your device is compatible, make sure you know how to use AirDrop properly.

Apple allows AirDrop to transfer files from Mac to Mac between older devices as well. If your Mac is running macOS High Sierra or earlier, you may still be able to use AirDrop with the following Macs:

  • MacBook or MacBook Pro (from late 2008 and later).
  • Mac Pro or iMac (from early 2009 and later, with AirPort Extreme).
  • Mac Mini (from 2010 and later).
  • MacBook Air (from late 2010 and later).

If you can’t find one of these older Macs that uses AirDrop, tap Don’t see who you’re looking for? And select Find My Older Mac. Apple has removed this option in macOS Catalina.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

Troubleshooting tips for AirDrop not working

There are a lot of problems you may encounter when AirDrop does not work. You may find that your devices do not appear on the AirDrop share page, that you cannot send files to the devices that do appear, or that you cannot find certain files after someone else sends them to you.

We can’t tell you exactly why AirDrop won’t work on your Mac or iPhone. But we can show you how to fix any AirDrop issue with the troubleshooting tips below.

1. Update OS

Apple frequently releases new updates for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS designed to fix software bugs. If AirDrop is not working, install the latest updates for your devices as they may fix any bugs related to it.

On an iPhone or iPad, go to الإعدادات -> عام -> تحديث البرنامج. On a Mac, open the Apple menu and go to تفضيلات النظام -> تحديث البرنامج.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

2. Restart both devices

This is a classic troubleshooting tip because it is so effective. Restarting your iPhone, iPad, or Mac might be all you need to get AirDrop back on. It only takes a moment to try it out.

3. Turn off AirDrop restrictions

If AirDrop does not appear on your iOS device at all, you may have blocked it within the content & privacy limits (You can select the type of content that appears on your device. You can block inappropriate content, purchases and downloads, and set privacy settings with “Content and privacy limits”), which you will find under الإعدادات -> مُدة استخدام الجهاز. Take a look at the Allowed Apps section and make sure AirDrop is turned on.

You may need to enter a Screen Time passcode to make changes.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

4. Disable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone

AirDrop and Personal Hotspot both use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, so you can’t use them at the same time. Go to الإعدادات -> نقطة الاتصال الشخصية on your iOS device to turn off this feature, then try to use AirDrop again.

5. Turn off Do Not Disturb

Your device may not receive AirDrop transfer requests because Do Not Disturb is turned on.

Open Control Center and click on the crescent icon AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

to turn it off on your iPhone or iPad. On a Mac, click the Notification Center icon at the top left of the menu bar, then scroll down to reveal the Do Not Disturb toggle to disable it.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

6. Restart Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on both devices

A particularly useful solution if AirDrop is not working is to disable and re-enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Using your iPhone or iPad, open Control Center again and tap on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icon to turn them off and re-enable them.

On a Mac, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and select إيقاف Wi-Fi To turn it off, then enable it again. Go to تفضيلات النظام -> Bluetooth To restart Bluetooth.

7. Change AirDrop receive setting settings

AirDrop gives you three options for receiving: everybody or Contacts only or stop receiving. If your device doesn’t show up in AirDrop, try switching to each of these options to fix it. Just be wary of attempts to receive inappropriate content through AirDrop if you leave the setting on everybody.

On a Mac, open Finder and select AirDrop AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

from the sidebar. Open the drop-down menu where it indicates Let me explore a different option.

On your iPhone or iPad, open Control Center, then tap and hold in the top-right section to reveal the AirDrop icon AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac . Use it to choose different options.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

8. Prepare both devices to receive an AirDrop request

Sometimes setting up your device for incoming AirDrop transfers helps, making it more discoverable on someone else’s device. Unlock your iPhone or iPad and leave it on the home screen to set it up. For Mac, open a new Finder window and select AirDrop from the sidebar.

9. Use AirDrop from a third Apple device

This isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have a spare Apple device, you should try using it to connect using AirDrop. Normally, if your iPhone or Mac appears on this new device, it will suddenly appear on the original device as well.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

10. Send one file instead of multiple files

AirDrop allows you to share many different types of files at the same time. But if AirDrop isn’t working on your iPhone or Mac, you might want to simplify things by sending one file at a time instead.

Received AirDrop files automatically open in the relevant application. For example, photos open in the Photos app. But multiple file types don’t always open in the same app, which may explain why AirDrop transfer fails.

11. Check your downloads folder for missing files

If AirDrop sent a file to your device but you can’t find it, take a look in your Downloads folder. On the iPhone, open the Files app and find the Downloads folder in iCloud Drive. On a Mac, you can usually find the Downloads folder next to the Trash in the Dock.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

12. Turn off VPN for AirDrop to work

Some users discovered that AirDrop was not working until they turned off the VPN on their iPhone or Mac. You may need to do this in the VPN app or in your device settings.

On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings -> General -> VPN to do so. And on a Mac, go to تفضيلات النظام -> الشبكة And select your VPN from the sidebar.

13. Modify the Mac Firewall for more connections

The firewall on your Mac might be set to block all incoming connections, which often includes new AirDrop transfers. You will need to loosen these restrictions from System Preferences if AirDrop is still not working.

Go to تفضيلات النظام -> الأمان والخصوصية -> جدار الحماية. Click the lock button and enter the administrator password to unlock the changes. Then open the Firewall Options window and uncheck the Block all incoming connections option.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

14. Sign in to your Apple ID account again

On an iPhone or iPad, go to الإعدادات -> [اسمك] -> تسجيل الخروج. Choose the data you’d like to keep on your device, then confirm that you want to sign out. After you sign out, go back to Settings to sign in to your Apple ID again.

On a Mac, go to تفضيلات النظام -> Apple ID -> نظرة عامة to log out. Again, choose the data you’d like to keep on your device and confirm that you want to sign out. Once the sign out is complete, sign in from the same page and try to use AirDrop again.

15. Reset network settings on your iPhone

You can reset network settings on your iPhone or iPad to fix all kinds of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth issues, including AirDrop not working. When you reset these settings, your device forgets any Wi-Fi passwords you’ve saved, so you’ll have to reconnect to trusted networks again.

If you still want to go ahead with this step, go to الإعدادات -> عام -> إعادة تعيين And click Reset network settings. Hopefully AirDrop will start working again after the reset.

AirDrop not working?  Fix It Quickly With These Tips - iOS Mac

If AirDrop is still not working

Until Apple’s AirDrop becomes more reliable, you may have better luck using an alternative transfer method instead. Ironically, one of the best AirDrop alternatives is Apple’s own iCloud Drive. Simply upload files to iCloud from one device, then you can download them from the other device.

Managing files with iCloud Drive isn’t as fast as using AirDrop, because you need to upload and download files instead of transferring them directly. But when AirDrop isn’t working, iCloud Drive is the next best option.

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