When it comes to instantly sharing files between iPhones and iPads, AirDrop is the easiest and quickest way to get things moving. Here, we explain how to get started with AirDrop and become a file-sharing pro.

Sharing files across devices is something you can do all manner of ways, whether that’s via email, an online storage provider like Dropbox, or an instant messaging service like WhatsApp. These are all valid options, but if you’re an iPhone or iPad user, there is one way that beats all others for speed, reliability, and above all else, simplicity. Using the built-in AirDrop feature, which Apple introduced with iOS 7, you can share anything from photos and videos to text documents and presentations without ever connecting a cable or entering any information. The whole process of sharing a file takes just a handful of taps.

AirDrop Compatibility and Prerequisites

Apple added AirDrop to iPhones and iPads along with the release of iOS 7. That means to take advantage of it, you need an iPhone 5 (or newer), an iPad 4th generation (or newer), or a Mac running macOS Lion 10.7 (or newer).

If you meet those requirements and still have trouble sending or receiving files with AirDrop, make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both turned on. These are prerequisites for sending and receiving and AirDrop won’t be available if they’re turned off.

If you are sending a file to someone, but they’re not recieving it on their end, make sure that they either have you in their Contacts (if AirDrop is configured to only accept files from contacts) or that AirDrop is configured to accept files from everyone.

To do that on an iPhone or iPad, head to Settings > General > AirDrop and choose one of the options there.

If you are using a Mac, select¬†Go > AirDrop from the menu bar on your Mac and ensure that AirDrop is enabled. On that same page, you can also select who can discover you via AirDrop—contact only or everyone.

How to Share Files with AirDrop on iPhone or iPad

You can share almost any type of file using AirDrop. You can also share items from apps, such as sharing links from Safari. No matter which app you are using, the method of starting the sharing process is the same.

Fire up the app and then open the file you want to share. In our example, we’re sharing a photo from the Photos app, but this could be almost anything.

Tap the “Share” button.

At the top of the Share Sheet that opens, select the person or device with which you want to share the file. Once the recipient accepts the transfer, the process will complete automatically with no further input required.

How to Receive Files with AirDrop on iPhone or iPad

As long as the recipient has AirDrop enabled, little work is required on the part of the person receiving a file. You’ll be offered a preview of the content and the option to accept or decline. If you accept the file, iOS places it in the right app for you.

Note:¬†There is one exception here. If you send a file to yourself with AirDrop, you won’t have the option to accept or decline.

How to Share files with AirDrop on a Mac

You can share files with AirDrop on a Mac in one of two ways: from the Finder or the Share menu. While both get the job done, one might make more sense than the other depending on the situation. Let’s run through both methods.

Sharing Files from the Finder

Select Go > AirDrop from the menu bar on your Mac, If you already have a Finder window open, select “AirDrop” from the Sidebar.

With AirDrop selected, the Finder window will show all nearby AirDrop users. To send a file to one of those users, drag the file onto their icon and iOS will initiate the transfer once they accept it.

Sharing Files from the Share Menu

This option may make the most sense when you have a file open and want to share it with someone immediately. Open the file in question, click the “Share” icon in that app, and then click the “AirDrop” command.

You’ll be shown a list of all nearby AirDrop users. Select the one you want, and once they accept the file, your Mac will transfer the file.

How to Receive Files with AirDrop on iPhone or iPad

Receiving files on the Mac is as easy as can be. Assuming AirDrop is turned on, you’ll be prompted to accept or decline a file whenever someone shares it with you. When you accept the transfer, your Mac will download the file and save it to your Downloads folder.

With everything set up and AirDrop fully functional, you’ll be sending and receiving files as if you’ve been doing it for years!

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