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How to Use AirDrop on Your iPhone

17.08.2017 0 kristia erasquin
How to Use AirDrop on Your iPhone

Sure, there are tons of file sharing apps on the App Store, but did you know that the one built-in on your iPhone beats them by a mile in both safety and speed? Airdrop is the file sharing app that comes bundled with your iPhone, and it’s hands-down one of the best file sharing apps out there.

It allows iPhone users to transfer files to each other within a limited distance range. It’s safer and faster than Bluetooth sharing, so you have got to master it! To help you with your AirDropping, we got you the complete guide on how to operate the basic functions of AirDrop on your iPhone, how to maximise its features, and how to ensure the security of your iPhone when using AirDrop.


Before anything else, you need to make sure you have everything you need to make the app work properly. For one, you will need at least an iOS 7 or an iPhone 5 to have AirDrop on your iPhone . Besides that, both the sender and receiver of the file must do the following:

1. Move within 30-feet proximity of each other

Make sure you and your AirDrop partner are close enough to each other.

2. Log in to iCloud

sign in to icloud for iphone airdrop

Go to your iPhone Settings > iCloud then enter your iCloud email and password. The reason for this is Airdrop will be using your iCloud email as your ID.

3. Add each other to your Contacts app if using the Contacts Only mode

register icloud email address in contacts for iphone airdrop

At the very least, the recipient must register the sender’s iCloud email address in the Contacts app to make his or her device discoverable by the sender. Take note that while Apple IDs are commonly used as iCloud email addresses, that's not always the case. If you're the recipient, make sure that you register the sender's iCloud email address itself or your ID will not be discoverable by AirDrop. If done correctly, the recipient’s device name should pop up on the sender’s AirDrop interface.

For an easier way to identify the receiver, both sender and recipient must add each other’s iCloud email address to their Contacts. This way, the contact photo and the name of the recipient will appear on the sender’s AirDrop interface instead of just the device’s name.

4. Turn off your Personal Hotspot

turn off personal hotspot for iphone airdrop

AirDrop and Personal Hotspot just do not work together. Period. Make sure your Personal Hotspot is turned off before using AirDrop.



Now that you’ve fulfilled the requirements for using AirDrop, here are the basic operations you need to prepare the app:

1. Swipe up to see the Control Center

launch control center for iphone airdrop

Swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen and the Control Center will appear. Here, you’ll see all the different functions of iPhone including Bluetooth, Wifi, AirDrop and others.

2. Turn on both Bluetooth and Wifi

tuen on wifi and bluetooth for iphone airdrop

In the Control Center, tap Bluetooth and Wifi on. AirDrop requires both sender and receiver to turn Bluetooth and Wifi on; no need to connect to the internet.

3. Tap AirDrop and choose a mode

iphone airdrop three modes everyone contacts only receiving off

While in the Control Center, tap AirDrop on. Three modes will appear when you tap on AirDrop: Contacts Only, Everyone, and Receiving Off/ Off depending on your iOS version. We’ve discussed how Contacts Only works above, but if you hate tediously setting up your contacts, choose Everyone. When you do, all AirDrop users within the area can see your ID in their interface. Tap Receiving Off if you want to cancel the transfer or turn off AirDrop.



AirDrop makes sending files saved in your iPhone lightning quick. Here are the steps for sending your iPhone files in an instant.

select multiple files and instantly send via iphone airdrop

1. Select the file

Find the file you wish to send, be it photos, mp3s and others, and select it. To send multiple files, tap Select then choose the files.

2. Tap the Share button

You can find the Share button or share button icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen. Tap the button then choose AirDrop as your transfer tool.

3. Pick the recipient

Tap the device name or photo of your recipient and the file will be on its way.



Send files from other apps using these steps:

send files from third-party apps with iphone airdrop

1. Open the third-party app

Go to the app so you can see the location, contacts, links, notes, etc. that you want to share. Prepare the file you want to send.

2. Tap Share button and send

Once you’ve selected the file, tap the Share option. The device name or photo of your recipient should appear on your interface. Select the recipient’s ID to send the file.


For those with iOS 10 or later versions, you can even send apps! Just follow these simple steps:

send apps with iphone airdrop ios 10

1. Go to Home screen

Press the Home button to go to your home screen. Find the icon of the app that you want to share.

2. Hold down the app icon

Press and hold the app’s icon to make the Share option appear.

3. Tap share and choose the recipient

Tap share button icon and select the recipient’s ID. Now your friends can enjoy the same apps that you do!

file sent received preview on iphone airdrop

*If you’re on the receiving end, make sure that you’ve prepared your AirDrop as we’ve mentioned earlier. If you’re all set, the transfer notification with the file’s preview should pop up on your screen then you can choose to Accept or Decline.



Handy as it is, there are times when AirDrop won’t work as intended, but worry not. Try these tips first.

1. Use Everyone mode

If your file transfer keeps failing and you couldn’t find the problem, you can try sending over Everyone mode. This mode allows you to bypass any steps you may have unknowingly missed while setting up Contacts Only mode.

Launch the Control Center > AirDrop. Tap Everyone mode then tap Receiving Off/ Off. Tap AirDrop > Everyone again to turn it on. If the problem is as simple as a missed step during the set-up, then that should do it for you.

2. Check if your Mac is discoverable

open mac airdrop for iphone airdrop transfer

In instances when you cannot transfer a file from your iPhone to your Mac, check if your Mac is set up to be discoverable by your iPhone. Launch the Finder window on your Mac and click on AirDrop. Or, you can also launch the Go menu and click on AirDrop.

Click on Allow me to be discovered by and toggle on either Everyone or Contacts Only depending on your set-up. Do not close the Finder window because it will turn AirDrop off. If the issue is your Mac’s visibility on your iPhone AirDrop, this should solve it.

3. Toggle Bluetooth and Wifi or toggle Airplane Mode

When a or b still doesn’t make your AirDrop work, it’s time to check the other settings. Supposed that you’re Bluetooth and Wifi are already on, launch the Control Center then tap on  Bluetooth and Wifi to turn them off. Tap on them again to turn them on.

airplane mode for iphone airdrop troubleshoot
Alternatively, you can switch on the Airplane Mode in the Control Center to turn off all transfer functions of your iPhone. Then switch the Airplane Mode off to enable Bluetooth, Wifi and AirDrop again.

4. Try hard reset

hard reset to troubleshoot iphone airdrop

You can also try hard resetting for another quick fix when AirDrop doesn’t work. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and Home button until the Apple logo appears. When restarting is done, check your AirDrop settings then proceed to sending your files.

5. Reset networks

reset network settings to troubleshoot iphone airdrop

At times, AirDrop does not work because your iPhone has problems connecting to other devices. When that happens, you will have to reset your connection to all of your networks. Go to Settings > General > Reset then tap on Reset Network Settings. Type your iPhone passcode then tap Reset Network Settings to begin the network reset.

Check your AirDrop settings and make sure that your Bluetooth and Wifi are also on. Then, you’re good to go. But take note that your iPhone will be disconnected to all other networks and devices for Bluetooth transfers and Wifi connection when you reset. After resetting, you will have connect to all of them one-by-one.

6. Update iPhone's software

software update for iphone airdrop troubleshoot

Another issue that can cause your AirDrop to fail is compatibility. Sometimes, one or two tools that you need for your AirDrop cannot function because they are no longer compatible with your software hence, the need for an update. Go to your iPhone’s Settings > General > Software Update > Install Now. Once the update is complete, try out AirDrop. Cross your fingers and hope it works.



Like all other transfer tools, your iPhone AirDrop has Kryptonites of its own. It has a few weak spots that villains exploit to take over your iPhone. One such weakness is a bug which allows any AirDrop user within 30 feet to hack into your iPhone. As soon as they can hack into your phone, they can also browse through your files and install a malware into your iPhone’s operating system.

And if you’ve heard of a recent case of cyberflashing in the New York subway, you will have read that it happened through AirDrop. What you can do to prevent this is simple:

1. Avoid using AirDrop in public

turn off iphone airdrop in public for security

Especially when you’re in a public place, the possibility of anyone hacking into your iPhone increases exponentially. The bug is already in your iPhone, so all you can do is turn AirDrop off when not in use. This way, you’re sure no one can gain access to your phone through AirDrop.

2. Update to iOS 9 or later versions

Apple has developed various fixes to combat this bug, but they‘re only for iOS 9 and later versions. Meaning, if you’re using the basic system requirement for AirDrop which is iOS 7 and 8, you are still vulnerable to this bug. Update your iPhone to iOS 9 as soon as you can.

3. Enable passcode protection for safely keeping AirDrop off

iphone passcode protection for iphone airdrop

There are times when you accidently launch the Control Center and turn AirDrop on leaving your iPhone vulnerable. So to securely keep AirDrop off, always utilise added security features that will keep you from pocket dialing. Enable your iPhone passcode feature by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Turn Passcode On then key-in your passcode.

We wouldn't recommend enabling your Touch ID because it will only make it easier for you to unlock your phone with just your finger resting on the Home button.

4. Restrict your AirDrop settings

The Contacts Only mode is there for a reason and the reason is this: to keep file transfer secure between you and your contact. It’s important to make Contacts Only your default AirDrop mode because you’ll have to remember that files sent to you always pop up with a preview. Unless you are certain of the sender and the file you are receiving, do not use Everyone mode. You wouldn’t want to have a preview of someone’s private parts pop up on your iPhone screen.

If you want to learn more how to maximize your iPhone, read more on the best tricks and hacks for your iPhone!

Tags: iPhone Tips

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