How to Use AirDrop on iPhone

How to Use AirDrop on iPhone

AirDrop makes it convenient to transfer files between different Apple devices wirelessly. You can share and receive files such as photos, documents, and videos. AirDrop uses both Bluetooth and WiFi to connect one Apple device to another.

Before using AirDrop:

  • Both devices need to be within 30 feet (around 9 meters) of each other
  • Bluetooth and WiFi need to be turned on on both devices before you transfer or receive a file
  • You must turn on AirDrop on both devices and set it to Everyone if you don’t have the person’s Apple ID or phone number

Turning on AirDrop on Your iPhone

From the Control Center

  1. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone to open the “Control Center.”

    Control Center of the iPhone
    Open Control Center.

  2. Tap and hold any of the four “Connectivity” buttons in the top-left corner to expand it.

    Connectivity Features in the Control Center
    Tap and hold any of the Connectivity icons.

  3. Tap and hold AirDrop to see more options in a new window.

    AirDrop in the Control Center
    Tap and hold AirDrop.

  4. If you only want to share files with your contacts, tap Contacts Only. For this to work, the person you’re sending to or receiving from needs to have your Apple ID’s email address or phone number added in their device, and vice versa.

    Allowing AirDrop for Contacts Only Through Control Center on the iPhone
    Tap Contacts Only.

  5. If you want to share and receive files from anyone with an Apple device, tap Everyone. Note: Selecting “Everyone” means anyone with an Apple device in your vicinity can AirDrop you anything. You’ll be given the option to decline an airdrop, though.

    Allowing AirDrop for Everyone Through Control Center on the iPhone
    Tap Everyone.

From Settings

  1. You can also change AirDrop settings in the “Settings” app. Tap Settings.

    Settings App on the iPhone
    Tap Settings.

  2. Scroll down and tap General.

    General Settings in the Settings App
    Tap General.

  3. Tap AirDrop.

    General Settings Where AirDrop is Located
    Tap AirDrop.

  4. Here, you’ll see the same options as in the Control Center.

    Enabling AirDrop Through Settings on the iPhone
    AirDrop options in Settings.

Sending Files Using AirDrop

For this example, we will be AirDropping a photo.

  1. Open a photo you want to share and tap the Share icon in the bottom left.

    Sharing a Photo Through AirDrop on the iPhone
    Tap the Share icon.

  2. Any device that you regularly AirDrop to will show up with other recent contacts.

    Recent AirDrop Contacts on the iPhone
    You’ll see recent AirDrop contacts here.

  3. Tap AirDrop.

    Sharing Methods Where the AirDrop Feature is Located
    Tap AirDrop.

  4. A list of all Apple devices with AirDrop turned on will show here.

    List of Devices Users Can AirDrop
    You’ll see the devices you can AirDrop to here.

  5. Tap the device you want to AirDrop to, and once it’s transferred the photo, you’ll see the text “Sent” written underneath. On a MacBook, the default location of AirDropped files is the Downloads folder. Where on iPhone, the file can be seen in its related app. So, for example, photos received will appear in the Photos app.

    AirDropping a Photo to an Apple Device
    Tap the device you want to AirDrop to.

Receiving AirDropped Files

When you receive a file on your iPhone from one of your own Apple devices, it will automatically open on your iPhone when you receive it.

When you receive a file from someone else’s Apple device, you’ll first be asked to accept or decline the file. When you tap, Accept, the file will open on your device.

Accepting or Declining AirDrop Files on iPhone
Tap Accept to receive the AirDropped photo. (Source:

Phoebe is an HR assistant in her day job, but is also a web blogger that loves writing guides and sharing her experiences. When she is not out with her friends, she enjoys traveling or binge-watching Netflix. She graduated with a BA in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Utah, and is a chief editor at TechObservatory.

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