How to Easily Transfer Large Files, Photos, and More Between iPhone and Mac Using AirDrop

AirDrop Compatibility: Which Apple Devices Work with AirDrop?
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Just the other day I was attempting to send myself a whopping 51.7 MB worth of digital content via email. My objective, you might be wondering, was to transfer that content from my Mac to my new iPhone without connecting the devices via USB.

And while doing what I attempted to do is possible, conceptually speaking, as I sat there watching the Mail send indicator slowly but surely filled at the speed that grass grows, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was another, perhaps even simpler way to do this? And then it suddenly dawned on me. Back in 2011, Apple introduced such a feature to the iOS and OS X platforms, known as AirDrop.

AirDrop is a fantastically simple way to transfer files, photos, and other documents between your iOS and OS X devices (running iOS 7 and OS X 10.7 or later), without resorting to email, tethering, or any other 3rd party file transfer system. Best of all, though: AirDrop just works — right out of the box. There’s no advanced setup process, and no subscription necessary — you can just send yourself, or your contacts, family, or friends, essentially whatever you want, assuming both your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth. And there follow these two simple steps to make it happen:


On the respective iOS and OS X devices that you’d like to share files between, start by ensuring that the AirDrop window is open and active across the board. On Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later, you can do this by simply opening the Finder folder from your desktop/dock > and then click on the AirDrop option located in the side bar.

Alternatively, you can select Go > AirDrop from the top menu bar, or press on the keyboard shortcut (Command + Shift + R).

(Note that your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections must be active at this time, or the AirDrop feature will not automatically initiate).


You can choose who you want to be discoverable to when AirDrop sharing, such as everyone, no one, or only your known contacts.

From Mac: simply select the file you want to share, and then drag and drop it on the receiving iOS/OS X device as shown. (Whether this device is your own, or someone else’s, if you’re both close enough to be discoverable, any potential receivers will show up as such in the AirDrop screen as shown.)

From iOS: select the file or photo you want to share, and then select the Share button (that little box with the arrow protruding out from the top). From the share menu, you can select additional photos to send by pressing on each one in the browse bar. Select AirDrop, and then wait for your potential receivers to show up in the browse bar. Tap once on your desired recipient, wait for the circle around their icon to fill, and then go to Finder > Downloads from your Mac desktop.

All shared files, images, or what have you, will be saved to the Downloads folder on your Mac, from which they can be drag and dropped anywhere else.

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