Everything You Need To Know On How To AirDrop From Mac To iPhone

coffee and mac on the table

AirDrop is one of the coolest, and most underused, features on Mac and iPhone.

With AirDrop, you can wirelessly send almost anything from your Mac or iPhone to another device with AirDrop when devices are in proximity to each other. Photos are an obvious choice for sharing, but with AirDrop you can also share a website, a playlist and notes you’ve taken. You can even share contacts, voice memos, or a map and directions from Apple Maps through AirDrop on your Mac or iPhone.

Sure, for many of these items you could send in a text message or an email, but AirDrop is even easier and faster. AirDrop isn’t hard to use, but many aren’t aware of how easy it is to set up the connection and start sharing.

We’re going to change that by taking a close look at how to AirDrop from Mac to iPhone.  

How Does AirDrop From Mac To iPhone Work?

AirDrop sets-up a peer-to-peer, or point-to-point, WiFi connection using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to find, negotiate the connections and broadcast data and information.

There are many advantages to using AirDrop rather than text or email. First off, you can share larger data file sizes than you can in text messages – this means longer videos, higher resolution photos and so much more. Almost any file or folder (with multiple images or files) can be shared between devices with AirDrop, not just an individual photo or the latest meme.

iphone screen

AirDrop is also one of the most secure and power efficient methods for sharing information. Each device in the peer-to-peer WiFi network creates a firewall around the AirDrop connection, and the sent files are encrypted. This encryption and firewall makes AirDrop safer and more secure than sending information over email.

Using WiFi to establish the connection between devices is much faster than other device-to-device connections. For example, Android devices use Near Field Communications (NFC) to transfer data between devices. Like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), the Android devices uses an NFC chip to find and establish a wireless connection with other NFC chips nearby.

Credit cards and apps like Google Pay and Samsung Pay already use NFC technology. It works well for quick and secure data transfers, but for larger transfers with more data the NFC connection is slow. Using WiFi technology establishes a faster connection more suitable for larger files.

Let’s take a closer look at how to AirDrop from Mac to iPhone

Step-by-Step Guide To How To AirDrop From Mac To iPhone

To get started, you need to make sure both devices in the point-to-point network can use AirDrop. On Mac, select Go in the Finder to see if AirDrop is installed on the computer. For an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad, look for AirDrop in the Control Center to see if it is installed.

Next, there are a few simple steps to start sending files and data over AirDrop.

1. Turn On AirDrop On Each Device

Mac computers and iOS devices have a slightly different protocol for turning on and setting up AirDrop, but both are very easy.

  • On Mac computers: Click Go, then select AirDrop from the menu bar in your Finder. This will open the AirDrop window. Make sure your WiFi and Bluetooth are on. AirDrop is automatically turned on with Bluetooth and WiFi are on. If you’d like to receive files from everyone, instead of only the people in your Contacts app, click on the Allow me to be discovered by button at the bottom of the AirDrop window.
  • On iOS devices: Open the Control Center on the device. Click AirDrop. Select whether to receive items from everyone or to accept data from only those in your Contacts App.

Remember, both devices in the AirDrop point-to-point network must have AirDrop installed and turned on for the connection to work and the device to be discovered by AirDrop.

2. How To Send Files Or Items Through AirDrop From Mac To iPhone

The process for sending data, files and items is similar between Mac computers and iOS devices.

Start by selecting Go and then AirDrop from the menu bar in your Finder. You can also click on the AirDrop icon in the sidebar of the Finder window.

This should open an AirDrop window that shows nearby AirDrop users who are available to received items over AirDrop. Drag the items to be sent to the recipient’s icon in the AirDrop window. Click Send to deliver the items.

3. How To Use The Share Feature To AirDrop From Mac To iPhone

Some apps have a Share feature that makes it even easier to use AirDrop.

When in an app, click the Share icon, if available, to start the AirDrop. You can also Control-click the file or item to be sent in the Finder, and then click Share from the short menu that opens.

The Share menu will list the sharing options available for the item. Click on AirDrop. This will open an AirDrop sheet that shows to available recipients ready to receive the delivery. Click on the recipient to send the item. Click Done to send the item.

4. How To Receive Files With AirDrop From Mac To iPhone

AirDrop gives you a little extra protection from unwarranted and unwelcome deliveries over AirDrop.

If you’re signed into the iCloud account of the person sending the file, the data will be automatically accepted by your device. If you’re not signed into the iCloud account, you’re asked to accept the item before it is delivered to your device.

If you’re using an iOS device, the file will appear in the appropriate app. Look for websites in the Safari app and photos in the Photos app. If you’re using a Mac computer, look for the files and items in the Downloads folder.

Insider Tips For How To AirDrop From Mac To iPhone

How to airdrop from mac to iphone

As you can see, AirDrop is extremely easy to use. The devices and software handle the connection and security. All you need to do is make sure AirDrop is turned on and select the files to be transferred.

Let’s take a look at a few other tips for making the most out of your AirDrop connections and troubleshooting any potential problems you might have.

  • Making the connection: If you don’t see the avatar or icon for a recipient in the AirDrop window, there are a few steps you can take. First, make sure both devices, yours and the recipients, have AirDrop turned on. Next, make sure you are within 30 feet of each other. Avoid obstacles between the devices and get a little closer if you need to.
  • Check the device: Not every device includes AirDrop. If you’re using a Mac, it needs to be a 2012 model or later, and it should have OS X Yosemite or a later version. For an iOS device, you’ll need iOS 7 or later.
  • Check the settings: Make sure the Personal Hotspot has been turned off in the Cellular Settings. Personal Hotspot uses the Bluetooth and WiFi connections. If you’re still having trouble, turn Bluetooth and WiFi off for a few seconds, and then turn them back on to reset your connections.
  • Check the Privacy and Security settings: If the Mac computer has the Security & Privacy set to Block all incoming connections the computer won’t be able to receive files and items through AirDrop. Also check to see if the receiving device is set to receive files from only contacts. If it is, then both devices must be signed into iCloud. The email address and phone number for the Apple ID of the sending device must be in the receiving devices Contact app.

As with anything Apple, AirDrop was built with the “it just works” design philosophy, which is at the core of Apple devices, to make sure you’re able to do what you want with less fuss. As a final tip, when in doubt, try a hard reboot for the device that isn’t working. Smart devices can sometimes freeze, or apps lock up, and only a reboot will work. Press and hold the power buttons simultaneously to force reboot the device. The iOS or system will initialize the software and put the system in a ready state. This will hopefully make the device ready to accept AirDrop input again.

A Final Word On AirDrop For Mac And iPhone

AirDrop is a great feature for anyone that works in the Apple environment. Once you start using AirDrop regularly, you’ll find yourself collaborating more, sending files back and forth with your team without the delays and problems you find with texting and attaching files of emailing content.

Imagine standing next to someone and instantly sharing directions to a restaurant or baseball game. Consider how much easier work would be if you could send a file instantly to a co-worker across the room, without the hassle of setting up an email and attaching documents.

It’s easy to see why AirDrop might be the best feature you’re not using on your Apple device.