AirDrop is one of the best features when it comes to sharing files with Macs and iOS devices using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Using it, you can easily send photos, videos, contacts, passwords, documents and many other data between Apple devices.
But as useful as it is, sometimes it doesn’t quite go as expected. You may fail to transfer files via AirDrop due to incorrect settings or network related issues.
Don’t worry. Here are troubleshooting methods you can do when AirDrop is not working on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.
- Tip 1. Check Device Compatibility
- Tip 2. Check AirDrop Settings
- Tip 3. Turn Wi-Fi & Bluetooth On and Off
- Tip 4. Disable Personal Hotspot
- Tip 5. Turn off Airplane Mode & Do Not Disturb
- Tip 6. Ensure Both Devices are Unlocked
- Tip 7. Bring the Devices Closer to Each Other
- Tip 8. Hard Reset Your Device
- Tip 9. Reset Network Settings
- Tip 10. Check for Updates
- Tip 11. Contact Apple Support
- Extra Tip. AirDrop Alternative to Transfer iPhone Data
Tip 1. Check Device Compatibility
AirDrop is not available on all Apple devices. To use it on iOS, your device must be an iPhone 5 or later, an iPad 4 or later, or an iPod 5th generation or later. And the receiving device should also be one of the compatible devices.
To use AirDrop to transfer files to a Mac, the Mac must be a 2012 model or later and must be running OS X Yosemite or newer.
Tip 2. Check AirDrop Settings
AirDrop has several settings, designed to make it easier for you to share files between Apple devices. “Receiving Off” will prevent anyone from sharing files with you, “Everyone” means that you can accept files from any sender, and “Contacts Only” means that you can only access files from those in your Contacts list.
If you are having trouble using AirDrop, the best thing to do is to set it to “Everyone.” Here’s how to do that;
On iPhone and iPad;
- Open the Settings app to open the device’s settings.
- Select “General” and tap “AirDrop.” Then choose “Everyone.”
- Open “Finder” on your Mac and select “AirDrop” in the sidebar. If it is not there, use the keyboard shortcut “Command + Shift + R” to open it.
- Click on “Allow me to be Discovered by” and then choose “Everyone” from the options in the drop-down menu.
Tip 3. Turn WiFi & Bluetooth Off and On
AirDrop uses both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to share files. So, if you are still having problems using it, you can try to turn these services off and then on again.
On iPhone and iPad;
- Open the Settings and tap “Wi-Fi.” Turn off the switch next to it, wait a few seconds, and tap on the switch again to turn it back on.
- Locate “Bluetooth” in the settings and tap on the switch next to it to disable it. And wait a few seconds before turning it back on.
- Click on the Control Center icon on the menu bar, then click on the “Bluetooth” and “Wi-Fi” panes to find their switches.
- Then simply, click on these switches to turn them off and then on again.
Tip 4. Disable Personal HotSpot
AirDrop will not work if you are using the “Personal Hotspot” feature to provide internet access to other devices. You can therefore try to disable “Personal Hotspot” until you have transferred the files via AirDrop.
For devices running iOS 13.1 or later, you may not see a switch in “Settings > Personal Hotspot”, but you can prevent other devices from connecting to your device.
To do this, open the “Control Center” and long-press the “Bluetooth” button, and then tap on the “Personal Hotspot” button to make it “Not Discoverable.”
Tip 5. Turn Off Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb
When Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb are enabled on the device, your device may be unable to connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and therefore AirDrop will stop working.
Open the Control Center or the Settings on your device to make sure both Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb are disabled before attempting to use AirDrop again.
Tip 6. Ensure Both Devices Is Unlocked
If the devices are locked or turned off, they will not be able to send or receive files via AirDrop. Therefore, for a successful transfer, you may need to make sure that both devices are turned on and unlocked.
Tip 7. Bring the Devices Closer to Each Other
If the devices are not using a shared Wi-Fi network, AirDrop can use Bluetooth to transfer the files. But for this to work, the devices need to be as close to each other as possible (within 10 meters or 33 feet). Anything further and you may find it very difficult to transfer files between the devices.
Tip 8. Hard Reset Your Device
A hard reset is one of the best ways to fix any software issues that your device may be facing and may therefore be a good way to fix this AirDrop problem. Here’s how to hard reset your devices;
On iPads and iPhones with a Home Button;
- Press and hold the Power button on your device.
- While still holding down the Power button, press and hold down the Home button.
- Continue to hold both buttons until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
On iPhone 7 and 7 Plus;
- Press and hold the Power button on the right side of the device.
- While holding the Power button, press and hold the Volume Down button.
- Continue to press and hold both buttons until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
On iPhone 8 and Later Models;
- Press and release the Volume Up button quickly.
- Press and release the Volume Down button quickly.
- Then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo shows up.
On the Mac;
- Click on the “Apple” icon on the left of the Menu Bar.
- Select “Restart” and wait for the Mac to reboot.
Once the devices turn back on again, try to send using AirDrop to see if the problem has been resolved.
Tip 9. Reset Network Settings
If you are still unable to use AirDrop on your devices, you may want to reset the network settings, just to make sure that there is nothing wrong with the connectivity of the devices.
To reset the network settings on your iPhone or iPad;
- Go to Settings > General > Reset and then choose “Reset Network Settings.”
- Enter your passcode when requested and confirm by tapping “Reset Network Settings” again.
To reset the network settings on your Mac;
- Click on the “Apple” icon at the top and choose “System Preferences.”
- Open “Network” and then select the networks you want to reset and click on the “minus” sign next to each one.
- To re-add them, click on the “plus” sign and provide the details requested.
Tip 10. Check for Updates
Updating your devices to the latest software might also remove some of the bugs that can cause the AirDrop not working problem.
- To update your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General > Software Update and then select “Download and Install” if an update is available.
- To get the latest updates on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Software Update > Update Now.
Tip 11. Contact Apple Support
Sometimes the problem may be bigger than you can handle. So, if it persists, you may need to bring the device to the nearest Apple Store for further assistance. The technicians at the store will be able to assess the device and provide a viable solution.
Extra Tip. AirDrop Alternative to Transfer iPhone Data
If Airdrop is still not working even after trying all the solutions above, you may want to try another iPhone data transfer solution. One of the best is Fucosoft Free iOS Backup & Restore, a program that can sync data between Apple devices, allowing you to transfer data from iPhone to Mac with a single click.
Here’s how you can transfer iPhone files to Mac without iTunes/iCloud;
Step 1: Download and install Fucosoft iOS Backup & Restore on your Mac. Launch it and connect your iPhone to the computer via USB cable.
Step 2: Once the device is detected, click on “Backup & Restore” to start. Choose the data you want to transfer on the next screen and click “Backup”.
Step 3: The transfer process will start automatically. When completed, you can choose to view the files.
The Bottom Line
Airdrop remains one of the best ways to transfer data between Apple Devices. But sometimes it just doesn’t work, in which case you can use the solutions above to try and fix the problem. You can also just use an alternative solution like Fucosoft Free iOS Backup & Restore to transfer data from iPhone to Mac.
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