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Airdrop Not Working Fix: Troubleshooting Tips and Solutions

AirDrop is a useful feature on Apple devices that allows users to transfer files, photos, videos, and other items between nearby Macs, iPhones, and iPads securely. However, it can be frustrating when AirDrop doesn’t work as expected. If you’re having trouble with AirDrop, don’t worry.

In this article, I will provide some troubleshooting steps that may help you resolve the issue.

The first thing to check when encountering a problem with AirDrop is to ensure that your devices support it. Since AirDrop can be used between Macs, iPhones, and iPads, it’s important to verify that your device is compatible.

In the following sections, I will provide more details on how to troubleshoot common AirDrop issues.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Check that your device supports AirDrop
  • Verify AirDrop settings and toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Limit the firewall on your Mac and hard reset your device if necessary
#Troubleshooting StepDeviceInstructions
1Check Device CompatibilityiPhone, iPad, MacVerify that your device meets the minimum requirements for AirDrop.
2Adjust AirDrop SettingsiPhone, iPad, MacSwitch AirDrop settings to “Everyone for 10 Minutes” or “Everyone” to facilitate file sharing.
3Toggle Wi-Fi and BluetoothiPhone, iPad, MacTurn off and on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your device to address connectivity issues.
4Disable Personal HotspotiPhoneIf using Personal Hotspot, turn it off temporarily for AirDrop to function properly.
5Ensure the Device is UnlockediPhone, iPadUnlock your device using FaceTime, Touch ID, or passcode before attempting AirDrop.
6Bring Devices CloseriPhone, iPad, MacKeep devices within 33 feet (10 meters) to ensure Bluetooth connectivity for AirDrop.
7Hard Reset Your DeviceiPhone, iPadPerform a hard reset based on your device model to potentially resolve persistent AirDrop issues.
An overall summary of troubleshooting steps

1. Check Your Device Supports AirDrop

Before using AirDrop, you should ensure that your device is compatible with the feature. Here are the minimum requirements for using AirDrop:

iPhone and iPad

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad 4 or later, iPad mini, or fifth-generation iPod touch
  • iOS 7 or later for iPhones
  • iPadOS 13 or later for iPads
  • iOS 17.1 or iPad 17.1 or later for continuing AirDrop transfers over the internet/cellular

Mac

  • All Mac models released in 2012 or later
  • Running OS X Yosemite or later
  • To confirm that your Mac is compatible with AirDrop, click the Finder icon in the Dock and select Go in the menu bar. If AirDrop is not listed as an option, then your Mac is not compatible with the feature.

2. Check AirDrop Settings

AirDrop has three settings:

Receiving Off, Contacts Only, and Everyone for 10 Minutes.

Receiving Off prevents anyone from sharing anything with you over AirDrop. Contacts Only limit shares to people whose email address or mobile number appears in your contacts. Everyone for 10 Minutes temporarily accepts shares from any sender.

Adjust AirDrop Settings on iPhone and iPad

To adjust AirDrop settings on your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap General.
  3. Tap AirDrop.
  4. Tap Everyone for 10 Minutes (or Everyone).

Adjust AirDrop Settings on Mac

To adjust AirDrop settings on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Open a Finder window on your Mac.
  2. Select AirDrop from the Finder sidebar (if AirDrop isn’t listed, use the keyboard combination Command-Shift-R to open it).
  3. Click the setting prefaced with Allow me to be discovered by: and select Everyone from the drop-down menu.

On Mac, AirDrop settings can also be found in the Control Center, accessed in the far right of the menu bar. Adjusting AirDrop settings is a simple process that can help you troubleshoot any issues you may be having with AirDrop.

3. Toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

If you’re experiencing issues with AirDrop, you might need to toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your device. This can help fix any connectivity problems that may be preventing AirDrop from working correctly. Here’s how you can toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your iOS device or Mac.

Apple devices
Ensure your device is compatible with AirDrop by checking the minimum requirements for iPhones, iPads, and Macs

Toggle Wi-Fi on iPhone and iPad

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, you can toggle Wi-Fi by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings on your device.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Tap the switch next to Wi-Fi to turn it off, then tap it again to turn it back on.

Toggle Bluetooth on iPhone and iPad

To toggle Bluetooth on an iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings on your device.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the switch next to Bluetooth to turn it off, then tap it again to turn it back on.

4. Disable Personal Hotspot

If you are using your iPhone to host a Personal Hotspot to provide internet access to another device, AirDrop won’t work. The solution is to turn off the Personal Hotspot. This will make the internet connection unavailable to the device that was using the hotspot, but you can always turn it back on again once you’ve transferred files over AirDrop.

In iOS 13.1 and later, Apple doesn’t include an on/off switch in Settings -> Personal Hotspot. The thinking behind this change is that your hotspot is always ready to provide internet access to your other devices whenever they need it. On that basis, verified devices may automatically connect to your nearby instant hotspot if there’s no Wi-Fi internet connection available.

To prevent devices from connecting to your iPhone or iPad hotspot, launch the Control Center. Long press the Bluetooth button, and if the Personal Hotspot button is green on the next screen, tap it to make your hotspot Not Discoverable. This will prevent other devices from seeing your hotspot and connecting to it without your permission.

Airdrop with other Apple devices
Adjust AirDrop settings on your iPhone to ‘Everyone for 10 Minutes’ or ‘Everyone’ for seamless file sharing.

It’s important to note that turning off the Personal Hotspot will make the internet connection unavailable to the device that was using the hotspot. However, you can always turn it back on again once you’ve transferred files over AirDrop.

5. Ensure Your iPhone or iPad is Unlocked

To receive files over AirDrop, it’s important to ensure that your iPhone or iPad is unlocked. If your device is locked or powered off, it won’t show up as an available device for sending something over AirDrop. To unlock your device, you can use FaceTime, Touch ID, or a passcode. Make sure your device is powered on and unlocked before attempting to receive files over AirDrop.

6. Bring the Devices Closer to Each Other

To ensure a successful file transfer using AirDrop, it is important to keep the devices within a range of about 33 feet (10 meters) since Bluetooth has a limited range. If the devices are not within this range, AirDrop might not work as it relies exclusively on Bluetooth to find devices and transfer files. Therefore, it is recommended to bring the devices closer to each other before attempting to use AirDrop.

8. Hard Reset Your Device

If you’ve tried all the previous solutions and still have AirDrop issues on your iOS device, performing a hard reset may help. The process varies depending on your device model. Here are the steps for each model:

  • iPhone 6S and earlier: Press and hold the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.
  • iPhone 7 series: Press and hold the Volume Down button and the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.
  • iPhone 8 series and later: Press and release the Volume Up button, then press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.
  • iPhone SE: Press and hold the Side button and the Volume Down button until the Apple logo appears.
  • iPad with Face ID/Touch ID: Press and release the Volume Up button, then press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Top button until the Apple logo appears.

Performing a hard reset will not erase any of your data, but it may help resolve AirDrop issues.

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Conclusion

In conclusion,

  • AirDrop is a valuable feature for seamless file sharing between Apple devices. If you encounter issues with AirDrop, follow the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article.
  • Start by ensuring device compatibility, adjusting AirDrop settings, and toggling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Disable Personal Hotspot if necessary, ensure your device is unlocked, and keep devices within the Bluetooth range.
  • If problems persist, consider a hard reset. By systematically addressing these issues, you can enhance the reliability of AirDrop for a smooth file-sharing experience.

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