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How to AirDrop From iPhone to Mac

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Last updated: October 14, 2023

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To AirDrop from iPhone to Mac, ensure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi and in close Bluetooth range. Then, activate AirDrop on both devices. On the iPhone, select the files you wish to transfer and tap the AirDrop icon. Choose your Mac from the available devices, and the files will be transferred.

    Key Points

    • AirDrop’s user-friendly interface lets you send files with just a few taps.
    • Thanks to a direct Wi-Fi connection, transfers are almost instantaneous, whether a single photo or a large video.
    • With end-to-end encryption, only the intended recipient can access the sent files.
    • As an Apple feature, AirDrop is integrated into the iOS and macOS ecosystems, ensuring smooth functionality.
    • AirDrop supports various file types, from photos and videos to website links and app content.

    Ever snapped a perfect shot on your iPhone and wished for a magic button to pop it onto your Mac? Enter AirDrop, Apple’s wireless wizardry! This nifty tool is like a digital bridge between your devices, letting you zap files, photos, and more in a flash. No cables, no fuss.

    If you’re ready to make file transfers a breeze, you’re in the right place. Dive into this guide and discover the art of AirDropping from iPhone to Mac.

    Why AirDrop From iPhone to Mac?

    AirDropping from iPhone to Mac is not just about convenience, it’s about enhancing your Apple experience, ensuring quick, secure, and efficient data sharing. Here’s why you should AirDrop from iPhone to Mac:

    1. 🧠 Simplicity: AirDrop offers a straightforward and intuitive interface. With just a few taps, you can send files from your iPhone to your Mac without navigating through complex settings.
    2. Speed: AirDrop uses a direct Wi-Fi connection between devices, ensuring rapid file transfers. The transfer, whether a single photo or a large video, is almost instantaneous.
    3. 🔒 Security: AirDrop employs end-to-end encryption, ensuring your data remains private and secure during the transfer. Only the intended recipient can access the sent files.
    4. 🍏 Seamless Integration: Being an Apple feature, AirDrop is seamlessly integrated into the iOS and macOS ecosystems. This ensures compatibility and smooth functionality between devices.
    5. 🌐 Versatility: From photos, videos, contacts, and documents to website links and app content, AirDrop supports a wide range of file types, making it a versatile tool for various transfer needs.
    6. 🔌 Eliminate Physical Cables: Gone are the days of searching for cables or adapters. AirDrop provides a wireless solution, reducing clutter and the hassle of physical connections.

    How to Turn On AirDrop on Your iPhone

    AirDrop is a quick and easy way to share files between Apple devices. But before you can use it, you need to turn it on. Below, I’ll show you the simple steps to turn on AirDrop on your iPhone:

    1. Swipe up from the bottom or press the home button (depending on your iPhone model) to access the home screen.
    2. Open Control Center:
      • For iPhone X or later: Swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen.
      • For iPhone 8 or earlier: Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.
    3. Find the network settings card where you see the airplane mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth icons. Press and hold on to this card to expand it.
    press and hold the network settings card in control center
    1. Once the card expands, you’ll see the AirDrop icon. Tap on it.
    click the airdrop icon in control center
    1. Choose one of the following options:
      • Receiving Off: Disables AirDrop.
      • Contacts Only: Only your contacts can see your device on AirDrop.
      • Everyone for 10 Minutes: All nearby Apple devices using AirDrop can see your device.
    choose one of the options from airdrop menu

    And that’s it! Your iPhone is now set up to send and receive files via AirDrop.

    For AirDrop to work, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth should be enabled. If they’re off, tapping on AirDrop will automatically turn them on.

    How to Turn On AirDrop on Your Mac

    Before you can start receiving files on your Mac, you need to turn it on. Below, I’ve shared the steps to turn on AirDrop on your Mac:

    You can enable AirDrop on Macs released from 2012 onwards (except the 2012 Mac Pro), provided they are operating on OS X Yosemite or later.

    1. Open Finder from the Dock.
    2. In the Finder window’s left sidebar, click AirDrop.
    3. For AirDrop to work, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth must be enabled. If they’re not, your Mac will prompt you to turn them on.
    4. At the bottom of the AirDrop window, you’ll see an option that says Allow me to be discovered by. Click it and choose one of the following options:
      • No One: This will disable AirDrop.
      • Contacts Only: Only people in your contacts will be able to send you files via AirDrop.
      • Everyone: Any nearby Apple device with AirDrop can send you files.
    activate airdrop and choose allow me to be discovered by everyone or contacts only
    1. Once you’ve selected your preferred discoverability option, AirDrop is active and ready to use. You can now send and receive files via AirDrop on your Mac.

    How to AirDrop From iPhone to Mac

    Now that you know how to turn on AirDrop on your iPhone and Mac, you’re ready to AirDrop from iPhone to Mac. Here’s how to use AirDrop to transfer photos (or any other file types) from your iPhone to your Mac:

    Your iPhone and Mac must be on the same Wi-Fi and close enough for Bluetooth.

    1. Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your iPhone and Mac.
    2. If AirDrop is not turned on, turn it on by going to Finder > AirDrop and choosing Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone or Contacts Only.
    activate airdrop and choose allow me to be discovered by everyone or contacts only
    1. On your iPhone, open the Photos app and select the photos you want to transfer.
    2. Tap the Share icon at the bottom-left of the screen.
    3. Tap the AirDrop icon.
    4. Select your Mac in the AirDrop section.
    steps to airdrop photos from iphone
    1. It will AirDrop the selected files to your Mac.

    How to Receive Files on Mac With AirDrop

    Receiving files via AirDrop on your Mac is a breeze. It offers a quick and wireless method to get photos, documents, and other data from fellow Apple users. Here’s how to receive files on your Mac via AirDrop:

    1. First, make sure AirDrop is turned on. You can do it via the Control Center on your Mac. Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar and see if the AirDrop icon is blue and its discoverability is set to Everyone or Contacts Only.
    airdrop in control center
    1. When you AirDrop a file from your iPhone to your Mac, a notification will appear on your Mac, showing a preview of the file and the sender’s name.
    2. You can Accept or Decline the incoming file. Click Accept to receive the file.
    click accept to receive photos from your iphone on mac via airdrop
    1. By default, photos will go to the Photos app, while other files will be saved to your Downloads folder.

    Where Do AirDrop Files Go on Mac and iPhone?

    When you use AirDrop on a Mac, any images or videos you receive will typically open directly in the Photos app and be added to your library. Most other file types, such as documents, audio files, or zip archives, are saved to the Downloads folder, which you can easily access from the Dock or through Finder.

    On the iPhone, it’s a bit different. Images and videos sent via AirDrop are saved directly to the Photos app, specifically under the Recents album. If someone sends you a website link or a Maps location, they will open directly in their respective apps, like Safari for websites and Maps for locations.

    When you receive a contact, you’ll be prompted to add it to your Contacts app. The iPhone will suggest the most suitable app to open and save for other types of files. For example, a PDF might be recommended to open in the Books app, while a document could open in Pages or another compatible app.

    It’s always good practice to ensure you receive files from trusted sources when using AirDrop, whether on a Mac or iPhone.

    Why Is AirDrop Not Working on Your Mac?

    AirDrop is a convenient feature for Apple users, but like any technology, it can occasionally run into issues. If AirDrop isn’t working on your Mac, there could be several reasons:

    1. 🖥️ Compatibility Issues: AirDrop requires certain hardware and software specifications. Ensure both the sending and receiving devices support AirDrop and are running a compatible version of macOS or iOS.
    2. 📶 Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is Off: AirDrop relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to function. Ensure both are enabled on your Mac and the device you’re trying to connect with.
    3. 👀 Discoverability Settings: Your Mac’s AirDrop settings might be set to No One, preventing any device from seeing it. Check the AirDrop settings in Finder and ensure it’s set to either Contacts Only or Everyone.
    4. 🔥 Firewall Restrictions: If the firewall settings on your Mac are too restrictive, they might block incoming AirDrop requests. You can adjust these settings in System Settings under Privacy & Security.
    5. 📏 Proximity and Orientation: AirDrop uses Bluetooth to establish a connection, so devices need to be relatively close to each other. Ensure there aren’t any physical obstructions or interference causing the issue.
    6. 🌙 Do Not Disturb Mode: If Do Not Disturb mode is enabled on the receiving Mac, AirDrop requests might not appear. Check and disable this mode if necessary.
    7. ⏳ Outdated Software: Running outdated software can lead to compatibility issues. Ensure both devices have the latest macOS or iOS updates installed.
    8. 👥 Multiple Users: If multiple user accounts are logged in on your Mac, AirDrop might not function correctly. Try logging out of other accounts.
    9. 🔄 Device Overload: Sometimes, simply restarting both the sending and receiving devices can resolve minor glitches or overloads, causing AirDrop to malfunction.
    10. ☁️ Sign Out and Sign In to iCloud: Occasionally, there might be issues with iCloud authentication. Signing out and signing back into iCloud might help.

    If you’ve tried these solutions and AirDrop is still not working, it might be worth checking Apple’s support forums or contacting Apple Support directly for more specialized assistance.

    Why Is Your Mac Not Showing Up on AirDrop?

    While AirDrop is a remarkable feature, it’s not without occasional hiccups. If you’re struggling to see your Mac on AirDrop, here are some potential culprits and their fixes:

    1. 👁️ Mac’s AirDrop Visibility: Ensure your Mac’s AirDrop settings allow it to be visible, either to your contacts or to everyone, as previously mentioned.
    2. 📶 Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Disconnection: AirDrop first uses Bluetooth to identify nearby devices and then Wi-Fi to send data. To verify both are active, click the Bluetooth symbol at the top of your Mac’s screen and activate it. Similarly, click the Wi-Fi symbol to connect to your desired network. Check the Control Center on your iPhone to confirm Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on.
    3. 💤 Inactive Mac Display: For your Mac to appear on AirDrop, its screen needs to be awake. To rouse your Mac, simply tap any key.

    Quickly AirDrop Files Between Your iPhone and Mac

    Whether you’re sharing a single photo or your entire Camera Roll, understanding AirDrop’s functionalities can greatly enhance your data-sharing process between devices. With this guide, you’re now well-equipped with the ins and outs of AirDrop. So, happy AirDropping!

    Here are a few more tips for you:

    • Besides transferring files from iPhone to Mac, you can use AirDrop to transfer files from Mac to Mac.
    • Apart from AirDrop, there are many other methods to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac, such as the Photos app, Image Capture, and iCloud Photos.
    • You can synchronize your iPhone images with the cloud to access iCloud photos on your Mac.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What are the system requirements for AirDrop?

      AirDrop requires an Apple device with iOS 7 or later for iPhones or Macs with OS X Yosemite or later. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be enabled, and devices should be within 30 feet of each other. Compatibility varies, but most devices post-2012 support AirDrop.

    2. How does AirDrop work?

      AirDrop uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Bluetooth establishes a peer-to-peer connection between Apple devices, while Wi-Fi facilitates the fast transfer of files. This ensures secure, direct communication without needing an internet connection or external servers. It’s a seamless way to share data between nearby Apple devices.

    3. Can I AirDrop 1,000 photos?

      Yes, you can AirDrop 1,000 photos. However, the transfer speed might vary based on the devices’ proximity and file size. Ensure both devices have sufficient battery and remain active during the entire process for a smooth transfer.

    4. How do I AirDrop my entire Camera Roll?

      To AirDrop your entire Camera Roll, open the Photos app on your iPhone, tap Select, swipe to choose all photos and tap the share icon (square with an arrow). Choose AirDrop and select the receiving device. Ensure both devices have AirDrop enabled and are within close proximity.

    Hashir Ibrahim


    I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.



    Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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