How to use AirDrop on a Mac

Ask anyone with a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, and they can probably attest that AirDrop is often a lifesaver. The ability to easily and wirelessly transfer files between Apple devices eliminates the friction of sharing.

You don’t need to know how to email large files (like videos) that you’re trying to send to someone – and there’s no need to upload anything to a cloud service .

With AirDrop, Apple creates a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection between the two devices in an AirDrop exchange. These devices communicate directly and do not need to use the same Internet connection.

To use AirDrop, you must:

  • Use a Mac introduced in 2012 or later that runs macOS Yosemite or later.
  • Place both devices within 30 feet of each other – with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled on both.

Nearby AirDrop recipients will appear in the Finder.
Image: Apple

How to AirDrop share on your Mac:

  • Open a Finder window and select AirDrop from the “Favorites” section of the sidebar. You can also click Go in your Mac’s menu bar, then choose AirDrop.
  • On the AirDrop screen, you will see nearby AirDrop recipients. Simply drag and drop the file you want to share onto the person you’re sending it to.
  • The Mac, iPhone, or iPad user will see a notification about the shared AirDrop and can choose to accept or reject the file(s).

Control Center on the Macbook Air

You can access AirDrop preferences from Control Center on macOS.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

How to limit who can AirDrop with you:

  • In the previously mentioned AirDrop window, click on the “Allow me to be discovered by” text.
  • From here, you can choose whether you want to allow AirDrop requests from everyone, contacts only, or no one. If you choose to limit AirDrop to your own contacts, Apple notes that “the email address or phone number associated with the sender’s Apple ID must be in the Contacts app on the receiving device.”
  • You can also access these settings by opening the Control Center from your Mac’s menu bar and selecting the AirDrop section.

What can I share with AirDrop?

You can share a wide variety of content using AirDrop, including:

  • Audio files
  • Documents
  • Locations on the map
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Websites

There is no file size limit when using AirDrop, just be aware that large transfers can take several minutes to complete.


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Steven L. Nielsen