- If AirDrop isn’t working on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, ensure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on.
- Make sure that your Apple devices are all up to date and your iPhone is unlocked.
- Be sure to restart your devices after making changes to your settings and try AirDrop again.
AirDrop is doubtless one of the most useful and convenient features for Apple users. Designed to let you send media, links, and documents via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to other Apple devices within a certain range, it’s a powerful asset for any iPad, iPhone or Mac user.
And while most contemporary Apple devices include AirDrop, it can be a surprisingly finicky feature that sometimes fails to work for seemingly no particular reason.
If this is happening to you, here are the top six ways, from toggling wireless networks to restarting your devices, to get back up and sharing wirelessly as quickly as possible.
1. Make sure the iPhone is unlocked
If you’re trying to AirDrop something to someone else’s iPhone or someone is AirDropping to you, here’s an easy fix: Make sure the target phone is turned on and unlocked. A locked iPhone won’t appear as a device that’s available to receive files via AirDrop.
Likewise, if the iPhone is unlocked and it’s still not working, try bringing them closer together. This can be especially important if the Wi-Fi is spotty and AirDrop is trying to use Bluetooth.
2. Try turning off your Wi-Fi hotspot
If you’re using your iPhone as a personal hotspot, here’s some bad news: AirDrop won’t work. The solution is to disable your hotspot, at least as long as you are using AirDrop. You can turn it back on when you’re done sharing files.
To turn off your hotspot, start the Settings app and tap Personal Hotspot. At the top of the page, swipe the button for Allow Others to Join to the left. Your personal hotspot is now disabled and you can try to AirDrop again.
Disable your Personal Hotspot to get AirDrop to work.
3. Enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
You probably know that AirDrop relies on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to transfer files, so you should make sure both of these wireless networks are turned on for the devices you want to use to AirDrop.
- To check your wireless settings on iPhone and iPad: Start the Settings app and then tap Wi-Fi. To the right of Wi-Fi, make sure the button is swiped to the right. Then tap the Back button to go back to the main Settings page and tap Bluetooth. Make sure the Bluetooth button is on as well.
Toggle your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and then try AirDrop again.
- To check your wireless settings on Mac: Click the Apple logo in the desktop’s menubar, then choose System Preferences. Click Network. You should see Status: Connected. If you don’t, click Turn Wi-Fi On. Then click the Back button and choose Bluetooth. You should see Bluetooth: On. If you don’t, click Turn Bluetooth On.
If you find that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are already on, it’s a good idea to toggle them off and back on again as an easy way to quickly resolve any potential issues.
4. Make sure your devices are updated
Does the device you want to use support AirDrop? While all “modern” Apple devices generally work with AirDrop, if you are trying to send to an older device, you might run into trouble.
You can use AirDrop on any iPhone running iOS 7 or later. If you’re having issues, you should check on the iPhone’s iOS version and update it if needed. Likewise, if you are using an iPad, AirDrop works on the iPadOS 13 and later – update your iPad to the latest version of the operating system if needed.
Make sure your device meets the minimum system requirements to work with AirDrop.
You can also AirDrop to and from your Mac, as long as it is running OS X 10.10 or higher. If you need it, here’s a refresher on how to check for the version of your Mac OS and how to update it.
5. Disable your Mac’s firewall
If you are trying to AirDrop to a Mac, you should also check that your firewall settings allow for new connections – otherwise, AirDrop might not work. You’ll need to make your computer’s firewall settings less strict, which should allow it to receive AirDrops.
1. Click the Apple logo in the desktop’s menu bar, then click System Preferences.
2. Select Security & Privacy.
3. Click the lock icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen, and enter your password or use Touch ID to unlock access to these settings.
Clicking the lock icon in the bottom-left corner will allow you to make changes.
4. Select the Firewall tab.
5. Click Turn Off Firewall or, if you prefer, click Firewall Options and, in the pop-up window, uncheck the box next to Block all incoming connections. Then click OK.
You can turn off the firewall here or further navigate to the firewall’s settings.
6. Reset the device
If nothing else has worked, try to restart your devices. A restart might be needed if you recently changed some settings on your mobile device or computer, and a restart can also flush out an intermittent glitch that’s keeping your device from working properly.
Simply turning your device off and then on again can get you up and running; here’s how to restart it regardless of which iPhone model you own. Likewise, you can restart your iPad, or restart your Mac.