If you’re looking to share files between a Mac computer or iOS device, there are many ways to go about doing that, such as sending over instant messenger, syncing via a cloud storage service, sending it via email, or as Apple would most probably prefer, via AirDrop. AirDrop is a proprietary feature found on iOS and Mac computers that is meant to allow quick and seamless file transfers between compatible devices.

Turn On Or Off AirDrop On iOS

Accessing AirDrop used to be pretty simple. Prior to iOS 11, AirDrop can be easily found by swiping up and opening the Control Center. However with iOS 11, Apple made it a little trickier by hiding it within a deeper menu within Control Center.

  1. Swipe up (or swipe down from the right if you’re using the iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, or XR) and bring up (or down) Control Center.
  2. Long press (or press down hard for iPhones that come with 3D Touch) the group of icons (Airplane mode, Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular connectivity) marked in the red square.
  3. This will pull up a deeper menu within Control Center where additional controls can be accessed, such as enabling/disabling your Personal Hotspot, and enabling/disabling AirDrop. Select AirDrop.
  4. This will bring up more options for AirDrop where you can choose to turn on (or turn off) AirDrop to work only with people in your contacts, or everyone. You can access this menu again following the steps above to turn it off.

Troubleshooting

According to Apple’s support document, both Bluetooth and WiFi need to be enabled for the sender and receiver in order for AirDrop to work. If you’re having trouble sending/receiving files via AirDrop, check to ensure that both these settings are turned on, and also that Personal Hotspot has been disabled.

This is because AirDrop works by using a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi. Bluetooth is used to help discover other nearby AirDrop users, and peer-to-peer WiFi is used to actually transmit the files between devices. So despite the need for WiFi to be enabled, you don’t actually need an internet connection for it to work as it is all done device-to-device.

In the event that you can’t seem to tap “Receiving Off” to change it, then you will need to go to your device’s Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps, and ensure that AirDrop has been turned on.

It is recommended that you use the “Contacts only” option because by turning it on for everyone, it means that your device is discoverable by all iOS and Mac devices within a 30 feet vicinity. There have been reported instances in the past of people sending unsolicited lewd images via the feature as some people might have unknowingly turned AirDrop on for everyone, so this is a good way to protect yourself against that and also your privacy.

Note: Not all files are supported in AirDrop, but for the most part you can use AirDrop to send media files such as photos and videos, share contacts, notes, documents and PDFs, mail attachments, items stored within Apple’s “Files” app, voice memos, website URLs, and maps directions, just to name a few.

Filed in Apple >Cellphones. Read more about iOS.

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