AirDrop is one of the best ways to get around Share files between devices in the Apple ecosystem (iOS and macOS). We have detailed guides and explanations that break down the technology and how it works. This time, we’re walking you through a few things to do if AirDrop malfunctions. If you’ve tried sending media files or documents from your iPhone to the Macbook via AirDrop but with no success, we recommend checking out the fixes in this guide.
We are of course assuming that you have fully functional devices and have used the AirDrop before. If you are using iOS 14 beta then it could be a temporary error. Restarting both devices (iPhone and Mac) is a great temporary measure that could help. If you’ve tried this and nothing changes, move on to the solutions listed below.
1. Activate Bluetooth again
For AirDrop functionality, both the sending and receiving devices must have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi activated. If your iPhone isn’t sending files to your Mac, make sure that both devices have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on. If they’re turned on but you still can’t transfer files through AirDrop, turn them off and then back on.
2. Move the devices closer
Yes, as gruesome as that sounds, proximity plays a huge role in wireless file transfer. For AirDrop, Apple recommends that you have both devices within 30 feet. So you can either bring your phone closer to the Mac or vice versa and try to send the files again.
3. Deactivate personal hotspot
The personal hotspot is another feature that makes AirDrop unusable. If you share your iPhone’s cellular data with other devices, you will need to temporarily disable the personal hotspot. Otherwise, you will not be able to transfer or receive files through AirDrop. You can deactivate the personal hotspot via the control center of your iPhone or the settings menu (Settings> Personal hotspot> Deactivate ‘Allow others to join’).
4. Turn off Do Not Disturb on the Mac
When transferring files from an iPhone to your Macbook via AirDrop, macOS should show you a notification prompt to accept or reject the incoming files. If you have “Do Not Disturb” turned on, you can mute / hide this notification. How to enable and disable Do Not Disturb on your computer.
Step 1: Tap the Notification Center icon in the top right corner of the menu bar.
Step 2: Scroll down (up) to reveal the hidden options and turn off Do Not Disturb.
4. Change the Macbook’s AirDrop discoverability
You also want to check that your Macbook’s AirDrop is configured to receive requests from the iPhone.
Step 1: In the menu bar – the top right corner of the screen – tap the Finder icon and type AirDrop in the search bar.
Step 2: Double-click AirDrop to open the AirDrop console.
Alternatively, you can quickly launch the AirDrop menu by tapping Go from the Apple menu on the desktop and selecting AirDrop.
Step 3: Tap the drop-down button next to “Allow me to be discovered by” and select All.
If your AirDrop is found to be contacts only, your iPhone must be signed in to iCloud. In addition, the phone number or email address that is linked to the Apple ID of your iPhone must be saved in the Contacts app of your Macbook. There are many conditions that must be met; Ergo, a much better and faster option is to configure your Macbook’s AirDrop to be recognized by all devices.
5. Unblock incoming connections on the Mac
Another thing to check is your Macbook’s firewall configuration. Transferring files from your iPhone to your PC using AirDrop may be impossible if your Macbook’s firewall is blocking incoming connections. Go to your Macbook’s firewall settings and check that all incoming connections are allowed.
Step 1: Tap the Apple menu icon and choose System Preferences.
Step 2: Select “Security & Privacy”.
Step 3: Navigate to the Firewall tab.
Step 4: Tap the lock icon in the lower left corner of the page.
You will be asked to enter your device’s password to continue.
Step 5: Now tap on the Firewall Options button.
Step 6: Finally, uncheck or uncheck the “Block all incoming connections” option at the top of the menu. Click on OK to save the changes.
Re-establish the AirDrop connection from your iPhone and see if your Macbook is now receiving transfer requests.
6. Check device compatibility
AirDrop has minimum operating system requirements for iPhone, iPad, Macbook and all other compatible devices. With the iPhone, AirDrop only works on devices with iOS 7 or later. Macbooks, on the other hand, must be running OS X Yosemite or later to use AirDrop. Follow the steps below to check if the affected Macbook supports AirDrop.
Step 1: Tap the Apple menu icon and choose About This Mac.
Step 2: Next, choose System Report.
Step 3: In the right menu in the Network section, select WiFi.
Step 4: On the Wi-Fi information page, find AirDrop and see if it is marked Supported.
7. Update iOS or macOS
Aside from an AirDrop-compatible Macbook, Apple recommends that you regularly update your devices’ operating systems to the latest version. This will help fix some software-related bugs that are causing AirDrop to malfunction. To update your iPhone, go to Settings> General> Software Update and select “Download and Install”.
Updating macOS is just as easy. Tap the Apple menu icon> About This Mac> Software Update and tap the Update Now button.
Enjoy seamless data transfer
One last thing you could try is resetting your iPhone’s network settings. This could also help resolve any network related issues that are causing AirDrop to malfunction on your iPhone. Let us know which of these methods worked for you. We are also there for you if you need further assistance. Enter your questions in the comment section below.
If you’re a new Apple user and you’re wondering what makes AirDrop and AirPlay different from each other, the explainer linked below will clear you up quickly and easily.