There’s one feature that I personally use a lot on all of my Apple devices — AirDrop. It’s in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, and provides a way to wirelessly zap info between two devices. I use it multiple times daily to send screenshots, App Store links, and other info from my iPhone or iPad to Mac. Read on for tips on using AirDrop to send content from your mobile devices to your Mac.
Enable AirDrop on Your iPhone or iPad
To use AirDrop, enable both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your iPhone or iPad and make sure you’re signed in to your iCloud account. To ensure that both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on, launch the Settings app. In the first group of settings below the Apple ID/iCloud information, we see a Wi-Fi network called “Rubyshouse-5G) and Bluetooth is “on”.
Your devices need to be within Bluetooth range (10 meters or 33 feet) of each other as well.
Another way to ensure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled is checking Control Center. To do this, swipe down on the right side of your screen. If both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons are blue (on left, below), then these wireless technologies are turned on and you’re ready to AirDrop.
Transferring Data from Mobile to Mac
Now it’s time to AirDrop something from your iPhone or iPad to a Mac. That “something” can be just about anything — a website address, a photo, a Note, a Contact, or a document. For this example, we’ll send a Pages document to a Mac.
This document opened in Pages’ new “reading mode”, which hides editing tools for ease of reading. At the top right of the screen are two buttons — Edit and a “more” button. The more button looks like a circle with an ellipsis (…) inside of it and indicates that there are more things you can do when you tap the button.
“More” and “Share” Buttons
Tap the more button and one of the options is to share the document. In most other iPhone or iPad apps, the share button is right up front — there is no “more” button in between. In Photos, it’s the traditional “box with an arrow coming out of it” (see screenshot below).
When you tap the “share” button in Pages, Photos, or any other app, one of the top choices you’ll see is AirDrop.
When there’s only one Mac or other Apple device nearby, that’s probably the only “receiver” you’ll see. In the screenshot above, you see that “Steven’s MacBook Pro” is my only choice. Those faint gray dots around the computer icon show up on iPhones and iPads with Apple’s Ultra Wideband technology. That tech allows your iPhone or iPad to actually “find” the Mac in space.
More than one Mac or Apple device? The lower AirDrop button shows a red circle with the number of possible AirDrop recipients in it. Tap that button, and a more detailed AirDrop dialog appears (see screenshot below):
Tap the receiving Mac’s AirDrop button and the file, photo, or other document travels wirelessly to the Mac.
Receiving the AirDrop Document on a Mac
A notification appears on the Mac showing receipt of the file. The default location for document sent by AirDrop is the Downloads folder.
Opening the document is as easy as finding it in the Downloads folder and double-clicking it. Your Mac launches the appropriate app for document types it recognizes. As an example, I sent a Contact from my iPhone to my Mac that appeared as a .vcf file in Downloads.
Double-clicking the file launched Contacts, which asked if I really wanted to import this file because it was a duplicate…
AirDrop is a useful tool for all Apple users and one that more people should learn to use. It can prevent a lot of unnecessary work when sending files of almost any type between devices. For more info on using AirDrop, this Apple knowledge base article is useful.