Using AirDrop on Apple’s iPhone and iPad

Apple’s AirDrop is a hugely useful feature for transferring photos, videos, documents, and other files between the company’s devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Macs. You can easily send something to a friend – or use AirDrop as a convenient way to transfer files between your own products.

The great thing about AirDrop is its simplicity. Rather than trying to clumsily share files to Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other cloud storage, it’s an instant transfer from one device to another that (in most cases) only takes seconds.

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:

  • Be near the person or device you want to share something with.
  • Both parties must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on — you do not however, must be on the same Wi-Fi network – and have the Personal Hotspot feature turned off.

HOW TO SHARE WITH AIRDROP ON YOUR IPHONE OR IPAD:

  • When you’re in an app that has a file you want to send via AirDrop, tap the Share icon.
  • Tap AirDrop. If you and the recipient have an iPhone 11 or newer, you can point your iPhone in their direction to prioritize the list of nearby AirDrop users.
  • If you have an older iPhone, you’ll see a list of potential AirDrop receivers in range.

  • Known contacts appear in the People row. Select the person you want to share your file with. You’ll also see your own Apple gadgets in the Devices row. Choose one of these options if you just want to send something from one device to another. Nearby AirDrop users will appear in the Other People queue.
  • The recipient will receive a notification with a preview of the content being shared. From here, they can accept or decline the file transfer. (Note that you won’t see this when sending files through your own Apple devices.)

HOW TO RESTRICT WHO CAN REACH YOU WITH AIRDROP:

Some people get a kick out of sending memes — or more unwanted, lewd content — to complete strangers with AirDrop. Fortunately, Apple gives you a few different options to limit how easily the feature can reach you.

AirDrop settings are easily accessible from the Control Center.

  • On iOS or iPadOS, open Control Center and long press the Wi-Fi icon.
  • Select AirDrop from the next menu.
  • From here, you can choose to disable AirDrop completely, restrict it to known contacts, or open yourself up to everyone around. If you choose Contacts Only, the recipient’s Apple ID email or phone number must be mapped to their contact information for them to appear in AirDrop.

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