What can you do with AirDrop

macOS AirDrop does not work - what should I do?


AirDrop often makes life a lot easier by making it quick and easy to transfer files between iPhones, iPads, and Macs. It is all the more annoying when AirDrop does not work properly. In this guide you will find out what the most common sources of error and their solutions are.

Note: Before starting troubleshooting, it is a good idea to test whether both of the devices really have problems with AirDrop, or whether only one of the devices is causing complications. If you have a third Apple device at hand, try to send a file via AirDrop from both devices to this third device. If only one of the two devices does not work, you can concentrate on troubleshooting the problem. If both or neither of the devices work in the test, you should continue troubleshooting with both.

The most common sources of error from AirDrop

AirDrop problems can often be resolved with just one of the following simple steps. Follow the instructions and try after each point whether AirDrop works again.


Almost all iPhones, iPads and Macs now support AirDrop, but it is still worth checking whether your device can actually use AirDrop.

You can use AirDrop with these devices:

  • If files are exchanged between two Macs, all Macs since 2010 can be used for this

If you do not know from your head which device you are using, you can open the settings on the iPhone and click on "Generally“ > „info“Tap.


On the Mac, click the Apple icon and then on "About this Mac". There you can see the device version or the year of construction.

File location

With certain file types, no app will open after files have been transferred, they will only be backed up. It is therefore often worthwhile to use the app "Files"To open and the folder"On my iPhone"Or on the Mac in the Finder the folder"Downloads" to check.

AirDrop settings

For AirDrop to work, the connection must be enabled on both devices.

To do this, open the on iOS devices Settings and switch to "Generally“ > „AirDrop". To ensure that AirDrop works, you should temporarily "For each"Activate.


On the Mac, open the finder and switch to the "AirDrop"Or click on"Go to“ > „AirDrop". Click on the button "I am visible to: ..."And temporarily select"Everyone" out.

Also make sure that both devices unlocked are.

WiFi & Bluetooth

Problems can also arise from the WLAN or Bluetooth. Therefore switch on both devices WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS and Bluetooth in the settings, wait a while and then turn it on again. Alternatively, you can briefly activate airplane mode on iPhones or iPads.

Also make sure that you have not activated a personal hotspot. This occupies the WLAN antenna of the devices, which means that AirDrop can no longer be used.

To do this, open the Settings, tap on "Personal hotspot" and deactivate The switch.


On the Mac, click the Apple icon, then on "System settings", There on the area"Approvals"And uncheck"Internet sharing“.

Restart devices

If this does not help either, you should restart both devices.

For newer iPhones, keep the "volume up“Key and the Side button pressed until a slider labeled "Turn off" is shown. For older iPhones, stop just the side button pressed. Drag the slider to the right and then wait a while for the device to shut down. Then hold the Side button for a few seconds pressedto restart the device.

On the Mac, click the Apple icon top left and then on "Restart ...". Confirm with "Start anew“.


Check for updates

If AirDrop still does not work, you should check the devices for updates.

To do this, go to the Settings tap on "Generally“ > „Software update“.

On the Mac, click the Apple icon and then on "System settings ...". Then click on "Software update“.

If an update is available, install it.

Other sources of error from AirDrop


In addition, there are a number of sources of error that occur less often, but can still cause problems from time to time. However, you can solve this in just a few steps.

Bluetooth connections

In some cases, AirDrop problems can be caused by additional Bluetooth connections that a device is currently maintaining. You should therefore disconnect all connections to other devices.

To do this, open the on iOS devices Settings, tap on "Bluetooth"And then for devices that are currently listed as"Connected"Are displayed, click on the"i"-Symbol. Then tap on "Separate“.

On the Mac, click the Apple icon top left, then on "System settings"And there on"Bluetooth". Right-click on all devices that are listed as "Connected"Are marked and select"Separate" at.


Active connections or other sources of interference in the vicinity can also impair the Bluetooth connection. So make sure that you are not in the immediate vicinity of a wireless router or a switched-on microwave, for example.

In addition, the Bluetooth connection does not go very far. The devices should be a maximum of 9 meters apart. However, the closer they are to each other, the better the connection. Ideally, the devices are about one meter apart without any obstacle between them.

File size

The file size itself is not a limit for AirDrop, but the transfer of the files can sometimes take a long time. In these cases, AirDrop may seem like it is not working as no progress is visible. In this case, leave the devices a short distance away and wait to see whether the transfer progresses. If no progress can be seen even after a while, cancel the transfer and start again.

If that doesn't help either, try sending a smaller file as a test. If this transfer does not work either, follow the other steps in this guide to resolve the error.

Firewall on the Mac

If you have activated a stricter firewall setting on the Mac, all incoming connections may be blocked.

Reset network settings


If none of these tips helped and your AirDrop still does not work, the last alternative is to reset the network settings. This is often the solution to various connection problems of iOS devices or Macs. But take notethat all saved connections that you have stored on your device are deleted become! This means that you will have to reconnect all WLANs and all Bluetooth devices.

To do this, open the on iOS devices Settings, tap on "Generally“ > „Reset to default"And then on"Network settings". If you confirm your entry, all network settings will be reset.

On the Mac, do the following:

Hardware problems

If resetting the network settings didn't help either, a hardware defect could be the problem. In this case, the best way to do this is to contact Apple Support with your device. You can contact them on the Apple Support website at support.apple.com.