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AirDrop On Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

By Marice, Last updated: June 8, 2019

Before the technology for wireless transfer came into place, we used cables to move files from one device to another. Now, because of wireless services like Apple’s AirDrop, transferring files from your Mac to another device becomes easier. You don’t need to plug any cables just to move files. If you are considering using AirDrop on Mac, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to do it.

How Does AirDrop Work?

AirDrop relies on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to transfer files wirelessly. The Bluetooth connection of your Mac device is used to locate nearby devices with AirDrop activated in them. Then, the Wi-Fi connection is used to create a link (known as Wi-FI Direct). This connection allows you to transfer even large files at faster speeds.

Airdrop On Mac

AirDrop Availability

AiDrop can be found on some MacBook models. You can refer to the list below to make sure you can use AirDrop on your device.

Mac Pro

  • Versions from early 2009 that has AirPort Extreme cards
  • Versions from mid-2010 or later

Mac Mini

  • Versions from mid-2010 or later.


  • Versions from early 2009 or later.


  • Versions from late 2008 or later.
  • Exceptions include the White MacBook dated late 2008.

MacBook Air

  • Versions from late 2010 or later.

MacBook Pro

  • Versions from late 2008 or later.
  • Exceptions include MacBook Pro, 17-inch, dated late 2008.

Seven Functions That You Must Know About Airdrop

1. How Do You Activate Or Enable AirDrop On Mac Devices

Below are the steps you should follow to enable AirDrop on your Mac device:

Step 01: Launch Finder and press Go located within the menu bar.

Step 02: Locate AirDrop and open it. Wait until the window for AirDrop appears.

Step 03: If your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are disabled, AirDrop will prompt you to turn them on. If they are already enabled, AirDrop will be activated automatically.

Step 04: Click the option labeled Allow Me To Be Discovered By Everyone.

Step 05: You can choose to be paired with a device within the Bluetooth range of your Mac. Or, you can choose to be paired with someone within your Contacts list.

Airdrop On Mac Enable Airdrop

2. How To Use AirDrop On Mac To Send Files

After you have activated or enabled AirDrop, you can now use it to transfer files to another device. You can do this using three different methods, through the context menu, through drag and drop, or through share sheet.

3. How To Use AirDrop On Mac Using Context Menu

Step 01: Launch Finder.

Step 02: Visit the location of the file you wish to transfer and select the file you will send to another device.

Step 03: Hold down the Control key. While doing this, press right-click using your mouse.

Step 04: Choose Share from the menu that appears. Press AirDrop within the Share menu.

Step 05: Select the person or device you want to send the files to.

Step 06: Press Done.

4. How To Use AirDrop On Mac With The Drag-And-Drop Method

Step 01: Go to Finder and look for the sidebar. Choose the option that says AirDrop.

Step 02: Wait until various users within your range appear.

Step 03: Visit the location of the file you wish to transfer.

Step 04: Drag the file(s) to the image window of the recipient.

Step 05: Press Send.

Airdrop On Mac Send

5. How To Use AirDrop On Mac Using Your Share Feature

This method is applicable when you are going to transfer files from your Mac to an iOS device. Here’s how to do it step-by-step:

Step 01: Visit the location of the file you wish to send.

Step 02: On your app, look for the option that says Share.

Step 03: Select the file(s) you wish to transfer.

Step 04: Press the Control key. While doing this, press right-click on your mouse.

Step 05: Within the menu, press Share.

Step 06: Select AirDrop within the Share menu.

Step 07: Select the person or device you wish to transfer the file to.

Step 08: Press Done.

Airdrop On Mac Share Feature

6. How To Receive Files On Your Mac Using AirDrop

If you’re logged into the file sender’s iCloud account, the Mac device will accept the file automatically. The file will also be saved instantly. However, if this is not the case, the Mac device will ask your confirmation to accept the file. Here are the steps you should follow to receive files on your Mac using AirDrop:

Step 01: Select between these two options, “Save And Open” and “Save.”

Step 02: Wait until the downloading process is complete.

Step 03: Visit the Downloads folder on your Mac to find the file sent to you.

Airdrop On Mac Receive Files

7. How To Troubleshoot Problems With AirDrop On Mac

Here are the things you should do if you are having problems with sending and receiving files through AirDrop. The following solutions can be used to fix the issue:

  1. Make sure that your Mac and the Mac device you’re transferring to actually support AirDrop.
  2. Make sure that the two devices are running on mac OS X Yosemite or later versions.
  3. Make sure that the two devices’ AirDrop feature is enabled.
  4. Move the two devices closer to each other. AirDrop users have to be within 9 meters (30 feet) away from each other to enable sharing.
  5. If you are transferring between a Mac and an iOS device, make sure Personal Hotspot is turned off within the iOS device.
  6. If you are transferring between a Mac and an iOS device, make sure the iOS device has iOS 7 or later versions.
  7. If the two Mac devices is set up in a way that it only receives files from its contact list, ensure that both are signed into the iCloud accounts.
  8. If you are set up to receive files from your contact list, ensure that the phone number or email address connected to their Apple ID is saved within your Contacts app.
  9. You should check preferences for Security and Privacy. Make sure that the option “Block All Incoming Connections” is deactivated for both devices.
  10. If you are going to transfer a file to another device that runs on OS X Mavericks, Lion, or Mountain Lion, ask the person to open the window for AirDrop before starting the transfer.

Bonus: Optimizing Your Mac Towards Peak Performance

To make sure your Mac performs optimally, it is recommended that you use FoneDog PowerMyMac software. You can take advantage of the tool’s powerful features including the ability to uninstall applications without leaving residual components.

Plus, it can locate all unnecessary junk files within your system and delete them instantly. This multi-function tool allows you to manage your files, analyze your Wi-Fi connections, and delete unwanted data and applications. Download FoneDog PowerMyMac here.

In Conclusion

AirDrop on Mac is an easy way of transferring files from one device to another without using a cable. This wireless transfer technology has made leaps and bounds when it comes to sharing files between devices. As such, you can follow the steps above to use AirDrop on your Mac and troubleshoot problems whenever they arise.

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