AirDrop: features and how to use it

AirDrop is a service available on iOS and macOS that allows file transfer between computers. In this article you'll find out what it is and how to use it.

AirDrop is a handy tool available on iOS devices and macOS computers, thanks to which users who own an Apple device can share photos, videos, websites, locations and more easily and instantly. The app also offers great advantages for easily moving one or more files from one Apple device to another, quickly transferring content from your PC to your smartphone and vice versa. With this short guide from Libero Tecnologia find out why and what are the advantages of choosing an Apple device, what AirDrop is and how to use this amazing software!

What is AirDrop

The AirDrop app is available for both most iOS devices and Mac computers however in some cases older devices may not support this feature. Specifically, in order to share content via AirDrop, you must have an Apple device that has an iOS 7 or later version, i.e. an iPhone 5 or higher smartphone or an iPad 4 or newer, while as for computers, they must be equipped with operating systems dating back to at least 2008 versions.

To check if your device is compatible with this feature, all you have to do is access the settings and look for the AirDrop concentric circles icon. Inoltre per condividere dei contenuti con i tuoi contatti tramite questa comoda app, dovrai tenere attivo sia il Wi-Fi che il Bluetooth, e dovrai accedere al tuo account iCloud. Di seguito trovi la lista completa di tutti i modelli di iDevice che supportano l’app AirDrop:

  • MacBook Pro (2008 o una versione più recente);
  • MacBook Air (2010 o una versione più recente);
  • MacBook (2008 o una versione più recente);
  • iMac (2009 o una versione più recente);
  • Mac mini (2010 o una versione più recente);
  • Mac Pro (2009 con scheda AirPort Extreme o 2010);
  • iPhone (5 o versioni più recenti);
  • iPad (quarta generazione o versioni più recenti);
  • iPad mini;
  • iPad Pro;
  • iPod touch (quinta generazione o versioni più recenti).

The service is designed specifically for those who need to quickly share a file; in particular, the app is great for transferring multimedia content from one device to another of the same user, without ingenious tricks like sending email messages to yourself, or uploading a file to the cloud and then copying it.

How to activate AirDrop

Depending on the Apple device you want to use, there are different ways and procedures to activate AirDrop. Here's how to do it in detail for each device.

Activate AirDrop on a Mac computer

The procedure to activate AirDrop on your Mac computer is extremely simple and will only take a few seconds: from the main menu bar of your PC, at the top left select the entry Go and click on the AirDrop icon. At this point a Finder window will open and you'll be able to start using the app as your sending computer right away. However, if yours is the target computer and you want to receive a file from a user who is not in your contact list, you'll first have to check the Allow to find me item at the bottom of the AirDrop screen.

Activate AirDrop on iPhone and iPad

If you're using an iOS device and want to set up AirDrop, simply swipe up from the bottom, select the Wi-Fi icon and then click AirDrop; from the menu that opens, you can choose whether to send or receive content via your device and you can also decide whether to receive items from anyone (by selecting the Everyone option) or only from people in your contacts list (by selecting the Contacts Only option). However, for some devices, including the latest model of iPhone X, the swipe gestures may be different: alternatively, you can always access AirDrop simply by going to the Settings of your device, under the General section.

It is important to keep in mind then that to transfer content is essential that the application is active on both devices that intend to connect through this system and that they must be within the range of maximum 9 meters from each other. AirDrop uses a simple and intuitive sharing method, and you can access it in several ways depending on the different devices and operating systems.

Sharing content with AirDrop

To share a file on your Mac with another Apple device using AirDrop, you have two options: in the first case you just have to select the content to be sent and drag and drop it in the Finder screen, select the contact who wants to receive the content and then click Finish. The second method is just as simple: you'll just have to right-click on the file you want to forward, select Share and then choose AirDrop. Many applications in the Mac Apple Store already have this feature preconfigured, making sharing available directly in the app: just click on the Share icon, choose AirDrop as the sharing method, select the recipient and then click Finish.

The process for sharing a file from another Apple device such as smartphones and tablets is very similar: just access the content you want to send on your device and click Share, then select the name of the user or Apple device nearby that you want to interact with. The other user will immediately receive a warning message on their device to accept or reject the file, and in a few seconds will get the content. The folder where the file is saved varies depending on the type of file: for example, images will be saved in the Photos app, while links will be opened through the Safari app, and so on.

What to do in case of problems

If AirDrop doesn't work, for example if you can't find the device with which you want to share a file in the AirDrop Finder, there are several options you can explore to activate the service. First of all, check if for security reasons you haven't previously enabled the "Prevent all incoming connections" setting: go to System Preferences, click on Security and Privacy, select Firewall, then press the lock at the bottom and type your password, then click on Firewall Options and uncheck the option that prevents sharing.

In addition, some pre-2012 Mac computer models may not appear immediately in the list of available devices. To do a manual search, go to the AirDrop Finder on the sending computer, and from the sharing screen, select the item Don't find who you're looking for? after which click Search for an older Mac. If you can not send an item to an iPhone or iPad, please note that the Hotspot function must be disabled on the latter: just go to the Settings section of iOS, click on Mobile Data and then on Personal Hotspot and then you have to turn off the switch next to the relevant item.

If none of the above solutions should suit you, do not worry: Apple offers one of the best support services to its customers. By simply connecting to Apple's home page you can see the information section on how to use AirDrop on Mac or how to use AirDrop on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and by going to one of the many Apple Stores scattered throughout the country you can ask for advice from an expert employee.