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iPhone Tips: How to properly use Airdrop on iPhones

Apple’s proprietary technology for file sharing among iOS devices and Macs can be daunting to use for the first time. Here’s a little guide for Airdrop.

How to share content with AirDrop

Use AirDrop to share content from apps like Photos, Safari, Contacts, and more. Here’s how:

  1. Open an app and find the content that you want to share. To share multiple items, tap Select, then tap the items. With iOS 10 and later, you can also share links to apps with AirDrop. Just press and hold the app icon on the Home screen.

  2. Tap Share.

  3. Tap the AirDrop user that you want to share content with. You can also AirDrop content between your Apple devices. Don’t see the AirDrop user? Learn what to do.

How to receive content with AirDrop

When someone shares content with you using AirDrop, you see an alert with a preview of the content and can tap Accept or Decline.

If you tap Accept, you get the content in the app it was sent from. For example, photos appear in the Photos app and websites open in Safari. App links open in the App Store so you can download or purchase the app.

If you AirDrop content to yourself, like share a photo from your iPhone to your Mac, you won’t see an option to Accept or Decline. The content is automatically sent to that device. Just make sure that both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID.

How to set your AirDrop receiving options

You can go to Settings > General > AirDrop to choose who can see your device in AirDrop and send you content. You can also set your AirDrop receiving options in Control Center. Here’s how:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center. On iPhone X, swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen.

  2. Press deeply or touch and hold the network settings card in the upper-left corner, then tap AirDrop. If you’re using iOS 10.3.3 or earlier, tap AirDrop.

  3. Then choose one of these options:

    • Receiving Off: You won’t receive AirDrop requests.

    • Contacts Only: Only your contacts can see your device.

    • Everyone: All nearby iOS devices using AirDrop can see your device.

If you see Receiving Off and can’t tap to change it, go to Settings > General > Restrictions and make sure that AirDrop is turned on.

What if you can’t see the other device in AirDrop

If you can’t see the person or the device that you’re trying to AirDrop to, check the following:

  • Check that both of you have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on. If either of you have Personal Hotspot on, turn it off.

  • Make sure that the person you’re sending to is nearby. You can’t AirDrop to users who are out of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range.

  • If the other person’s AirDrop receiving setting is set to Contacts Only, and you’re not in their Contacts, have them set their AirDrop receiving setting to Everyone.


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