December 12, 2023

Novoda Software

Software Guides and Reviews

How to Activate AirDrop

A system for the free and safe exchange of files and data between mobile devices is the ongoing target of much debate. The problem lies in balancing three criteria: safety, ease of use, and transfer speed. One of the best solutions to date is mobile ad-hoc networks, such as Apple’s AirDrop.

You already know that AirDrop is a very useful feature and you’ll learn how to use it in this article. The process for activating it is similar for iPhone and iPad users, and these instructions will work on both devices. How to activate AirDrop on your Mac will be covered separately.

Activating AirDrop on iPhones and iPads

AirDrop essentially creates a Wi-Fi connection between your device and the person on the receiving end. Both participants need to have their AirDrop activated to use the network. When you’re enabling the feature on your device, you’ll choose who gets to send you file. You can stick to only your contacts, or choose everyone. There is a growing trend of people sending unwanted AirDrops, so it’s safer to only accept transfers from contacts.

Make sure your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are both enabled, then follow these steps to activate AirDrop:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to access your “Control Center.”
  2. Tap on the “AirDrop” button. On some models, such as the iPhone XR, you’ll first access the connection settings by pressing and holding the network card containing the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options.
  3. You should see a menu with options to receive from “Contacts Only” or “Everyone.” Choose the one you want to use.

If Receiving Off is selected and you can’t change it, you’ll need to adjust your privacy settings. Go to the “Content & Privacy Restrictions” in your settings and look in the “Allowed Apps.” Make sure AirDrop is allowed.

You can also perform this operation from your general settings. Find the AirDrop options and check on the receiving option you want.

AirDrop options

Now, you can send and receive files via AirDrop, and it will remain activated until you choose to disable it. To reverse the process, follow the same steps but select “Receiving Off” in the options.

Activating AirDrop on Your Mac

To use AirDrop on your Mac, you’ll need to be running Mac OS X Lion or later operating systems. AirDrop works across platforms too, allowing you to send and receive files from computer to mobile and vice-versa. Follow these steps to activate AirDrop on a Mac:

  1. Access your Finder by clicking on the icon on the bottom left of your screen.
  2. Click on the “Airdrop” tag in the left-hand options menu. At the bottom of the AirDrop window, you can choose who to receive AirDrops from.


On the AirDrop window, you’ll see your contacts that you can share files with as well as any other AirDrop-enabled devices within range. Now that you’ve activated your AirDrop, it’s time to learn how to use it.

Sharing With AirDrop

Receiving files with AirDrop really doesn’t require much action on your part. Any file you receive via AirDrop is automatically placed in your Downloads folder on macOS. On your mobile device, you can access AirDropped files through the associated app for that file type—you’ll find pictures in the photo gallery and so on.

To send files via AirDrop, you’ll need to fulfill some conditions first. Make sure you are within Wi-Fi and Bluetooth range (Bluetooth isn’t used to send the file but it’s necessary to establish the connection). Turn off the personal hotspot and have the recipient turn it off as well, as this would interfere with the connection protocol.

At this point, you need to check the AirDrop settings. If the recipient has their AirDrop set to Contacts Only, then you must be on their contacts list for them to receive files from you. If that’s not an option, you can ask them to switch their settings to accept AirDrops from everyone.


When you’re all set up, choose any file in any app and then tap on the “Share” button. In the file-sharing options, you’ll see a list of people you can send files to via AirDrop. Any application that has the Share option will allow you to use AirDrop.

AirDropping Some Truth

Activating AirDrop is a very simple process. All you have to do is access your Control Center on your mobile device and tap on the AirDrop icon. On a Mac, you’ll find the AirDrop options in the Finder.

Once you get used to sharing files with AirDrop, it will make you wish this type of technology existed across all available platforms. Maybe it will soon.

What types of file sharing did you use before you started AirDropping? How long do you think it will be until this type of network protocol becomes the standard for file sharing? Tell us about your experiences with AirDrop in the comments.