AirDrop Not Working How To Fix, Step By Step

Anyone using an iPhone and a Mac will surely have experienced the benefits of AirDrop at least once. It is one of the most interesting features of the Apple ecosystem, as it allows and simplifies the secure transfer of files, documents, contacts, passwords, and much more between smartphones and computers using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network connections. 

AirDrop is generally very effective and simple to use, but sometimes it is possible to run into some problems that hinder normal operation, such as the failure to locate one of the two devices. If you have noticed that AirDrop is not working, do not despair: we will explain how to try to solve it thanks to a few simple steps. 


  • Requirements
  • How to get files from anyone
  • Check Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • The iPhone cannot find the Mac
  • How to restore iPhone and iPad
  • Contact Apple Support

AirDrop requirements

AirDrop requirements
AirDrop requirements

If AirDrop doesn’t work, the first thing to do is make sure your devices support this built-in feature in the Apple ecosystem.

Specifically, AirDrop on iOS is compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad 4th generation and later
  • iPad mini (all models)
  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPod touch 5th generation or later

AirDrop on Mac also has full-scale compatibility:

  • MacBook Pro (late 2008 or newer), except for the 17-inch late 2008 model
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (late 2008 or newer), except for the late 2008 MacBook
  • iMac (early 2009 and later
  • Mac mini (mid-2010 and new models
  • Mac Pro (early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card or mid-2010)

However, to send or receive files and items to or from an iPhoneiPad, or iPod Touch, you must have a 2012 or later Mac (excluding the Mid 2012 Mac Pro) running OS X Yosemite or later.

In any case, you can check the compatibility of the service on Mac by clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock and then pressing the item “Go to the menu bar”: AirDrop must be among the options proposed in the drop-down menu. 

AirDrop: how to receive files from anyone

AirDrop how to receive files from anyone
AirDrop how to receive files from anyone

By default, AirDrop is set to send or receive items that come only from personal contacts. If the function does not allow you, for example, to receive files from third parties, it is likely that the user is not included in your contact list. You can therefore add it as a contact, or set AirDrop in a generalized way. Let’s see how to do it.

Let’s start with iPhone and iPad. Open the Settings app (the one with the gear icon) and tap on “General”, then press on ” AirDrop ” (the third item in the list) and tap on “All“.

Now move to the Mac and open a Finder window; then select AirDrop from the sidebar (or alternatively, press the Command + Shift + R key sequence at the same time).

At this point, click on “Allow me to be discovered by” and select the ” Everyone ” option from the drop-down menu.

This way, you’ll be able to receive files from anyone rather than just people in the Contacts app.

AirDrop not working: Check Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

As we briefly explained at the beginning of the article, the operation of AirDrop is based on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, necessary to ensure a wireless transfer of various elements between smartphone and computer without having to connect the two devices via cable.

If AirDrop is not working, it is possible that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are not active on the devices. If you have any problems, try disabling both options and re-enabling them. 

To activate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iPhone or iPad, simply swipe from top to bottom in the right corner of the device and press the keys corresponding to the two functions just mentioned. Alternatively, open the Settings app and activate the ” Wi-Fi ” and ” Bluetooth ” options (second and third items).

To activate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on macOS, simply click on the Control Center icon to the right of the menu bar and press the corresponding boxes.

If the problem persists, we suggest you reset the network settings on your iPhone and iPad. In this way, no data will be deleted on the device, but there will only be a factory reset related to wireless connections. 

The procedure is identical on both smartphones and tablets. Open the Settings app, scroll down and click on “General”. In the new screen, click on “Transfer or initialize iPhone / iPad” (depending on the model, this is still the penultimate item), tap on “Reset” and finally select ” Reset network settings “. 

The device will restart for a few minutes. When finished, you will have to re-log into your previously stored Wi-Fi networks.

Disable Personal Hotspot on iPhone

Is AirDrop still not working? Don’t despair, there is still some solution.

Have you deactivated the “Personal Hotspot” function?

Do not neglect this option, as the presence of an active hotspot (which is used to extend the wireless connection to another device that does not have one, such as a Mac or an iPad in Wi-Fi configuration), will prevent the correct functioning of AirDrop.

To deactivate the option, proceed as follows. Open the Settings app on the iPhone and click on ” Personal Hotspot ” (fifth entry), turning off the corresponding switch. 

The iPhone cannot find the Mac

In order to be able to transfer items from iPhone to Mac and vice versa, it is essential that both devices are nearby. An excessive distance, in fact, will prevent the normal functioning of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. Also, the iPhone must be unlocked and with the display turned on

If the iPhone cannot find the Mac, proceed as follows instead. From your computer, tap on the Apple symbol in the menu bar and select System Preferences. On the next screen, press the left mouse button on the Security and Privacy option, click on the lock and enter the administrator password to log in.

On the next screen, click on Firewall Options and uncheck the box next to ” Block all incoming connections “Now check” Automatically allow integrated software to receive incoming connections “.

How to restore iPhone and iPad

How to restore iPhone and iPad
How to restore iPhone and iPad

If none of the above steps led to the resolution of the problem, then you need to reset iPhone. The process varies according to the model you have. 

However, before doing anything, it is a good idea to back up your personal data on iCloud, so as not to lose important files.

Check that the iCloud backup is active by entering the iPhone Settings and clicking on your name (this is the first icon that appears in the settings screen): choose the iCloud icon and on the next screen select iCloud Backup, taking care to check that the relevant option is active.

At this point, click on ” Back up now ” to start the procedure for storing personal data on the device.

Let’s see now how to restore iPhone. Enter the settings, click on ” General ” and scroll down until you find ” Transfer or initialize iPhone / iPad “: click on it and then click again on “Initialize content and settings”, then click on the “Continue” button “and after entering the unlock code, start the restore by clicking on” Initialize iPhone / iPad “.

Contact Apple Support

If after resetting the iPhone the AirDrop does not work, the only thing to do is to contact Apple support, by going to the nearest Apple Store. Alternatively, you can enter this page and contact Apple customer service according to the channels and times provided by the company.

Also, read about iPhone 14 Review: Apple Is Giving The iPhone 13 Another Chance, But Should You Take It?

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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