AirDrop lets you quickly and easily transfer files between iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Updated May 2017: Added new screenshots and updated text to reflect changes in iOS 10.
Using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to broadcast, discover, and negotiate connections, and point-to-point Wi-Fi to transfer information AirDrop is fast, power-efficient, and secure. When you’re using it between iPhones and iPads, you can AirDrop photos, videos, contacts, Passbook passes, Voice Memos, Map location, and any and everything else that appears on a Share sheet.
How to turn on (or off) AirDrop for iPhone or iPad
AirDrop lets you choose between enabling it for just your contacts or for everyone. “Contacts” requires more work, as you and the person you want to AirDrop with both have to be logged into iCloud and be in each other’s Contacts. “Everyone” is easier but means random people you don’t know can send you prank AirDrops.
- Launch Control Center by swiping up from the bottom bezel of your iPhone or iPad.
- Make sure both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are active. (You don’t have to be on a Wi-Fi network, you just need WI-Fi on to transfer.)
- Tap AirDrop.
- Tap Off to disable AirDrop, Contacts Only to enable only your contacts to AirDrop you, or Everyone to let everyone AirDrop you.
- If you choose Contacts Only, make sure you’re logged into iCloud.
Note: Apple won’t share your contacts with another device to determine if there’s a match, it’ll check both your iCloud accounts instead. Then, if there is a match, it’ll show you your own version of the contact on your own device. That way, no data gets leaked.
How to AirDrop files from your iPhone or iPad
You can AirDrop files from any iPhone or iPad app that includes the built-in Share sheet, and you can share to anyone, and any of their devices, that show up in the Share sheet.
- Got to the file you’d like to send with AirDrop.
- Tap the Share button.
- Tap the person and device you want to share to.
Because AirDrop shows your picture for any and all contacts, if you’re trying to AirDrop to someone with multiple devices, you could see their picture multiple times in the Sheet. You will see their device name, however, which should make sure you pick the right one.
How to troubleshoot AirDrop on iPhone and iPhone
If contacts don’t show up in the AirDrop interface, try these solutions, in order:
- Toggle Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi off and back on, or toggle Airplane Mode on and off to reset the connections.
- Turn off Instant Hotspot to free up the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.
- Temporarily switch to Everyone to remove any chance of contact mismatch.
How to AirDrop from your Mac