AirDrop Not Working on Mac, iPhone, or iPad? Tips to Fix the Issue

There could be multiple culprits that may be preventing AirDrop from working between your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Follow this comprehensive troubleshooting guide to resolve the issue.

I prefer AirDrop for a couple of reasons: smooth and secure file transfer. Another notable feature of this wireless file transfer feature is that it keeps the original quality of a file intact. Unfortunately, something went wrong the other day, and AirDrop suddenly stopped working on my Mac and iPhone. So, what brought it to a halt?

In my case, I just had to set my Mac discoverable by “Everyone.” And once it was done, I could share files without any issue. But then again, it might not be so straightforward for you (Though I wish it were).

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Having tried out several solutions, I can tell that there could be several culprits behind the problem. For instance, poor Wi-Fi or even an unknown bug might be at the heart of the issue. So, you might have to try out more than one trick to troubleshoot AirDrop issues on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

To ensure you don’t have to travel to a long distance, we are going to start with some basic tips and then a practical solution that has worked for many. In most cases, you can get rid of the issue by trying out that trick. Just in case that doesn’t yield the desired result, you would have to move to the next fixes.

Is AirDrop Not Working in iOS 12 and macOS Devices? Follow These Tips to Fix

Mac-to-Mac AirDrop support:

  • Late-2008 MacBook Pro, excluding late-2008 17-inch MacBook Pro
  • Late-2010 MacBook Air
  • Late-2008 MacBook, excluding late-2008 white MacBook
  • Early-2015 MacBook with 12-inch Retina display
  • Early-2009 iMac
  • Mid-2010 Mac mini
  • Early-2009 Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme card
  • Mid-2010 Mac Pro

Mac-to-iDevice AirDrop support devices:

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  • Mid-2012 MacBook Air
  • Mid-2012 MacBook Pro
  • Early-2015 MacBook with 12-inch Retina display
  • Late-2012 iMac
  • Late-2012  Mac mini
  • Late-2013 Mac Pro

iOS-to-iOS AirDrop support devices:

  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
  • Fifth and sixth-generation iPod touch
  • Fourth-generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro
  • Original iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4

macOS and the iOS requirement for AirDrop:

  • Your iPhone or iPad should be running iOS 7 or later to support AirDrop
  • On Mac, the OS X has to be Yosemite or later

Assuming you have compatible hardware and software, let’s get started, make sure you have done following things on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac:

#1. Check if your Device is in Airplane mode

Turn Off Airplane Mode on iPhone X

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Ensure that Airplane Mode is turned off on your iOS devices. It’s because when it’s enabled, it turns off the radios. If you notice and Airplane icon on the top of your iPhone or iPad screen, then bring up control center and hit the Airplane icon to disable it and try using AirDrop, if it doesn’t solve the issue, keep trying other tips given below.

#2. Check Do Not Disturb is disabled

Be sure Do Not Disturb mode is disabled both on your iOS and macOS devices. When DND is enabled, notifications are silenced. Knowing that when a file is sent via AirDrop, you receive an alert. That’s why it’s better to turn off DND.

On your iOS device, open SettingsDo Not Disturb and turn off the switch.

Turn Off Do Not Disturb on iPhone

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On your Mac, click on the menu icon at the top right corner and then turn off the switch next to Do Not Disturb.

Turn Off Do Not Disturb on Mac

#3. Disable Personal Hotspot

It is recommended to disable Personal Hotspot. It’s because both AirDrop and Personal Hotspot need Wifi and if one of them is already enabled, it may prevent the other from functioning.

Launch Settings app on your iOS device → Personal Hotspot and turn off the switch next to it.

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Turn Off Personal Hotspot in iOS 12

On your Mac, click on Wifi icon in the menu bar and then disconnect your computer from Personal Hotspot.

#4. Check Bluetooth settings

AirDrop uses Bluetooth discovery and therefore make sure to keep your devices within 30 feet. At times, physical obstacles like concrete walls seem to come in the way. Hence, it would be better to (if needed) move your devices closer to boost the Bluetooth reception.

Besides that, make sure Bluetooth is turned On on your Mac. If it is not, click Bluetooth icon on the top-right side → and click Turn On Bluetooth.

#5. Check device’s discoverability

Let’s assume you have everything in place to use AirDrop on your iPhone and Mac, but you might have accidentally disabled the discoverability of your device.

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings → General → AirDrop and tap on “Everyone.”

Select Everyone in iPhone AirDrop Settings

On your Mac, Open Finder → AirDrop → and select “Everyone” from where it says “Allow me to be discovered by”

Enable AirDrop for Everyone on Mac

#6. Check File type support

iPhone and iPad have a feature to open the received files and if you send multiple file format at once, it might result in an error. For example, if you are sending an image file along with a PDF file, the transfer won’t be successful.

Do not send multiple file types at once. For instance, avoid sending images, web links, docs at one go. For the best result, send only one file type at a time.

#7. A Fresh start of iOS and macOS

Sometimes doing simple things can resolve the most complicated issue. So let’s give it a try by restarting things from scratch.

Turn Off Bluetooth and WiFi on your iOS device and Mac. Restart both the devices and turn on Bluetooth and WiFi again on both the devices. Trying sending one file and see if AirDrop works.

#8. Check Firewall settings

You might not remember that accidentally you may have disabled incoming connections in the Firewall settings on your Mac. Try checking it and allow incoming connections if you have disabled.

Step #1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.

Open System Preferences on Mac

Step #2. Now, click on Security & Privacy.

Click on Security & Privacy in Mac System Preferences

Step #3. Next, select the Firewall tab → click the Lock icon in the lower left corner of the window.

Click Firewall Tab then Click on Lock Icon

Then enter your administrator password to change this setting.

Enter administrator password to Unlock Settings on Mac

Step #4. Next up, click Firewall Options and uncheck the box next to “Block all incoming connections.”

Click Firewall Options in Mac Security & PrivacyUncheck the Box next to Block all incoming connections in Mac Security and Privacy

#9. Reset Network Settings

Another trick that I would suggest you give a try is to refresh the network settings. But if you find this solution a bit radical, there is one more option, and that is to disconnect the device from the Wifi network and reconnect.

To do so, open Settings → Wi-Fi → tap on the “i” button next to the Wifi network → Forget This Network and confirm. If it doesn’t solve the problem, then reset the network.

Step #1. Launch the Settings app on your iOS device → General.

Tap on Settings then General on iDevice

Step #2. Now, tap on Reset → Reset Network Settings and confirm.

Tap on Reset Network Settings on iPhone or iPad

On Your Mac:

Step #1. Launch System Preferences and click on Network.

Open System Preferences and click on Network on Mac

Step #2. Now, choose Wi-Fi in the list on the left and click Advanced.

Choose Wi-Fi and click Advanced in Mac Network

Step #3. Next, choose the network you want to forget and then click on (-) to remove.

Choose Network you want to forget and then click minus to remove on Mac

Now, reconnect to the Wifi network on your iPhone and Mac. After that, check out if you have finally resolved the issue or not.

#10. Remove Non-Standard characters in Your Mac’s and iPhone’s Name

You should never use weird characters in your device name as they may make it a bit difficult for AirDrop to discover your device. For example, be sure not to use spaces and special characters like *, $, #, and %. If you already have non-standard characters, try changing it to something straightforward.

On your Mac: Open System Preferences → Sharing → Computer Name and change it.

Change Computer Name in Sharing Settings on Mac

On your iPhone and iPad: Open Settings → General → About → Name and edit it.

Change iPhone Name in Settings

Once you have edited the name, reboot your devices for a better result. Then see if the issue is resolved.

#11. iOS and macOS Update

If there is no respite yet, go for the software update. Apple’s operating systems often bring fixes to several annoying bugs. Therefore, it would be better to go for the update.

Update iOS on Your iPhone or iPad

Step #1. Open Settings app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Now, tap on GeneralSoftware Update.

Step #3. Next, download and install the software on your device (if it’s waiting for you.)

Tap on Settings Then General then Software Update on iPhone or iPad

On your Mac

Step #1. Open Mac App Store on your Mac.

Step #2. Now, click on Updates and then update the software as usual.

The process of updating software has slightly changed in macOS Mojave. To do so, follow this quick guide.

#12. Fix Bluetooth Stack on your Mac

If all of the fixes mentioned above have failed, we can assume that the Bluetooth on your Mac is the culprit. You need to turn off Bluetooth on your Mac and delete the plist file.

To do so, Open Finder → Library → Preferences and delete com.apple.Bluetooth.plist

Next, restart your Mac and then turn On Bluetooth. On your iOS devices, select a file, preferably a photo and see if your Mac is displayed on the list of shareable devices. If it has, things are back to normal.

#13. Unplug Ethernet cable

If you are using the internet using an ethernet cable, it won’t allow you to use AirDrop using Wifi. Just unplug the ethernet cable and turn On Wifi and your AirDrop should work flawlessly. If this too didn’t help, last option is to get in touch with the Apple Support.

#14. Contact Apple Support

If none of the fixes helped you resolve the issue, it might be a genuine radio related issue. The last resort is to get in Touch with Apple as it is more likely to be a hardware related issue.

That’s pretty much it!

Wrapping up:

Let me know which one of the above solutions fixed AirDrop. Oh yes, if you succeeded in resolving the issue using other tricks that are not mentioned above, do tell us about that as well.

You might want to read these posts as well:

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Dhvanesh Adhiyahttps://www.igeeksblog.com
Dhvanesh Adhiya is the founder and editor-in-chief who takes care of audio, visual, and textual contents uploaded on iGeeksBlog.com. He is passionate about wonderful apps that change the way your iPhone interacts in your life.

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