How to Use AirDrop on iPhone and iPad

AirDrop lets you send and receive videos, photos, contacts, etc. with nearby iPhone, iPad, and Mac wirelessly. Sharing via AirDrop is easy-to-use, fast, secure, and it happens without the loss of quality. Let us dig in and see how to use AirDrop.

How Does AirDrop Work?

AirDrop creates a peer to peer network between devices. But you do need to take care of the following points.

  • Ensure that devices are near, within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth must be enabled on both devices
  • Personal Hotspot must be off on both the sender’s and receiver’s devices
  • The person receiving the files via AirDrop has three visibility options: EveryoneContacts Only, and Receiving Off.
  • If Contacts Only (or Receiving Off) is selected, that means AirDrop is restricted for unknown people (or all). If your email or phone number is in the Contacts on the receiver’s iPad or iPhone, you can send files even when their AirDrop visibility is Contacts Only. If not, ask them to set AirDrop to Everyone.

How to Turn On AirDrop on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Control Center.
    • On your iPad running iOS 12 and later, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen
    • On iPad running iOS 11 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen
    • On your iPhone 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, 11, Xs Max, Xs, XR, and iPhone X swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen
    • On iPhone SE 2020, 8 Plus, and earlier, swipe up the screen from the bottom
  2. Long press on the top right box with icons for Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.Open Control Center and Long Press on Wifi Box
  3. The box will expand
  4. Now, Tap on AirDrop icon and select Contacts Only or Everyone to turn on AirDrop.Turn ON AirDrop on iPhone

Now, let us see how to use it to send and accept files. You must know that you are not limited to photos and videos. Pretty much everything that is visible on a Share Sheet can be shared using AirDrop. This means you can AirDrop a website link, note, Apple Maps location, and more.

How to Use AirDrop on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open an app (like Photos). Select one or multiple items, if applicable.Open Photos App and Tap on Select
  2. Tap on Share or the Share icon.
  3. Next, tap on AirDrop.Select Images Tap on Share and Then Tap on AirDrop
  4. Finally, tap on the person’s name.

If the person is in your contact list, you will see their name and image. If a person is not in your contact list, you will only see the name. You can also AirDrop between your own Apple devices.

Select Device and Tap on Done to Share Files Using AirDrop on iPhone

With iOS 13 and iPadOS, recent AirDrop contact is also shown on the top row of Share Sheet.

How to Accept Airdrop on iPhone and iPad

When somebody shares anything with you via AirDrop, a popup appears on your device screen. It has two options – Accept or Decline.

Accept Airdrop on iPhone

For most files, when you tap Accept, it will save and open in the same app it was sent from.

Like, images shared via AirDrop will appear in the Photos app on your device. Website links will open in Safari, and App links will automatically open in the App Store. But for some file types like PDF, you may get an option to save it to Books, Files app, or other apps. You will see a popup after AirDrop transfer is complete. Tap on the app name as desired.

If you tap Decline, the AirDrop is canceled. No file is received.

When you AirDrop to one of your own Apple devices (devices with same Apple ID), then you will not see the option to Accept or Decline. It is automatically sent (and received.)

AirDrop is amazing. Like iMessage, it is one of the things that makes Apple ecosystem seamless and worth sticking to. But, there can be situations when you may want to stop or block AirDrop. Let us talk about it in the subsequent section.

How to Stop AirDrop with Screen Time

If you are in the subway, bus, or public, you may want to change AirDrop settings so that you do not get requests to accept unsolicited pictures, videos, and files. The easiest option is to set AirDrop receiving to Contacts Only or Receiving Off. You can do this from Control Center as explained above.

  1. Open the Settings app on the device
  2. Tap on Screen Time. Turn on Screen Time, if not already
  3. Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions.Open Settings Tap on Screen Time and Then Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions
  4. Tap Allowed Apps. Enter the Screen Time passcode.Tap on Allowed Apps and Enter Screen Time Passcode
  5. Turn off the toggle for AirDrop.Stop AirDrop with Screen Time on iPhone

The steps to enable AirDrop again are the same. In step 5, turn on the toggle for AirDrop.

The second method is to use the Settings app to disable AirDrop.

  1. Open the Settings app → General.Launch Settings and Tap on General on iPhone
  2. Then tap on AirDrop and select Receiving Off to disable AirDrop.Disable AirDrop from iPhone Settings

Signing Off…

This is how you can use AirDrop on your iOS and iPadOS devices. The basic instructions for Mac are the same. You will find AirDrop settings in Finder’s left sidebar on Mac.

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I have been an Apple user for over seven years now. At iGeeksBlog, I love creating how-tos and troubleshooting guides that help people do more with their iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods, and Apple Watch. In my free time, I like to watch stand up comedy videos, tech documentaries, news debates, and political speeches.