AirDrop is an Apple service that allows users to quickly and securely transfer data between their different Apple devices. AirDrop uses both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection to provide quick data transfer, making it super easy to exchange files between your devices.
However, it is not uncommon for users to experience problems with it that cause the service to stop working. Usually, the cause for the problem isn’t something serious and its fix could be as simple as resetting the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection of your devices. That said, it is usually not clear what is causing the problem, so you may have to try a couple of different things before you could start using AirDrop once more. Below, we have listed the most common techniques that people use to resolve any problems related to the AirDrop service, so we suggest that you try them one by one if you are in a similar situation.
Mac Devices compatible with AirDrop
AirDrop has been around for quite some time, so chances are that the cause for it not working in your case isn’t compatibility related. Nevertheless, here are the Apple devices that are compatible with the feature. If one or more of your devices doesn’t fall in the group of ones compatible with AirDrop, then this is the reason the feature isn’t working in your case:
AirDrop data transfer between Macs and iOS devices
- Macs manufactured in 2012 or later that have macOS Yosemite or later (except mid-2012 Mac Pro models).
- iOS devices with iOS 7 or later.
AirDrop data transfer between Macs only
- MacBook Pro released in 2008 or later with the exception of MacBook Pro 17-inch from late 2008
- MacBook Air released in late 2010 or after that.
- MacBook models released in late 2008 or later with the exception of white MacBooks introduced in late 2008.
- iMacs released in late 2009 or after that.
- Mac mini models from mid-2010 or later.
- All iMac Pro models.
Airdrop not working Fix
Adjust the AirDrop settings
There are three main AirDrop connection settings that largely determine how the feature behaves. Those are Off, Contacts Only, and Everyone. The Contacts Only setting is the one that’s recommended as it will only allow your device to connect and transfer data via AirDrop only to those devices that the device you are currently using recognizes. However, this could sometimes be limiting and cause the AirDrop feature to not work when you want it to. This is why it may help if you switch to the Everyone setting that will allow AirDrop to connect to any Apple device that’s nearby. The Off setting is self-explanatory.
How to change the AirDrop settings on iPhone/iPad
- Go to Settings.
- Select the General section.
- Tap on the AirDrop button.
- Select the Everyone option.
How to change the AirDrop settings on Mac
- Open Finder on your Mac.
- Select the AirDrop icon from the sidebar to the left.
- Click on the Everyone option.
Reset Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection
This may sound like a very simple fix but it is not uncommon for a temporary bug in your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity to cause problems with features that depend on them, such as AirDrop.
Resetting the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection on your iPhone or iPad is as simple as going to Settings, selecting the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth icon, and switching off and then back on the toggle button.
To reset the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on your Mac, select the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth menu from the Menu Bar and click on the Turn Wi-Fi/Turn Bluetooth off option. After that, go back to the same menu and click the Turn Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on button.
Restart your device
Another simple method that oftentimes manages to fix trivial problems that could sometimes cause features such as AirDrop to stop functioning properly.
To restart your Mac, simply click on the Apple logo button, select the Restart option, and wait for the computer to reboot.
For older iPhones/iPads that still have mechanical Home buttons, hold down the Power button and then press and hold the Home button as well. Keep holding the two until your screen goes black and lights up again and then release them.
For iPhone 7, hold the Home button and then press and hold the Volume Down button until the device restarts.
For iPhone 8 and newer, quickly press and release the Volume Up and then the Volume Down buttons and then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and keep holding it until the restart is complete.
Update your software
Outdated software could often be the cause of problems such as AirDrop not working. It is almost always a good idea to keep your devices up to date in order to avoid such issues. In most cases, Apple products update automatically without needing the user to do anything. However, in some instances, you could quicken up the process in case a needed update is still not installed, so here is how you can do that:
- Go to Settings > General and select the Software Update option.
- If you see that there are available updates that are not yet installed on your iPhone/iPad device, click on the Install button to get them installed and wait for the process to finish.
- It is suggested that you restart the device before you try to use AirDrop again.
Log out and then log back in to your iCloud account
Signing out of iCloud and then signing back in to it could also help with a variety of annoying problems such as this one. Go to Settings on your device, select your iCloud/Apple ID account and then tap on Sign Out. Next, sign back in and test the AirDrop feature to see if it is working now.
Reset the network settings
Try this method only if the previous ones didn’t’ work because after you reset the network settings of your device, you will have to manually reconnect to the Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices that you normally use together with your current device. This includes typing the passwords for each Wi-Fi network the next time you try to connect to it. That said, here is how you can do it:
- Go to the Settings app on your device and select the General tab.
- Select the option labelled Reset and scroll down until you get to the bottom and see the Reset Network Settings option.
- Tap on Reset Network Settings and provide your passcode if required to do so.
- Tap again on Reset Network Settings to complete the action.