Before the introduction of wireless transfer technology, people had to carry clunky cables around in case they needed to transfer an important file. Now, thanks to services like Apple AirDrop, it’s easy to transfer files from one Mac to another without the need to plug in anything. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s a quick guide on how to use AirDrop on your Mac.

How AirDrop Works

Because AirDrop is used to transfer files on your Mac wirelessly, it relies on your Mac’s Bluetooth and Wi-fi connections to work. It does this first by using your Mac’s Bluetooth connection to find nearby devices that has AirDrop enabled. Then, it uses your Mac’s Wi-fi connection to establish a link called Wi-fi Direct which allows your Mac to transfer larger files at a faster rate.

How to Activate AirDrop on Your Mac

To turn on and use AirDrop on Mac,

  1. Open “Finder”
  2. Select “Go” from the menu bar.
  3. Look for “AirDrop.”
  4. Wait for an AirDrop window to open.
  5. If your Mac’s Bluetooth or Wi-fi is turned off, you will be asked to turn them on. If they are, AirDrop will be automatically activated.
  6. In the AirDrop window, you will be asked to choose who you want to see your device.
  7. Click on the “Allow me to be discovered by everyone” option.
  8. Pick whether you want your Mac to be paired with the device of someone in your Contacts or with the device of anyone within your Mac’s Bluetooth range.

How to Use AirDrop to Send Files From Your Mac

Once AirDrop has been activated, you may start using it to send files. You may do this either by using the drag and drop method, using the context menu, or using the share sheet.

To use AirDrop on Mac using the drag and drop method,

  1. Choose the “AirDrop” option from the sidebar of the Finder window.
  2. Wait for the list of AirDrop users within your Mac’s Bluetooth range to appear.
  3. Go to the location of the file that you want to share.
  4. Drag the files that you want to send to the recipient’s image in the window.
  5. Hit “Send.”

To use AirDrop on Mac using the Context menu,

  1. Open the “Finder” menu.
  2. Go to the location of the file that you want to send.
  3. Highlight the file that you want to send.
  4. Hold the “Control” key while right clicking on the mouse.
  5. Select “Share” from the menu.
  6. Choose “AirDrop” from the “Share” menu.
  7. Pick the person you want to send a file to.
  8. Click “Done.”

To use AirDrop on Mac using the “Share” feature (applies when using iOS devices to transfer files to a Mac),

  1. Go to the location of the file that you want to share.
  2. Look for the “Share” option on your app.
  3. Highlight the file that you want to send.
  4. Hold the “Control” key while right clicking on the mouse.
  5. Select “Share” from the menu.
  6. Choose “AirDrop” from the “Share” menu.
  7. Pick the person you want to send a file to.
  8. Click “Done.”

How to Use AirDrop to Receive Files on Your Mac

If you are already signed in to the sender’s iCloud account, your Mac will automatically accept and save the file. If not, your Mac will ask your permission first before it accepts the file.

To receive files using AirDrop on Mac,

  1. Choose between the “Save” or “Save and Open” options.
  2. Wait for the file to finish downloading.
  3. Go to the “Downloads” folder to find your file.

What to Do If You’re Having Problems With Using AirDrop on Your Mac

If you’re having a hard time sending or receiving files via AirDrop, you can try the following solutions to fix the problem:

  1. Confirm if the Mac that you and the other party is using support AirDrop.
  2. Confirm if your Mac or the other party’s Mac is running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  3. Confirm if both the AirDrop feature of your Mac and the Mac of the other party are activated.
  4. If neither you nor the other party is showing up on your devices, move a little closer to each other. AirDrop users need to be within 30 feet or 9 meters of each other in order to enable sharing.
  5. If you are trying to receive files from an iOS device to your Mac, make sure that the iOS device is using iOS 7 or later and has the “Personal Hotspot” feature turned off.
  6. If either of your Macs is set up to receive files from contacts only, make sure you sign in to your iCloud accounts first.
  7. If you are receiving files from a contact, make sure that the email address or phone number linked to their Apple ID is in your Contacts app.
  8. Confirm that the “Block all incoming connections” option on either of your Macs is not turned on in the Security and Privacy preferences.
  9. If you are sending a file to another party using a Mac running on OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, or Lion, ask them to open an AirDrop window before you initiate the transfer.

AirDrop Availability

AirDrop is only available on certain MacBook models. To know if you can use AirDrop on your Mac, please refer to the list below.

  1. MacBook Pro (Late 2008) or later except for the MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008)
  2. MacBook Air (Late 2010) or later
  3. MacBook (Late 2008) or later except for the white MacBook (Late 2008)
  4. iMac (Early 2009) or later
  5. Mac Mini (Mid 2010) or later
  6. Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010)