AirDrop is a file transmission tool that first debuted in OS X Lion. Prior to iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, the AirDrop protocols between Mac and iOS were not compatible. This incompatibility made AirDrop worthless in the eyes of many, as most casual users would prefer to exchange data between a Mac and an iOS device, instead of two Macs.

The AirDrop issue has been solved in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. AirDrop now works beautifully between a Mac and an iPhone, or a Mac and an iPad. It’s a great way to make quick transmissions between local devices. Watch our video walkthrough after the break for a demonstration of AirDrop in action.

To use AirDrop, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be enabled on both devices, but the devices don’t have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. You can manage AirDrop discovery on your Mac by clicking on the AirDrop folder in the Finder.

To send a file to your iPhone from your Mac, simply drag it on your iPhone’s icon in the AirDrop folder in the Finder. You can also use the share extensions found in OS X Yosemite to send files via AirDrop.

Now that iOS and OS X play nice together, the concept of AirDrop makes a lot more sense. The question is, do you plan on using AirDrop between your devices?

This post is an excerpt from iDB’s Yosemite Interactive Starter Guide. To learn about some of OS X Yosemite’s most outstanding new features, and to support iDB, you can download it on the iBooks Store for $0.99.

View all of the OS X Yosemite Interactive Stater Guide topics:

  • Fase Booc

    Unfortunately my iMac 8,1 which is not Airdrop compatible, but still enabled, can’t see my iPhone 5. Would be great to find a solution to make it work somehow.

    • Sicheng Xu

      When did you buy it? My MBP early 2011 version was not Airdrop compatible as well but I installed a newer version Mac’s wifi/bluetooth chip (bluetooth 4.0) on it and modified several system documents and it’s good to go now.

      • Fase Booc

        I bought it in april 2009 which is an iMac late 2008 24″. Even with Airdrop enabled within Terminal, I can’t see my iPhones.

      • Sicheng Xu

        Well…I think the bluetooth 4.0 is basic if you want to airdrop with your iPhone.

      • AminTj

        can you help more about it?
        my mac is macbook pro early 2011 late mc723 cant use airdrop between ios and osx!
        just osx to osx!

      • Sicheng Xu

        you have to replace your bluetooth chip with a newer version chip (in your case get a macbook A1278 bluetooth chip). if you want some replacing guide go to iFixit.

      • AminTj

        thanks 😉

      • nccruz

        will 4.0 work or do I get the 2.1

      • I’m trying to do this.
        I have an A1278 to remove parts, so its okay.
        What i need to do next?

      • I installed the 4.0 card on my MBP 8,1 and used the “tool” to get it working. It installed the files but still doesn’t work. On a side note, the wifi is seems way better.

      • Sicheng Xu

        How come…My MBP 8,1 works alright. Maybe I can tell you a different way to manage that. Contact me by if you think I could help.

      • Not sure if you could help. I tried manually and with the tool. Each time putting the original kext file back. It just won’t enable the setting its pretty strange. It’s been about a week and haven’t yet had time to work on it, maybe tomorrow..

      • Michelle

        Hi I have s iPhone 3 & trying to figure out how the airdrop work on it?? Please help, I want to send pics from iPhone 6 to the iPhone 3. Thank u

  • Sicheng Xu

    What if the application on the phone, which was used to open that file, failed to open or some how crashed? I used this feature many times and in some situations like when the file was very big the app seemed couldn’t handle it and just crashed. I don’t know whether the file will just be deleted or stuck in the “Other” part.

  • Faisal

    The only thing is that it takes ages to send big files like videos (maybe NFC enabled airdrop would fix it) and when receiving any file the receiver device cannot do anything.

  • Scotow

    Hi, I have a problem using AirDrop between my 2013 MacBook Air and my iphone 6. I can see my iphone from my Mac but when I try to send a file it show “waiting” and after a while it say that my iPhone reject the request but I see nothing on my iPhone. Does someone know how to solve this please ?

    • Sicheng Xu

      Switch off your wifi and bluetooth on both device and reboot them then switch wifi and bluetooth back on. Try it, should work.

      • Scotow

        Ok I will try. Thanks.

  • Chetan

    First of all thanks Jeff for this video. One thing I would like to tell you is that it was OS X’s problem of not receiving airdrop from iOS but now Yosemite can receive airdrop even from iOS 7.
    Now I am facing a problem here, when I turn on airdrop on my iPhone 6 and MBPr then my iPhone is visible on Mac but I can’t view mac on iPhone. So I am able to send anything from mac to iOS but not the other way round. Any suggestions??

    • 4pp1e

      I have exactly same problem here

  • Rob Lugg

    Rather disappointing that you’ve failed to go into detail about compatibility with different Mac models on this or other Yosemite/iOS8 articles on here. As a site dedicated to Apple I would have expected you to list specific cutoff dates, etc.

  • Alberto Espinal

    Jeff one question: I have a 2009 MacBook Pro with Yosemite installed and an iPhone 6 Plus with IOS 8.1, why Airdrop doesn’t show my iPhone? Is it because my Mac is too old and it’s time for me to change it or it’s there something that I’m not doing right? I will greatly appreciate if you help me on my question, thanks!

    • curtis

      Alberto, Your mac is too old. I have the same as you, Mid 2009 MBP. All the other MBP’s from 2010 onwards have the Airport card on the logic board, but for our model Apple decided to put the Airport card where the hinges are under the clutch cover. So we can’t upgrade out Airport card to a 4.0 card.

      • Alberto Espinal

        Damn it, anyways I’m selling it and going Retina, thanks for the reply, and Jeff thanks but no thanks!

  • Adrian

    I have an early 2009 Mac mini, so I guess AirDrop is out of the question 🙁

    • Sicheng Xu

      No it could work if you replace your bluetooth chip and install a activation tool.

      • Adrian

        Bluetooth chip? Usb?

      • Sicheng Xu

        No, you have to disassemble your Mac then replace the bluetooth/wifi chip. Get some guide on iFixit.

      • Adrian

        OK I could do that..or Maybe I could use this as a reason to upgrade to a new Mac mini lol

      • Sicheng Xu

        And that’s exactly what Apple want~LOL

  • Artem Tumanov

    I have MBAir mid 2011 with Yosemite installed and iOS 8.1 iPhone 5. My MacBook can’t see iPhone whatever I tried to do. I followed all the instructions which Apple provides on a website. Both wifi and bluetooth are on and visible for everyone. Restarted both devices bunch of times, ‘block all incoming connections’ is off, signed in to the same iCloud. Seems just doesn’t work for me. I can’t even see the settings of AirDrop (recognised by everyone/contacts etc). Any help will be much appreciated.

    • Rabih Fawaz

      I have the same problem, but i realised that i in airdrop the option for share with everyone or … is not selectable you can’t use it, i have tried my iphone with other macbooks and it woked

  • Artem Tumanov

    I have MacBook Air mid 2011 with OS X Yosemite installed and iPhone 5, iOS 8.1. AirDrop doesn’t work. It can’t find my iPhone. Even the settings option is gone (like recognisable for everyone/contacts etc.) Just a blank window with AirDrop icon (see the pic). I followed all the instructions that Apple provides on the website: wifi and bluetooth are on and visible for all devices, signed in iCloud, restarted both bunch of times, ‘block all incoming connections’ in firewall is off. Any help will be much appreciated!!!

  • Artem Tumanov

    sorry for posting two times, it was a glitch

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    For those who were having problems connecting their iPhones or iPads to their iMacs or MacBooks, simply go into system preferences in Yosemite, Then click on sharing then select the Bluetooth sharing box. After this exit out of system preferences and try air drop again.

  • Artem Tumanov

    Doesn’t work, unfortunately. Everything that needs to be on is on I assume. And there is something else that needs to be done.

  • Think Floyd

    When you say something like “The AirDrop issue has been solved in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. AirDrop now works beautifully between a Mac and an iPhone, or a Mac and an iPad.” and I am sitting at my desk and it doesn’t work no matter what device I use and when it actually finds another device the transfers fail your site really loses a lot of credibility.

    Did you even bother testing your assertion or did you just copy apples press release?

  • Ted Kennedy

    I just installed the software hack on my mid 2011 Macbook Air and Airdrop is now working. I can confirm the ability to Airdrop Photos and Videos to and from OS X 10.10.2 and iOS 8.

    • tonto

      where did you get the software hack from? I have a late 2011 macbook pro but its still too outdated to let me airdrop to my iphone 6

  • Simon Hall

    “The AirDrop issue has been solved in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.”

    No…it hasn’t.

    “Now that iOS and OS X play nice together, the concept of AirDrop makes a lot more sense.”

    No…it doesn’t