How to Fix AirDrop Not Working On Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac?

airdrop not working

AirDrop is without a doubt one of Apple’s best and most useful features. It was made so that you can send media, links, and documents to other Apple devices within a certain range using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It’s a powerful tool for anyone who uses an iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

Even though AirDrop is on most modern Apple devices, it can be a very finicky feature that sometimes doesn’t work for no apparent reason.

If this happens to you, here are the six best ways to get back up and sharing wirelessly as soon as possible. These include turning on and off wireless networks and restarting your devices.

1. Make Sure the iPhone is Unlocked

If you’re trying to send something to someone else’s iPhone through AirDrop or someone is sending you something through AirDrop, here’s how to fix it: Make sure the phone you want to track is on and unlocked. An iPhone that is locked won’t show up as a device that can receive files via AirDrop.

Also, if you’ve unlocked the iPhone but it’s still not working, try moving them closer together. This can be very important if the Wi-Fi isn’t working well and AirDrop is trying to use Bluetooth.

2. Try Turning Off Your Wi-Fi Hotspot

The Personal Hotspot settings on iPhone, with "Allow Others to Join" enabled.

Here’s some bad news if you’re using your iPhone as a personal hotspot: AirDrop won’t work. The answer is to turn off your hotspot, at least while you are using AirDrop. When you are done sharing files, you can turn it back on.

Open the Settings app and tap Personal Hotspot to turn off your hotspot. Move the button for “Allow Others to Join” to the left at the top of the page. Your personal hotspot is no longer working, so you can try to AirDrop again.

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3. Enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

The Bluetooth settings page on iPhone, showing Bluetooth enabled.

You probably know that AirDrop uses both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to transfer files, so make sure that both of these wireless networks are turned on on the devices you want to use for AirDrop.

  • To check your iPhone and iPad’s wireless settings: Start the Settings app, then tap Wi-Fi. Make sure the button to the right of Wi-Fi is slid to the right. Then tap Back to go back to the main Settings page and tap Bluetooth. Check that the Bluetooth button is also on.
  • To check your Mac’s wireless settings, click the Apple logo in the menu bar at the top of the screen and then choose System Preferences. Go to Network. Status: Connected is what you should see. If you don’t have Wi-Fi, click Turn Wi-Fi On. Then click “Back” and pick “Bluetooth.” Bluetooth: On should show up. Click Turn Bluetooth On if you don’t.

If Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are already on, it’s a good idea to turn them off and on again as a quick way to fix any problems that might be happening.

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4. Make Sure Your Devices Are Updated

Does the thing you want to use have AirDrop support? AirDrop usually works on all “modern” Apple devices, but you might have trouble if you try to send to an older device.

The about panel on iPhone, with the iOS version highlighted.

Anyone with an iPhone running iOS 7 or later can use AirDrop. If you’re having trouble, check the iPhone’s iOS version and, if necessary, update it. If you have an iPad, AirDrop works with iPadOS 13 and later. If you need to, you can update your iPad’s operating system to the most recent version.

You can also AirDrop to and from your Mac as long as it has OS X 10.10 or later. If you need a reminder, here’s how to find out what version of Mac OS you have and how to update it.

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5. Disable your Mac’s Firewall

If you’re trying to AirDrop to a Mac, you should also make sure that your firewall settings allow for new connections. If they don’t, AirDrop might not work. You’ll need to change your computer’s firewall settings to make them less strict. This should let your computer get AirDrops.

1. Click the Apple logo in the desktop’s menu bar, then click System Preferences.

2. Select Security & Privacy.

3. Click the lock icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen, and enter your password or use Touch ID to unlock access to these settings.

The “Security & Privacy” window on Mac, with the lock icon highlighted in the bottom-left corner.

4. Select the Firewall tab.

5. Click Turn Off Firewall or, if you prefer, click Firewall Options and, in the pop-up window, uncheck the box next to Block all incoming connections. Then click OK.

The “Firewall” tab in the “Security & Privacy” window of Finder, with the “Turn Off Firewall” and “Firewall Options” options highlighted.

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6. Reset the Device

If nothing else has worked, try turning your devices off and on again. If you just changed some settings on your phone or computer, you might need to restart it. A restart can also fix a glitch that keeps your device from working right.

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