Wondering why AirDrop is not working on your Apple device?
AirDrop is a handy feature that allows Apple users to share files, photos, and media between devices wirelessly.
Like any technology, AirDrop can also suffer from issues that may prevent it from working properly.
If you are here, we can assume that AirDrop is not working on your Apple device.
There’s a handful of reasons why AirDrop doesn’t work. It can be due to improper configurations, connectivity issues, or outdated software.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to fix AirDrop if it’s not working on your device.
1. Restart Your Device.
Whenever a feature is not working on your device, the first thing you should do is restart it.
Restarting your device should address temporary issues on your system. This will also ensure that your resources are loaded correctly.
iPhone X, 11, 12, or later:
- Hold down the Volume Down button and Side button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ prompt appears.
- Now, drag the slider to the right and wait for 30 seconds.
- Press the Side button afterward to turn on your device.
iPhone 6, 7, 8, or SE:
- Locate the Power button on your device.
- Now, hold the button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ prompt shows up.
- Drag the slider to the right and wait for 30 seconds before turning on your device.
iPads without a home button:
- First, press and hold either the Volume button + Top button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ prompt appears.
- Now, drag the slider to the right until your display shuts off.
- Lastly, wait for at least 30 seconds before turning on your iPad.
iPads with a home button:
- On your device, press and hold the Top button until the power slider appears.
- Drag the slider to the right until your display turns black.
- Finally, wait for at least 30 seconds before restarting your iPad.
- Access the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your screen.
- Choose Restart from the pop-up menu.
- Confirm your action by clicking Restart in the dialog box.
Try using AirDrop again to check if the problem is solved.
2. Update Your Software.
There might be a bug or glitch on your device’s operating system that prevents AirDrop from working.
To rule this out, install the latest software for your Apple device to patch errors and other issues.
- Go to your home screen and tap on Settings.
- Navigate to General > Software Update.
- Tap on Download and Install.
- Click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen.
- Now, click on System Preferences and open the Software Update tab.
- If there’s an available update, click on Update Now or Upgrade Now.
Wait for the update to complete and restart your device. Use AirDrop to see if you’ll encounter issues.
3. Check Compatibility.
Unfortunately, AirDrop is not available for all Apple devices. If you are using an older iPhone or Mac, it might not have AirDrop.
Here’s a quick list of Apple products that support AirDrop:
- MacBook 2008 or later (OS X Yosemite or newer)
- Macbook Pro 2008 or later (OS X Yosemite or newer)
- iMac 2009 or later (OS X Yosemite or newer)
- Mac Pro 2009 w/ AirPort Extreme or later (OS X Yosemite or newer)
- Mac Mini 2010 or later (OS X Yosemite or newer)
- MacBook Air 2010 or later (OS X Yosemite or newer)
- iPhone, iPad, or iPad Touch running iOS 7 or newer.
If your Apple device was released in 2008 or later, it should support AirDrop. But, you might need to update your software to access the feature.
4. Check Your Connection.
AirDrop relies on a wireless connection to work. Before using the feature, ensure that your Apple devices can easily discover each other.
- Swipe downwards from the upper right corner of your screen to access the Control Center.
- Now, hold the network settings card in the upper left section.
- Hold the AirDrop button to access settings.
- Set your device visibility to Everyone.
- Click on the Control Center in the upper right corner of your display.
- Now, click the arrow beside AirDrop.
- Change your configuration to Everyone.
Here are other settings you can check to have the best possible connection between your devices:
- Enable Bluetooth on both sender and receiver devices.
- Enable WiFi on both devices and connect them to the same network.
- Disable Personal Hotspot to avoid conflicts.
- Turn Off Airplane Mode so that your devices can be discovered.
- Your devices should not be more than 30 feet apart.
- Disable Do Not Disturb.
- Ensure that your devices are active and unlocked.
5. Disable Firewalls or Security Software.
It is worth noting that some anti-virus applications can interfere with how your device connects with Bluetooth and WiFi.
While you might want to install these apps for security reasons, they can interfere with how AirDrop functions.
We recommend turning off any antivirus software on your device before using AirDrop.
If your antivirus causes the problem, consider using other applications that are compatible with AirDrop and other features on your device.
6. Disable VPN.
After some digging, we’ve found out that AirDrop won’t work properly if one of your devices has a VPN enabled.
VPNs create a virtual network that can alter the default network settings of your device. In some cases, it can also cause your device to drop the WiFi connection, preventing AirDrop from working correctly.
Make sure that there are no VPNs running on your device before using AirDrop.
7. Reset Network Settings.
Some configurations on your device might be interfering with how AirDrop works.
To be sure, reset your network settings to revert back any changes that could be causing AirDrop to malfunction.
- Open your device and access Settings.
- Go to the General tab and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad.
- Now, choose the Reset option.
- Select Reset Network Settings and follow the prompts.
- Ensure that WiFi is disabled on your computer.
- Now, click on Go in the upper left corner of your screen.
- Choose Go to Folder and type /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/.
- Look for the files below and delete them.
com.apple.network.identification.plist or com.apple.network.eapolclient/configuration.plist
Once done, restart your device and see if you can now use AirDrop.
8. Limit Your Firewall (Mac).
For Mac users, check your firewall settings and ensure that it is not blocking incoming connections.
You can follow the steps below to guide you through the process:
- On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the menu bar and choose System Preferences.
- Now, go to the Security & Privacy tab.
- Click on the padlock to edit your settings. Provide your admin password or use your Touch ID to make changes.
- Go to Firewall Options and uncheck the ‘Block all incoming connections’ option.
- Finally, check the box beside ‘Automatically allow built-in software to receive incoming connections’.
Try using AirDrop to transfer files to check if the problem is solved.
9. Contact Apple.
If none of the solutions above worked, it’s best that you seek help from Apple’s team.
Head to their support page and search for the problem you’re experiencing. If there’s an available fix, it should show up in your search query together with other articles related to AirDrop.
That ends our guide on how to fix AirDrop if it’s not working on your device. If you have questions or any other concerns, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to respond.