Are you having problems using AirDrop with it not working on transferring the files you need from one Apple device to another?

The AirDrop app has helped Apple boost its efficiency when it comes to file sharing across its devices. The technology uses the Bluetooth connectivity for device broadcasting and sharing but uses Wi-Fi for file transfer.

The AirDrop feature was first showcased back in 2008 with macOS, with Apple only deciding to extend the app to iOS devices back in 2013. Since then, it was developed and tailored to work on newer models. But most of the time, the problem arises because of the compatibility and capacity issue of the older models.

But worry not for there are solutions and suitable workarounds to this problem. In today’s guide, we will discuss the factors that cause AirDrop to not work as well as the individual fixes that you can try. By the end, you will be able to get AirDrop back working again on your Apple device.

Let’s get started!


  1. Check Device Compatability
  2. Check the Connection
  3. Disable Any Third-Party Security or VPN Apps
  4. Sign Out and Sign Back Into Apple ID
  5. Verify the AirDrop Settings
  6. Restart Your Device
  7. Update to the Latest OS Version
  8. Reset Network Settings
  9. Contact Apple Support


How to Fix AirDrop Not Working: 9 Ways.


1. Check Device Compatability.

First things first, you will want to cross off the possibility that AirDrop could be unsupported with your Apple device model.

As we mentioned above, the AirDrop functionality was developed to work on newer models of Apple devices. So any older models that came before that feature may experience issues as those devices remain unsupported. To make sure that your device is supported, check out the list below provided by Apple below.

Here’s the list of supported devices:

  • MacBook 2008 or later versions running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  • MacBook Pro 2008 or later versions running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  • iMac 2009 or later versions running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  • Mac Pro 2009 with AirPort Extreme or later versions running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  • Mac mini 2010 or later versions running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  • MacBook Air 2010 or later versions running on OS X Yosemite or later.
  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later versions.

Having checked your device compatibility, you must also check the file types you are sending. Indeed you can send photos, documents, music, and videos via AirDrop, but make sure you send similar file types. For instance, do not send a mix of photos and videos altogether in one session as this can cause a conflict to occur, which will render the AirDrop not to go through.



2. Check the Connection.

AirDrop relies on your network connection and Bluetooth to be able to work.

Meaning, before you proceed with AirDrop, you will need to make sure that your Apple devices can easily discover each other. There are connection protocols that are already in place, which you will need to check for the AirDrop feature to function correctly. Use the checklist below to go through one-by-one for each connection and see if it works for both of your Apple devices.

Here’s a checklist of protocols and conditions you need to follow:

  • Enable the Bluetooth on both sender and receiver devices.
  • Enable the Wi-Fi on both sender and receiver devices and connect them in the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Disable Personal Hotspot feature to avoid conflict.
  • Disable Airplane mode so that the devices can be discovered.
  • Sender and receiver devices should not be more than 30 feet or 9 meters apart.
  • Be sure that both Apple devices are active and unlocked.
  • Disable the Do Not Disturb feature of your devices.


Once you’ve made sure that the above prerequisites are fulfilled, it’s best to try and restart both the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection on your devices. The following steps will show how you can do it on both your Mac and on your iPhone and iPad.


Here’s how you can do it on your Mac:

  1. Go ahead and launch the System Preferences using Dock or Spotlight.
  2. Then, click on the Network option and click on the Turn Wi-Fi Off option. Wait for a minute and click on Turn Wi-Fi On to re-enable it.
  3. Finally, click on Bluetooth and click on the Turn Bluetooth Off option. Wait for a minute and click on Turn Bluetooth On to re-enable it.

AirDrop Not Working


Here’s how you can do it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:

  1. Go ahead and open the Settings of your device.
  2. Then, tap on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth option to turn it off.
  3. Finally, after a minute, tap on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icon again to re-enable it.

AirDrop Not Working


By doing this, you will have a fresh new Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection, which you can now try and retest using the AirDrop feature once again.



3. Disable Any Third-Party Security or VPN Apps.

It’s essential to take note that if you have any anti-virus or third-party firewall apps installed on your devices, then it can hinder how the device connects with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Some users choose to install these applications for the sake of extra security, whether that’d be on their Not just on their Mac or even on their iPhone or iPad. If you are one of them, then you may want to check your list of apps installed on your devices to see if you have any such third-party security apps and temporarily turn them off.

Additionally, you will also want to turn off any apps that provide a virtual private network (VPN) such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and so on. These VPN apps can block your device from appearing in the local network and may reduce the chances of the devices being discovered by the device which you want to use AirDrop with.



4. Sign Out and Sign Back Into Apple ID.

This is the solution that worked for us when we experienced AirDrop not working with our own devices. Whenever your Apple ID account is having an authentication issue, it can be difficult for it to proceed with services such as AirDrop. These circumstances usually happen because of a process interruption on your device. But regardless of the cause, you can rebuild these settings by logging out and logging back into your account.

Here’s how you can do it on your Mac:

  1. First, click on the Apple menu icon and click on System Preferences.
  2. Then, click on your Apple ID, select on the Overview option in the sidebar and click Sign Out.

AirDrop Not Working


  1. Finally, go back to System Preferences and click on Sign In. Enter your Apple ID and password, then follow the instructions.

AirDrop Not Working


Here’s how you can do it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:

  1. First, go to the Settings of your device and tap [your name].
  2. Then, scroll down and tap Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password, and tap Turn Off option.

AirDrop Not Working


  1. Confirm the process by tapping on Sign Out again.
  2. Next, go back to the Settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and tap on Sign In option.
  3. Finally, enter your Apple ID and password. Provide the six-digit verification code from your trusted device if applicable.

If you can’t remember your Apple ID or have forgotten your password, learn more on how to recover your Apple ID. After you’ve renewed your Apple ID login credentials, try an AirDrop test to see if it is working now.



5. Verify the AirDrop Settings.

If there’s an issue with AirDrop, then what better way to directly address it by going to its settings and then refreshing it?

It’s likely that the AirDrop configuration on your device is restricted from being discovered by your other devices. For instance, one of the AirDrop settings that is usually neglected is the setting responsible for making sure your device is discoverable to unknown or un-associated Apple devices. To fix it, you should set it to be discovered by everyone.

Here’s how you can do it on your Mac:

  1. Go ahead and launch the Finder App on your device.
  2. Then, click on the AirDrop option on the left sidebar.
  3. Finally, click on the “Allow me to be discovered by” option and set it to “Everyone“.

AirDrop Not Working


Here’s how you can do it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:

  1. Go ahead and open the Settings of your device.
  2. Then, tap on the General option and then tap on the AirDrop option.
  3. Finally, tap on the “Everyone” option on the list of access types for the application.

AirDrop Not Working


Now that you have made your device discoverable by the other devices, you should be able to see the device pop-up in the list of the possible devices which you can AirDrop.



6. Restart Your Device.

This is perhaps the first thing you may have resorted to when you found out that AirDrop was not working. Although if you haven’t, then, we recommend that you definitely try it!

After all the changes that you have made in the settings of your device, you may have neglected that your device has been running for a long time without a shutdown. This can sometimes be a problem, especially if your resources have been maximized. Your device may not have enough space or processing capacity to perform new tasks. Hence, to fix it, you will need to restart your device to offload the resources of your device.

For your Mac devices, just click the Apple menu logo and click on Restart. You can also press and hold the Power button of your computer until the option for Sleep, Shutdown or Restart appears. Click on Restart to do a reboot process on your computer.

AirDrop Not Working


For your iPhone, iPad, or iPad touch, just tap on the Settings, then General and then Shutdown option. After that, slide the Slide to Power Off button to the shutdown direction to confirm the process. Press the power button of your device to turn it back on.

AirDrop Not Working


But if you are not able to do the soft restart process, you can always force restart your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.



7. Update to the Latest OS Version.

By the time you read this post, it’s possible that Apple may have already released a patch with an iOS/iPadOS/macOS update that fixes the issue.

Updating your devices to the latest versions can help reduce glitches and bugs that may cause issues such as your AirDrop not working. Now before you proceed with the update, do make sure that you backup your Apple devices first. After you’ve backed up, you may proceed with the steps below to check for any new updates as well as subsequently installing them.

Here’s how you can do it on your macOS device:

  1. Go ahead and click the Apple menu icon on your macOS computer.
  2. Then, click on the System Preferences option and click on the Software Update option.
  3. Finally, follow the instructions to complete the download and installation process of the latest version.

macOS 10.14.1 Software Update


Here’s how you can do it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:

  1. Go ahead and tap on Settings of your device, then General, and then choose Software Update.
  2. Then, choose and tap Download and Install. If a message appears that you will be temporarily removing apps because of space requirements for the update, tap Continue. Don’t worry. iOS will reinstall apps that it removed after the process.
  3. If you want to proceed with the update right away, tap Install. Or you can tap Later and choose Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, just plug your device into power before you go to sleep. Your device will update automatically overnight.
  4. Finally, provide the passcode if applicable. If you don’t know your passcode, know what to do.

AirDrop Not Working


After a new update is installed, you will want to check back the settings of your AirDrop to see if any settings in regards to how your device is discovered changes. You can refer to Method 5 for that process.



8. Reset Network Settings.

The network settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch may have been corrupted and could be the reason why AirDrop is not working. As aforementioned at the start of this post, your network and Bluetooth settings play a big part in getting AirDrop to work successfully. If at any point these network settings get corrupted, then it impacts how your devices connect to the network. To fix this issue, you need to restore the settings to its default value to remove the corrupted data.


When you reset your network settings, it will erase all the passwords stored for the Wi-Fi networks which you have connected with previously. So be sure to jot them down before going through with the steps below.


Here’s how you can reset your network settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Go ahead and tap the Settings on your device, then General, and then Reset option.
  2. Then, search and tap the Reset Network Settings option.

AirDrop Not Working


  1. Next, if you are asked for the device passcode, provide the correct one to proceed.
  2. Finally, tap Confirm to finalize the reset network settings process.

After having reset your network settings, your device should work as good as new with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, both of which play a big part in how your device performs when using AirDrop.



9. Contact Apple Support.

If you have a hard time following these instructions, you can always talk to an Apple representative over the phone for verbal instructions. They can guide you on how to do troubleshooting on any of your Apple devices. If you are on a computer, they can remote into your device so they can do it for you. But that is only when you permit them to do remote access control on your computer.


Apple Support and Service


But if you don’t want that, you can always visit your nearest Apple Store. There are Apple-certified technicians that could take a look at your devices. They can support both software and hardware issues of your Apple devices. We always advise that you check the warranty options for your device before you head over to the store so that you understand the warranty and discount options that are available to you in case if there remain any hardware issues.


Apple Store


This wraps up our guide on how to fix your AirDrop that is not working on your Apple devices. We hope that you can understand the above methods which we delivered as simple as possible. If you have questions related to this topic, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we will love to help out. ❤


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