AirDrop Not Working? Here’s the Quick Fix

Find out why AirDrop is not working on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac by exploring AirDrop settings and other common issues.

Sometimes when you have a file to send from Mac to iPhone, you’ll find that AirDrop failed to complete the transfer. You are not alone in wondering, "Why is my AirDrop not working?" In this article, we’ll show you several quick AirDrop troubleshooting techniques that will help!

Related to: How to AirDrop From Your iPhone or iPad to Your Mac

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The “My AirDrop Is Not Working” Checklist

  • Are your devices updated to the latest software?
  • Are the two devices within 30 feet (9 meters) of each other?
  • Are both devices connected to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi?

Pro tip: It is essential to always keep your devices up to date because, in addition to major system updates, they usually include bug fixes and eliminate security threats.

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Did You Try Turning It Off & Back On Again?

Are you wondering how to get AirDrop to work? The quickest trick is to turn the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off and on again on both devices for the file transfer.

Turn Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Off & On Again on Your iPhone & iPad

  1. Open the Control Center by swiping down from your Home Screen. 

    Open the Control Center by swiping down from your Home Screen. 
     
  2. Tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons to turn them off; they will turn white. Wait 30 seconds.

    Tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons to turn them off; they will turn white.
     
  3. Tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons to turn them on; they will turn blue.

    Tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons to turn them on; they will turn blue.

Follow these steps if you are having trouble connecting to Wi-Fi on your iPhone

Turn Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Off & On Again on Your Mac

  1. Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.

    Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.
     
  2. Toggle to turn it off. Wait 30 seconds.

    Toggle to turn it on.
     
  3. Toggle to turn it on.

    Toggle to turn it off. Wait 30 seconds.
     
  4. Do the same with Bluetooth. If you don’t see the Bluetooth icon in your menu bar. Click the Apple menu.

    Click the Apple menu.
     
  5. Go to System Preferences.

    Go to System Preferences.
     
  6. Click on Bluetooth.

    Click on Bluetooth.
     
  7. Select the box that says Show Bluetooth in the menu bar.

    Select the box that says Show Bluetooth in the menu bar.
     
  8. Toggle to turn it off. Wait 30 seconds.

    Toggle to turn it off.
     
  9. Toggle to turn it on.

    Toggle to turn it off.

Pro Tip: Although Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most critical factors in AirDrop working correctly, iCloud can also be a factor. Try signing out and back in on both devices if you are still having issues.

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Check Your AirDrop Settings

When you use AirDrop, you can either send and receive files from everyone, contacts only, or no one at all. If it is set to 'Contacts Only,' it can take longer and be tougher to use AirDrop. To speed things up, it can help change it to 'Everyone,' even temporarily.

AirDrop Settings on iPhone & iPad

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings on iPhone.
     
  2. Tap General.

    Tap General.
     
  3. Tap AirDrop.

    Tap AirDrop.
     
  4. Select Everyone.

    Select Everyone.

AirDrop Settings on Mac

  1. Open Finder.

    Open Finder on Mac.
     
  2. Click AirDrop.

    Click AirDrop.
     
  3. At the bottom, click on Allow me to be discovered by.

    At the bottom, click on Allow me to be discovered by.
     
  4. Select Everyone.

    Select Everyone.

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Restart Your Devices 

A quick restart of your devices can help get things moving, especially if the issue is that AirDrop is not showing up. Follow these steps to reset your iPhone or iPad and these steps to reset your Mac. In more extreme circumstances, you can also try doing a hard reset.

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Last Resort: Reset Your Networks

In most cases, your AirDrop should be working if you've tried all the previous steps. If AirDrop is still not showing up on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, you may need to reset your networks. Please make sure your devices are up to date and try all the other steps before you do this. Resetting your networks will mean that you will have to reconnect to every Wi-Fi and Bluetooth device you own, which is why it is a measure of last resort.

Reset Network on Your iPhone or iPad

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings on iPhone.
     
  2. Tap General.

    Tap General.
     
  3. Tap Reset

    Tap Reset. 
     
  4. Select Reset Network Settings.

    Select Reset Network Settings.
     
  5. You may be prompted to enter your passcode.

    You may be prompted to enter your passcode.
     
  6. Confirm to Reset Network Settings.

    Confirm to Reset Network Settings.

Reset Network on Your Mac

  1. Click the Apple menu.

    Click the Apple menu.
     
  2. Select System Preferences.

    Go to System Preferences.
     
  3. Open Network.

    Open Network.
     
  4. You will see your networks listed on the left. Select them and click the minus sign to remove them. 

    You will see your networks listed on the left. Select them and click the minus sign to remove them. 

You will need to add them again by clicking the plus sign. Make sure you have your network info at hand to log back in.

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I realize that I never answered the question, "Why is my AirDrop not working?" But the quick AirDrop troubleshooting tips should have fixed any issues you have with file transfer. If there are still issues such as AirDrop waiting, not working, or failing, you may need to contact Apple directly after you've tried everything on this list. However, there are other ways to transfer files to and from your Apple devices.

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Rhode Island. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.