If you are familiar with the Apple devices, you already know they share files using a service that’s built for macOS and iOS operating systems. Yes, we are talking about AirDrop.

Since there is no limit on sharing files via AirDrop, you can easily transfer data from one Apple device to other without using any other network.

But what happens when you start facing issues while using AirDrop? All of your priority tasks go on pending. Besides, you are left behind in your schedule as solving the issue of AirDrop not working takes time.

So, before moving to how to fix AirDrop, let’s find out the problems related to this Apple-Apple device file sharing tool.

AirDrop Is Not Working in Apple Devices

Sometimes you struggle with sharing files between your MacBook or iMac and iPad or iPhone. You already know that AirDrop doesn’t require any external WiFi network or cellular data. All you need to have is a low-power Bluetooth connectivity to pair the devices.

For file sharing, the sender device establishes a secure connection via Wi-Fi to share files. That way, you can easily transfer data among multiple MacOS and iOS devices without any worry.

So the problem usually occurs with the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings in your Apple devices.

If you are having issues sending and receiving files via AirDrop, you can try the following detailed steps.

The issue in AirDrop might be because of the compatibility between the devices. However, Apple released the AirDrop compatibility list for the MacOS and iOS devices.

AirDrop Device Compatibility

Even if your one iOS device is compatible, it’s mandatory that the device on the other end must be compatible too. It’s necessary to know about the AirDrop compatible device in 2022.

AirDrop Between Mac, iPhone, or iPad

  • 2012 Mac or later using OS X Yosemite or later
  • iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch using iOS 7 or later

AirDrop Between Macs (Both Computers Must Be At least):

  • MacBook Pro – 2008 or later, (excluding the MacBook Pro 17-inch – late 2008)
  • Mac mini – mid-2010 or later
  • MacBook Air -2010 or later
  • MacBook – 2008 or later, (excluding the white MacBook – late 2008)
  • iMac – 2009 or later
  • Mac Pro – early 2009 (with AirPort Extreme card) or mid-2010
  • iMac Pro (including all models)

So first, let’s talk about the reasons why AirDrop does not work in iMac or MacBook and iPhone or iPad.

Fix AirDrop in iOS Devices – iMac/MacBook and iPhone/iPad

Let’s discuss a scenario in which your iMac and MacBook can detect the iPhone and iPad. But this process is not happening in reverse, i.e., your iPhone and iPad can’t detect the iMac and MacBook. Therefore, you can’t send files from your iPhone or iPad to your iMac or MacBook.

  1. The very first step is to check whether the Bluetooth is turned ON on your iMac and MacBook. You can do that by checking the Bluetooth icon on the right side of the menu bar. Moreover, you can click on the Apple logo on the top left and click on System Preferences > Bluetooth.
  2. Check the Bluetooth setting on your iPhone and iPad. Drag down the screen for more options. By doing so, you will have the Bluetooth icon representing whether it’s ON or OFF. To send files via AirDrop, make sure that Bluetooth is ON in both the sender and the receiver file.
  3. On your iMac and MacBook Bluetooth settings, make sure you have got the discoverable option enabled and set it on “Everyone.” But still, your iPhone and iPad can’t discover your iMac and MacBook. Now what?
  4. In your iMac and Macbook, go to the settings and then head to the Security & Privacy menu.
  5. There, you will see the Firewall option. If you see the Firewall option is turned ON, that’s the issue behind why your iPhone and iPad can’t recognize your iMac and MacBook on AirDrop.
  6. All you have to do is turn off the Firewall and wait for your iPhone and iPad to recognize your iMac and MacBook.
  7. Once your iPhone and iPad discover your iMac and MacBook, you can transfer files through AirDrop.
  8. Make sure you turn on the Firewall option again once the AirDrop transfer is finished. A Firewall is a built-in security mechanism that protects your iMac and MacBook from external threats online and offline.
  9. But you don’t like to always turn ON and OFF the Firewall just to AirDrop some files, do you? For that, go to the Firewall options in the System & Privacy menu.
  10. There, you will find the “Sharingd” option that’s responsible for AirDrop file sharing. Generally, it’s on the option to block all the incoming connections. Click on the multi-select button in front of “Sharingd” and click on OK.

That way, you can keep the Firewall turned ON. Also, at the same time, your iPhone and iPad will discover your iMac and MacBook on AirDrop to share files securely.

AirDrop Visibility

In case you don’t know, turning AirDrop ON also turns ON Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Tap the AirDrop icon to see the visibility options. When you go into the AirDrop option, you will find three visibility options.

Receiving Off

This option turns OFF AirDrop on your iOS device. By doing this, you won’t receive AirDrop requests from anyone. Typically, this option is useful when you are in proximity of multiple iOS devices.

Besides, you can stay on this option if you are concerned about the security of your Mac or iPhone and want to avoid the bothersome incoming connections.

Contacts Only

This option allows people who are available in your Contacts app to discover you on AirDrop. However, both sending and receiving devices must be signed in to the iCloud account. Also, the particular contact must be added in the Contacts app with the email and phone number associated with their Apple ID.

Moreover, if you want to establish a new iPhone-iPad, iPhone-iMac, or iMac-iMac connection for future AirDrop use, add the person in the Contacts app.

Generally, the AirDrop not working issue occurs when you select the “Contacts Only” option in the AirDrop visibility.


This option makes all the nearby devices discover you on AirDrop. If you are feeling risky about this option, you are right.

When you opt for the “Everyone” AirDrop visibility option, you allow the nearby devices to find you and send you files. That way, you become exposed to receiving unrelated stuff, threats, and miscommunication.

Therefore, the best practice is to put your AirDrop’s visibility on “Contacts Only.” That way, you will not receive unnecessary file receiving requests. And on top of that, you will stay safe from hackers and intruders that might breach your personal data, including your name, phone number, and email address.

If you want to receive files from a new iPhone or iPad, only then change the AirDrop visibility to “Everyone.”

Reset Network Settings to Fix AirDrop on iPhone

After following the above steps, you might still face issues with sharing files from your iPhone. Therefore, one of the ways to fix iPhone AirDrop is to reset network settings.

What Happens When you Reset Network Settings in an iOS Device?

Resetting the network settings doesn’t meddle with your personal data, apps, and other media files. However, all the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and VPN settings will revert back to the default settings. To fix AirDrop not working on iPhone, follow these steps.

  1. In your iPhone, go to the Settings app.
  2. In the General settings menu, you will see the Reset option at the end of the page.
  3. Go to the Reset menu and tap Reset Network Settings.
  4. For security reasons, your iPhone will ask you to enter the passcode. Once done, your iPhone will successfully reset the network settings.

Now you can easily use AirDrop on iPhone to transfer files to other iOS devices. However, you might still face issues with AirDrop iPhone iPad.

Another way to fix AirDrop in an iOS device like iPhone or iPad is to do a hard reset.

Hard Reset iPhone to Fix AirDrop Not Working

If you are facing AirDrop issues in your iPhone or iPad, you can hard reset your iOS device. As you already know, the iPhone models vary in functionalities, and the hard reset process also varies in each iPhone class.

Hard Reset in iPhone 6 or Later

  • You can hard reset your iPhone 6 or later by pressing the Home Button and Lock Screen Button together for 30 seconds or until the device restarts.

Hard Reset in iPhone 7 or Later

  • In iPhone 7 or later models, you can restart it by pressing the Volume Down and Lock Screen Button together for around 3o seconds.

Hard Reset in iPhone 8 or Later

  • First, press and release the Volume Up Button. Then, press and release the Volume Down Button.
  • Now, press and hold the Lock Screen Button on the side until your iPhone reboots.

By hard restarting your iOS device, you can get rid of the temporary glitches that hinder the AirDrop tool from transferring files.

Fix AirDrop Settings on iPhone

Sometimes, your iOS devices work perfectly on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. Also, the Firewall is not blocking the transferring of AirDrop files. Therefore, the only option you are left with is the AirDrop settings.

  1. Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in your iPhone.
  2. Turn on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth setting one by one again. By doing this, you can refresh the connectivity of the AirDrop.
  3. Go to the Settings app and go down to General.
  4. Select AirDrop.
  5. There, you will see the options of contacts for AirDrop. If a person is not saved in your contact list, you can’t AirDrop files to them. Therefore, you have to make sure that the option is marked as “Everyone.”
  6. After changing the AirDrop settings to “Everyone,” you can send files to the required device that’s not in your contact list.

AirDrop “Unable to Share”

No doubt AirDrop works seamlessly on iOS devices. However, there are some issues when you are using a new iPhone.

The most general one is AirDrop showing a pop-up message “Unable to Share.”

This notification usually comes when your iPhone or iPad doesn’t have enough storage. That’s when AirDrop doesn’t proceed with the receiving of files.

If your iPhone doesn’t have the capacity to receive files via AirDrop, you have to first create some space by removing unnecessary files from your iPhone. You can also do that by going to your iCloud account and managing device storage.

However, if the problem persists, this means that the issue isn’t with your device’s memory.

You can fix this issue by following these tasks:

  • Restart Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in your iPhone. Make sure your iPhone is connected to a stable network.
  • Restart your iPhone.
  • Check if for the iOS software updates. The software update impacts both the iOS and MacOS systems. Make sure both the updated software versions are compatible with the AirDrop file sharing.

You can also check if the personal hotspot is turned off.

AirDrop Doesn’t Work When Personal Hotspot is Enabled

You read that right. You can call it one of the deficiencies of iOS handheld devices; you can’t transfer data via Airdrop when your personal hotspot is turned on.

Other devices that are connected to your hotspot must have to wait if you want to AirDrop files to the required system. For that, you have to disable the personal hotspot to make sure the proper functioning of AirDrop.

The personal hotspot feature relies on the Wi-Fi network. You can’t use any other apps like AirDrop to establish a successful connection with the required iOS device. Therefore, if you want to send or receive files from AirDrop, make sure to first disable the hotspot.

You can turn off the hotspot by following these steps:

  • Go to the Settings app
  • Find and select the Personal Hotspot button
  • Tap the button to turn off the personal hotspot

Apple Devices Connected to Different Wi-Fi Networks

The AirDrop “Unable to Share” message might also show up because your devices are connected to different Wi-Fi networks.

Of course, this solution is totally based on the experiment. There is no official guideline by Apple regarding this. But you can try connecting the Apple devices to the same Wi-Fi network to transfer files via AirDrop.

When you connect to the same Wi-Fi network, the chances are high that AirDrop successfully establishes a channel between the two devices. However, if this solution doesn’t work, you might have to go for another solution.

Turn Off “Do Not Disturb” Mode

You already know that AirDrop works after getting acceptance from the other devices. For example, you are sending a file from an iPhone to a MacBook Pro. Apparently, this process of data sharing should be executed smoothly. But overlooking one minor aspect makes you frustrated.

That’s right. One of the reasons you didn’t receive any AirDrop notification is the “Do Not Disturb” mode. Although staying on this mode keeps you from the attention-seeking pings, sometimes you miss crucial messages from your iOS devices.

Moreover, you can also miss the AirDrop notification. So how are you going to turn off this mode?

Turn Off “Do Not Disturb” Mode in iPhone/iPad

  • Open the Settings in your iPhone/iPad.
  • Tap on “Do Not Disturb”
  • After that, turn off the “Do Not Disturb” mode

Turn Off “Do Not Disturb” Mode in iMac/MacBook

  • On the top right side of the menu bar, click on the “Notification Center.” This will open a drop-down menu.
  • You will find the “Do Not Disturb” option with a toggle. Turn the toggle to the off position to disable this mode.

Turn Off “Airplane Mode”

The “Airplane Mode” shuts down all the wireless activities in your iPhone or MacBook. Therefore, if your device is in the “Airplane Mode,” AirDrop is not going to work.

Since a lot of aviation agencies follow strict by-air traveling laws, it’s mandatory for you to turn on “Airplane Mode” once you are on the plane.

You will see the plane icon on top of your iOS devices. This shows that you are currently in “Airplane Mode.” To turn that off and start sharing files via AirDrop, follow these steps:

Turn Off “Airplane Mode” Mode in iPhone/iPad

  • Open the control center on your iPhone or iPad. There, you will find the icon of a plane representing “Airplane Mode.”
  • Tap the “Airplane Mode” icon to turn it off.

Turn Off “Airplane Mode” Mode in iMac/MacBook

Unfortunately, there is no particular button that directly turns off “Airplane Mode” in your Mac. You have to separately turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to disable the “Airplane Mode.” That’s one difference between macOS and iOS.

Moreover, you can switch off the “Airplane Mode” by following the above method from the menu bar as well as system preferences.

Maintain the Distance of Not More Than 30 Feet

Since the discovery of AirDrop works on Bluetooth connectivity, make sure you put both devices as close to each other as possible. By doing this, you make the device discovery process seamless.

As you shorten the distance of both the iOS and macOS devices from 30 feet (9 meters), the Bluetooth reception is enhanced. However, if the distance is less than 30 feet, but there is an obstacle like a concrete wall between the devices, the Bluetooth connectivity will lose its strength.

AirDrop Not Working After iOS Update

Are you also worried because AirDrop stopped working after the recent iOS update? Well, it’s one of the most common complaints of iPhone-iPad users.

Besides, this issue typically occurs after you update your iOS version. Quite frankly, you are not the only one suffering from the pain of AirDrop not working. So how are you going to get rid of this pain?

The simplest solution to this problem is to soft reset or force restart your iPhone.

Moreover, the soft reset feature doesn’t only make AirDrop start working again, but you get to flush off the trash from your iPhone too. Other software applications that also began to lag or ceased to function properly will start working again with enhanced efficiency.

Although a soft reset might affect some of the critical files, you better prepare a backup of your important files on your iCloud account.

You get the following benefits by doing a soft reset or force restarting your iPhone:

  • Dumps junk files
  • Erases cache memory
  • Improves the performance of your device
  • Boosts the efficiency of other apps

Force Quit the AirDrop App

Sometimes, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort when the AirDrop stops working. People go in a panic because AirDrop doesn’t usually show such kind of behavior.

So before trying anything big, you can just force quit the app and see if the problem is solved.

How to Force Quit AirDrop on Mac?

  • When the AirDrop app freezes and becomes unresponsive, click on the Apple menu.
  • From there, click on Force Quit. This will open up a dialog box.
  • From the dialog box, select Airdrop (or any other app that’s making you go panic).
  • After that, click Force Quit.

How to Force Quit AirDrop on iPhone X and Later?

  • Swipe up one time to reach the Home Screen.
  • Swipe up again and pause in the middle of the screen.
  • Now swipe left and right to see the applications that are running in your iPhone. You will find AirDrop while swiping.
  • Swipe up on AirDrop preview to close it.

How to Force Quit AirDrop on iPhone SE, iPhone 8, and Earlier?

  • Double-press the Home Button. This will show all the recently used apps.
  • Swipe right or left to find Airdrop.
  • Swipe up on AirDrop preview to close it.


AirDrop is an important tool for iOS and macOS devices. By using AirDrop, you can send and receive files without establishing any connection or using cellular data. However, when AirDrop stops working, all your crucial tasks go on pending.

You can bring back AirDrop by force quitting the app or checking the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. Moreover, you can also hard reset your iOS or macOS device and start using AirDrop again with its full functionality.