AirDrop is the fastest and most convenient way to wirelessly send files from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac. While AirDropping from iOS to Mac OS is easy, how it works may not be particularly obvious to some users, and many people don’t know the feature exists at all. Learning to use AirDrop to send files from an iPhone to a Mac is easy, and it offers a simple and reliable way to transfer photos, videos, notes, and other files between nearby devices.
To use AirDrop from iOS to Mac OS, you will need a modern version of iOS on the iPhone or iPad, and a modern version of Mac OS on the Mac – generally speaking the newer the software releases the better, so you’ll want to be sure you update your devices if you are having any difficulty. Beyond that it’s not much different from AirDropping between Macs or other iOS devices, let’s review how this great feature works to send files across platforms.
How to AirDrop from iPhone or iPad to a Mac
In this example, we’ll AirDrop files from an iPhone to a Mac via the Photos app, but you can access AirDrop in iOS from just about anywhere the “Sharing” menu is available. Here’s how this works:
- On the iPhone from what you want to AirDrop, tap the Sharing icon (it looks like a little box with an arrow flying out of it), in the example here we are AirDropping photos from iPhone to a Mac
- Now from the Mac, open a Finder window and choose “AirDrop” from the sidebar (or alternatively, pull down the “Go” menu and choose ‘AirDrop’)
- On the Mac, check the ‘Allow me to be discovered by:’ section so that it says either “Everyone” or “Contacts Only”, keep this Finder window open as it enables AirDrop
- Back on the iPhone at the sharing screen, tap on the AirDrop icon
- On the iPhone, wait a moment and the Mac with AirDrop enabled will appear in the list, then tap on that Mac / user ID to immediately start sending the files / photos to the Mac
- The AirDropped files will begin transferring immediately from the iPhone to the Mac, when finished the Mac will make a little sound effect and the files will be located in the users Downloads folder
Any images, files, photos, videos, or other data transferred Airdropped from iOS to a Mac will always go to the active Mac users Downloads directory, which is where where AirDrop files go by default.
The Mac will continue to allow accepting inbound AirDrop file transfers from iPhone, iPad, or other Macs as long as the Finder AirDrop window is open. If you are done transferring files with AirDrop on the Mac, simply close the AirDrop Finder window to stop allowing further transfers.
If you’re at all confused then it is best to try this out yourself by opening the Photos app on the iPhone or iPad and then AirDropping a picture or two to a Mac. Despite being somewhat confusing to explain and demonstrate, it’s actually quite easy to use in practice. The key things to remember are that you must open the AirDrop Finder window on the Mac for it to be active in Mac OS, and you must tap on the AirDrop icon in the Sharing menu of iOS to be active on the iPhone or iPad.
A few things to keep in mind if you’re experiencing difficulty: AirDrop requires a reasonably new iPhone, iPad, or Mac, Bluetooth must be enabled, and the devices must be within reasonable reach of one another (the closer together the better). For the most part, AirDrop “just works” but if you are having problems the refer to this guide for troubleshooting AirDrop not working in iOS, and if it’s seemingly not even available then refer to here for what to do when AirDrop is not showing up on iPhone or iPad at all. On the Mac side of things, as long as the Mac is vaguely modern with a somewhat recent Mac OS or Mac OS X release and has Bluetooth, AirDrop usually works just fine without hassle.
Do you use AirDrop to transfer photos and files from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac? Have any tips or comments about AirDropping between iOS and Mac OS? Let us know in the comments.