How to use AirDrop to instantly share files from your Mac

How to use AirDrop to instantly share files between Macs

With AirDrop you can quickly, easily, and securely share files not just between iOS devices, or between iOS and OS X, but between Macs running OS X as well. As long as you're within Bluetooth LE range, and you have Wi-Fi enabled, there's virtually no file size restriction either, which can make AirDrop even more convenient than mailing, messaging, or online sharing as well.

AirDrop requirements

In order for AirDrop to work, your Macs need to be:

  1. Equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (2012 Macs or later) and within range.
  2. Running OS X Yosemite or later.
  3. Have Wi-Fi turned on.

The new version of AirDrop uses BT LE and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to connect and transfer data. It's compatible with iOS 8 AirDrop, but not with older Macs.

If you want use AirDrop with a slightly older Mac, you can fall back on the older version of AirDrop, which uses Bonjour and personal area networking (PAN), but you lose iOS compatibility.

How to enable or disable AirDrop on the Mac

  1. Launch the Finder on both Macs.
  2. Click on AirDrop in the left navigation.
  3. Set AirDrop for either Contacts or Everyone.

To disable AirDrop, repeat the same steps but set it to No one.

How to send files with AirDrop for Mac

  1. Find the file you'd like to share on your Mac. This can be a photo, video, Map location, and much more.
  2. Right click on the file and then choose Share.
  3. In the submenu, choose AirDrop.
  4. Choose the person you'd like to AirDrop to.
  5. They will receive a notification asking them to accept or decline the file.
  6. Click Done on your Mac when you're finished.

You can also access AirDrop from Finder, which lets you drag and drop files.

  1. Launch Finder from the dock or via Spotlight Search.
  2. Click on AirDrop in the sidebar.

If you're in Safari, you can also share web pages via AirDrop.

  1. Click on the Share button at the top right.
  2. Click on AirDrop.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to use AirDrop to instantly share files from your Mac

9 Comments

Well... I'm using a late 2008 MacBook, running OSX 10.8.3 and it works like a charm.
Take a look at Finder/Preferences and see if the box for Airdrop is checked.

According to the Apple support page at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4783?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US, your MBP should support Airdrop as support started with the late 2008 MBP (except for the 17" model), but it also says that if it doesn't appear in the sidebar or in the Go menu, your computer doesn't support it. Maybe you have a 17" MBP? The other thing is that there is no late 2009 MBP of any sort listed by Apple - just early and mid.

What does it say when you click on the About this Mac in the Apple menu and then More Info ... On my MacBook Pro (sadly) it says "15-inch" Early 2008 - the one before Airdrop.

Damn Apple and buying refurbs. When I bought it years ago I thought I was buying a early (you were right) 2009. Now that I actually check, it's early 2008. Lame. Thanks for the info.

Mid-2011 iMac here. According to Apple, Airdrop should work on Yosemite (it did just fine on Mavericks), but alas, no luck.