AirDrop lets you wirelessly beam almost anything from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to any other recent Apple device. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 for power-efficient broadcast and discovery, and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi for speedy transfer. The entire process isn't just simple, it's incredibly secure... when it works. If you're having trouble, though, it can maddening. Luckily, there are a few things you can try to get it working!

Adjust AirDrop

AirDrop has three levels: Off, Contacts Only, and Everyone. Contacts Only is the most complex of the three, since it has to verify who knows who. If you're in a pinch, you can switch to Everyone and try again. You can also turn it off and on again.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to bring up Control Center.
  2. Tap AirDrop.
  3. Tap Everyone to switch to the simplest possible transfer method.
  4. Tap Off then repeat the process and tap On again to toggle it.

If that worked, awesome. You're good to go. If not, keep reading.

Match the Mac

If you're trying to use AirDrop from an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to your Mac, but your Mac isn't showing up, here's something else to try:

  1. Launch Finder on your Mac.
  2. Click on AirDrop in the sidebar.

That puts your Mac in an AirDrop-ready state as well and can help in detection. If it doesn't, keep reading!

Toggle radios

If toggling AirDrop itself doesn't get things going, you can escalate to the radios.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to bring up Control Center.
  2. Tap the Bluetooth button to turn BT off, Wi-Fi to turn wireless on and off.
  3. Tap the Bluetooth button and Wi-Fi button again to turn BT and wireless back on.

Alternatively, you can perform the same steps but tap the Airplane Mode button to toggle all radios off and then back on at once.

Once you're done, try connecting again. If it works, great. If not, keep reading.

Hard reset

The next thing to try is a hard reset. Make all the "reboot Windows" jokes you want but it's a cliche for a reason!

  1. Press and hold down both the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time.
  2. Keep them held down until you see an Apple logo.
  3. Let go.
  4. Wait for the reboot to complete.

Once you've rebooted, try connecting it in again. If it works, you're good. If not, go on to the next step.


Apple's Bluetooth stack—the set of software that controls your device's radio—isn't without its occasional quirks. Sometimes, new versions of iOS introduce compatibility problems; other times, they fix them. If you're having Bluetooth connectivity problems, you're better off updating than not. If it's already broken, the update is your chance for a fix.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Software Update.
  4. If there's an update available, tap to install it.

Once you're done updating, try to use AirDrop again. If it works, awesome. If not, there's even more to try!

Reset networks

Resetting can be a huge pain, but if something has gone wrong with the way your iPhone or iPad connects to other devices, it might just be necessary.

  1. Launch the Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Reset at the bottom.
  4. Tap on Reset Network Settings.
  5. Enter your Passcode, if prompted.
  6. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm.

Once this is complete, you'll have to reconnect to every Wi-Fi and Bluetooth device you own or use; once you're done, check AirDrop again. If it works, it was all worth it. If not, let's keep going.

Contact Apple

Sometimes a problem really is a problem. Like any electronics, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios and the various connections to them can have problems. If you have AppleCare+, don't walk, run to your local Apple Store to get it looked at.