How to Turn On AirDrop on Mac and iPhone to Transfer Files

Last updated: Nov 1, 2023
Summary: This post introduces how to turn on AirDrop on Mac or iPhone/iPad and use it to send and receive files between Apple devices.

Apple includes an AirDrop feature in Apple operating systems to let you fast transfer files between Apple devices wirelessly. Learn more about AirDrop and check how to turn on AirDrop on Mac or iPhone/iPad below.

how to turn on AirDrop

What Is AirDrop?

AirDrop is a feature included in macOS and iOS that lets users easily send and receive photos, documents, and other files between nearby Apple devices. You can use this feature to wirelessly transfer files between iPhone and Mac, transfer files between two iOS devices, or transfer files between two Mac computers.

How to Turn on AirDrop on Mac (Sonoma/Ventura)

You can use System Settings, Control Center, or Finder to turn on AirDrop on macOS Sonoma/Ventura.

Way 1. Enable AirDrop in System Settings

  1. Click the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac screen and select System Settings.
  2. Click General in the left sidebar and click AirDrop & Handoff in the right window.
  3. You can click the option next to AirDrop to choose whom you want to share or receive files with AirDrop. You can select Everyone or Contacts Only to turn on AirDrop on your Mac.
how to turn on AirDrop on Mac
As for how to turn off AirDrop on your Mac, you can select the No One option next to AirDrop.

Way 2. Turn on AirDrop on Mac via Control Center

  1. Click the Control Center icon (the two sliders icon) in the menu bar at the top right corner of your Mac screen. Click AirDrop.
    how to turn AirDrop on via Control Center
  2. Turn on the switch of AirDrop to enable it.
    AirDrop turn on
  3. Select Everyone or Contacts Only to define who can discover you with AirDrop.

Way 3. Turn on AirDrop on Mac with Finder

  1. Click the Finder icon on the Dock to open the Mac Finder app.
  2. Click AirDrop in the left panel. You can also click Go in the menu bar and select AirDrop from the drop-down menu to open the AirDrop window.
  3. At the bottom of the window, you can click the “Allow me to be discovered by” option and choose either Everyone or Contacts Only to turn on AirDrop. To turn off AirDrop on Mac, you can select the No One option.
turn on AirDrop on Mac with Finder

For macOS Monterey and older versions, you can also follow the steps above to use Finder to easily enable or disable AirDrop on your Mac computer.

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How to Turn on AirDrop on iPhone/iPad

  1. Swipe down from the upper-right corner or from the bottom on your iPhone/iPad to open Control Center.
  2. Press and hold the section that contains the Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth buttons. Tap the AirDrop option to open the AirDrop settings.
  3. Choose Everyone if you want to receive files with AirDrop from all nearby Apple devices. Choose Contacts Only if you want to only receive files from people in your Contacts list. Choose Receiving Off to turn off AirDrop on your iPhone/iPad.

Another way to change AirDrop settings on your iOS devices is to open the Settings app. Tap General and select AirDrop. Choose who can discover and send you files with AirDrop.

How to Use AirDrop to Transfer Files between Apple Devices

Learn how to use AirDrop to transfer files between two iPhones, two Macs, or a Mac and iPhone/iPad.

Use AirDrop to Transfer Files from iPhone to iPhone or Mac

  1. Open the app and locate the file, photo, or video that you want to share on your iPhone/iPad.
  2. Tap the Share icon (an up-arrow icon) and tap the AirDrop icon.
  3. You will see a list of nearby AirDrop-enabled devices. Select the target device to send the file.
  4. Accept the file on the receiving device.

Transfer Files from Mac to iPhone or Another Mac with AirDrop

Way 1

  1. Follow the steps above to turn on AirDrop on your Mac and iPhone/iPad.
  2. Open Finder > AirDrop.
  3. Wait a moment for the nearby devices to appear in the AirDrop window.
  4. Drag the files into the AirDrop window to share them with the target iPhone or Mac.

Way 2

  1. Open Finder on your Mac and select the file or files that you want to send.
  2. Click the up-arrow Share button in the toolbar of Finder. Or you can right-click your mouse and select Share.
  3. Choose AirDrop from the Share menu.
  4. Select the target device from the list of nearby devices that have AirDrop turned on.
  5. Click Accept on the receiving device to accept the file.
To make AirDrop work, you should make sure both the devices have turned on AirDrop, WiFi and Bluetooth.

Bottom Line

This post provides step-by-step guides for how to turn on AirDrop on Mac and iPhone/iPad and introduces how to use AirDrop to send and receive files between Apple devices. Hope it helps.


Cassie has been writing about technology for her entire career life - over 10 years. She enjoys diving into how Apple products work and then breaking it down in a way that anyone can understand.