How to Use AirDrop on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Authored by: Tech Pro Team

1. Introduction

AirDrop lets you quickly and easily transfer files between iPhones, iPads, and Macs. It uses Bluetooth LE to broadcast, discover, and negotiate connections, and point-to-point Wi-Fi to transfer data. That makes it fast, power-efficient, and secure!

When you're using AirDrop between iPhones and iPads, you can AirDrop photos, videos, contacts, Passbook passes, Voice Memos, Map locations, and any and everything else that appears on a Share sheet.

Apple AirDrop banner displaying transfer between iPhones.

To use AirDrop, you need one of the following Apple products running iOS:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad (4th generation or later)
  • iPad mini
  • iPod touch (5th generation or later)

In order to be compatible, all iOS devices being used for AirDrop must be running at least iOS 7 or later.

2. Enable Airdrop

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to reveal the Control Center.
iOS swipe up arrow.
  1. Press and Hold the Connections Box.
iOS connection's box
  1. Select the AirDrop icon.
iOS control panel showing the airdrop icon
  1. Choose one of the following options:
  2. Off - Turn off AirDrop
  3. Contacts Only - your iOS device is visible only to your contacts.
  4. Everyone - Your iOS device is visible to all nearby iOS devices that use AirDrop.
Airdrop options.

3. Share With Airdrop

To share via AirDrop

  1. When attempting to share anything via AirDrop within iOS, the icon to look for within any app is the Share icon.
iOS Share icon.
  1. While viewing the photo you would like to share, tap the Share icon on your screen.
iOS photos app viewing a photo with the share button highlighted.
  1. This will open the photo and automatically select it. This is signified by the blue check mark and title at the top of the screen. If there are more photos that you would like to select, swipe left or right within the photo area and tap on additional photos to select them as well.
iOS airdrop interface showing how to swipe
  1. Beneath the selected photos, available users' iOS devices will be displayed. Simply select the iOS device/user you would like to transmit the data to.
iOS airdrop interface showing the airdrop selections
  1. On the iOS device that you've elected to transmit data to, a message will appear on-screen. This will allow the other person to accept or decline the transmission of data.
iOS airdrop selection

If AirDrop settings are set to "Contacts only" and you cannot find a nearby user, make sure that both devices are signed into an iCloud account. If AirDrop cannot locate a nearby user, you may consider setting AirDrop to "Everyone" temporarily.