Quick guide: AirDrop for OS X Mavericks and iOS 7

Apple's AirDrop lets you share data between Macs or devices, though there are a few limitations. This quick guide will help you get to the drop on AirDrop.

Quick guide: AirDrop for OS X Mavericks and iOS 7


AirDrop's major limitation is that it does not support data transfers between iOS 7 devices and Macs. You can share data via AirDrop between Macs, or between devices, but not between the two. I'm unimpressed with this and hope Apple eventually enables sharing between its platforms.

Another limitation is that you can't use AirDrop to share content from an iPhone or Mac to any other operating system. Dropbox is one way to achieve this, though there should be an app for that, I believe.

Supported devices

AirDrop transfers information using a combination of WiFi and Bluetooth. You need an iCloud account to share with your Contacts. The following iOS devices support AirDrop file sharing, once upgraded to iOS 7.

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

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Setting up AirDrop (iOS)

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to invoke Control Center
  • Tap AirDrop
  • Choose from:
  1. Off
  2. Contacts only -- your device is only visible to those of your contacts who are signed into iCloud and have AirDrop enabled.
  3. Everyone -- device is visible to all nearby iOS devices with iCloud/AirDrop enabled.

If you don't have many photos of your contacts in your Contacts app, then you could try signing into Twitter or Facebook in Settings.

If you sign in to either, then tap the Update Contacts option. iOS will search through your Twitter/Facebook contacts, upating its own Contacts info if it finds a match -- this also downloads your contact's Profile pictures, which will then show up in AirDrop.

Sharing with AirDrop (iOS)

You can use AirDrop to share from apps including Photos, Safari, Contacts and others. Once it is set up it is quite easy to use.

  • Tap Share or the sharing icon
  • You may be asked to tap select the content you wish to share
  • You must then tap the name of the recipient user or device
  • The user you are sharing with will see an alert message that also carries a preview of what you want to share.
  • If they Accept the content then it will open in the appropriate app (images open in Photos, for example).

Sharing with AirDrop (Mavericks)

It is easy to share content using AirDrop and your Mac.

The following Macs or more recent editions of these Macs support AirDrop.

  • MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer)*
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 or newer)*
  • iMac (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010)
  • NB: The MacBook Pro (17-Inch Late 2008) and the white MacBook (Late 2008) do not support AirDrop.

Finder versus Share

To use AirDrop in Finder choose Go>AirDrop, or press Shift-Command-R.

  • The person you are attempting to share content with should also enter the AirDrop screen.
  • In a few seconds the images and computer names of those nearby users running AirDrop will appear in the AirDrop screen.
  • Drag-&-drop the item you wish to share to the other person's icon.
  • That user must then accept the transaction and the data will be transferred to their Downloads folder
  • Close the window once you've transferred the data.

The Mavericks Finder window also contains a Share Button (situated to the right of the Gears button). You can use this for far more flexible sharing a selected item of conten using email, iMessages, Facebook, Twitter and more.

This Share button is also available in Safari, Mail and other relevant applications on your Mac.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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