Tips & Tricks

Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks – AirDrop Not Working On Mac

AirDrop Not Working On Mac
Written by Hassan Abbas

Is your AirDrop is not working on Mac? AirDrop, a P2P technology for wireless content swap across OS X and iOS devices. Also, it universally attacks as one of those features that can’t “just work”.

But a few things are not simple. When it turns out, more often than not AirDrop problems that people suffer can be fixed very easily. That’s why you can’t give up on AirDrop yet in case if it’s acting up. Well, there is the best explanation, and a simple fix, for the AirDrop hiccups you’ve been experiencing.

AirDrop can save you many times so here’s our troubleshooting trick that you will follow to provide this really. Well, really it’s an amazing feature another chance. If AirDrop is not working perfectly for you, read on to find out how you can do this basic troubleshooting.

AirDrop Troubleshooting – AirDrop is not working on Mac

If you AirDrop is not working on Mac then try out tips and tricks:

Do you think that your AirDrop device discoverable?

An airDrop must be manually turned on in Control Center on Mac’s Finder and iOS devices for it to work. On iOS, move up from under the screen to bring up Control Center. Also, click AirDrop to choose your discoverability mode.

if you want to control whom you can share content with, simply use the following AirDrop choices:

  • Off—no one can view your device but still, you can AirDrop items to others.
  • Contacts Only—Just contacts in your address book can view your device as an AirDrop arrival. Both devices should be signed in to the email or iCloud address or contact number linked with your Apple ID should be in the Contacts app of the receiving device. However, the choice is good for included security as it’ll secure AirDrop requests coming in from unknown or random users.
  • Everyone—All nearly devices using AirDrop can view your device. This is the best choice for some users.

We recommend using the Everyone option to ignore discoverability issues. Learn more about “AirDrop Not Working On Mac” then proceed further:

On OS X, choose AirDrop in the Finder’s Go menu. Simply press Command (⌘) – Shift (⇧) – R. Also, you can open a new Finder window and tap AirDrop in the sidebar (to display the sidebar, press Command (⌘) – Option (⌥) – S).

You can also adjust AirDrop visibility by tapping the link located next to ”Allow me to be discovered by” in the AirDrop window. Also select between OffContacts Only, and Everyone. Again, choosing Everyone is the best option to secure difficulties arising from reducing AirDrop to the more secure (Contacts Only) option.

Learn more about “AirDrop Not Working On Mac” then proceed further:

Are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled?

The AirDrop protocol wants Bluetooth to analyze if the devices are in close proximity to one another. Also, the Wi-Fi moves data. Once presence information is maintained, content is beamed through Wi-Fi. If the internet is on and Bluetooth is off, then AirDrop can’t work.

On the Mac, the AirDrop window (Command (⌘) – Option (⌥) – R) gives the button to turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (or both) in case they’re turned off. So you don’t need to manually attach to a Wi-Fi network and turn on Bluetooth via Mac’s menu bar.

This best choice isn’t accessible through the AirDrop share sheet, however. For example, if you turn off Bluetooth and then try to AirDrop a web link via Safari’s Share sheet. Then you’ll be welcomed with a message saying, “To use AirDrop, enable Bluetooth”.

On the iOS devices, you can just click the AirDrop in the AirDrop menu to automatically enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in case either, or both are turned off.

Devices within 30 feet 

Make sure to measure the distance between your devices. AirDrop uses Bluetooth connectivity so the device that you are trying to AirDrop is within 30 feet (9 meters) of yours. If important, then move all the devices closer together to better Bluetooth reception. Well, Bluetooth is especially liable to physical obstacles like concrete walls.

Receiving device’s screen on

AirDrop is available when the screen of receiving iOS devices is on. On the Mac, AirDrop works smoothly when the display sleeps whenever the PC can’t be entered into the sleep mode. AirDrop sharing requests appear as alerts on the iOS Lock screen. So you simply swipe to accept the items. On the Mac, AirDrop alerts get delivered to the OS X login screen if your Mac’s display is sleeping.

As mentioned above, AirDrop halts to function when the receivers go to sleep, either manually or automatically. The icon can’t appear until your device wakes from sleep.

On the Mac, the failure point for AirDrop is turning on the PC to move to sleep shortly when the display shuts off after a certain amount of time has passed.

What to do? Mark the box next to “Prevent PC from sleeping automatically when the display is off” in System Preferences → Energy Saver. Also, you can do this separately when the Mac is attached to power or using its inbuilt battery.

Issue – Airplane Mode activation

Airplane Mode turns off all wireless radios in your iOS device. As explained above, AirDrop needs that both Wi-Fi or Bluetooth be on. If you want to exit Airplane Mode, move up under the screen and unmark the Airplane Mode icon in Control Center, also toggle the switch in Settings → Airplane Mode.

When the Mirror iPhone option is turned on in the Watch companion app on your iPhone at the bottom of My Watch → My Watch → Airplane Mode. Then turning on Airplane Mode on your watch will cause it to kick in on your iPhone, and much more.

Are you already in Do Not Disturb mode?

You are allowed to AirDrop stuff to others whilst your device is in Do Not Disturb mode. The opposite, however, isn’t true. That’s due to Do Not Disturb mode conceal the AirDrop notification and renders the device undiscoverable. It is applicable to both iOS and OS X, besides whether AirDrop devices are signed in to the same iCloud account or not.

Certainly, the sender probably views your DND device in their AirDrop menu only to be welcomed with a “Waiting” message after attempting to share something. AirDrop tries to link a connection with the other device in DND mode. However, it will give up after a minute or two and generate a “Failed” message.

Leave Do Not Disturb mode to again discover your device through AirDrop.

On iOS, move up under the screen and unmark Do Not Disturb icon in Control Center. On your Mac, move or swipe from the right corner of the trackpad. Also, tap the Notification Center icon in the menu bar. Tap Notifications, move down to uncover the Do Not Disturb switch and set it to the OFF position.

Well, schedule setting for Do Not Disturb stops AirDrop from taking items during a defined period in Settings → Do Not Disturb → Scheduled (iOS) or System Preferences → Notifications → Do Not Disturb → Turn on Do Not Disturb (OS X).

Learn more about “AirDrop Not Working On Mac” then proceed further:

Is personal Hotspot turned on?

Personal Hotspot incompatible with AirDrop as both features need Wi-Fi for themselves. On the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, a text in the AirDrop menu warns you that “AirDrop is not available while using Personal Hotspot”.

To disable the hotspot feature on iOS. Just flip the Personal Hotspot switch in Settings → Personal Hotspot to the OFF position. If applicable, on your Mac tap the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and choose the choice to disconnect from the Personal Hotspot.

Is your AirDrop set to Contacts Only?

AirDrop on the receiving device to Contacts Only is not the secure way to use the feature. While setting up AirDrop on the receiver device to the Contacts Only mode. However, both the receiving and sending device should be signed in to their iCloud account.

In addition, the email address or phone number linked with your Apple ID must be saved in the Contacts app of the receiving device for the sender to be recognized in this mode. Unsure which phone numbers or addresses are linked with your Apple ID? Head over to the My Apple ID webpage in a desktop browser and view under the Reachable At heading in the Account section.

At least one phone number or email address display there must be saved in the receiving device’s Contacts app just to appear in the list of AirDrop destinations on the receiving device. It doesn’t bother that if the receiver address is in the sender’s contacts aside from enabling the recipient’s contact name and profile photo to display up in the AirDrop menu.

AirDrop can’t recognize any email address which has been linked with your Apple ID but doesn’t display up as verified in the PC. If you want to verify the email address after including it to your Apple ID, simply check your mailbox for a text from Apple containing a verification link.

Learn more about “AirDrop Not Working On Mac” then proceed further:

At last, make sure that your card is defined in Contacts. If not, simply launch Contacts on your Mac, choose a contact card and select Card → Make This My Contact Card. If you want to set the My Info card on iOS, head over to Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Move down and click My Info at the bottom of the Contacts heading and select a required card from your Contacts.

Devices signed in to iCloud – Issue

If you want to AirDrop in Contacts Only mode. Then both devices should be signed in to iCloud in Settings → iCloud and the phone number or email address linked with your Apple ID must be stored in the Contacts app of the receiving device, or it can’t be reachable.

When the recipient device is a Mac that’s signed in to the identical iCloud account. Then you’re AirDropping between your own devices—as any received item will automatically accept and stored in Mac’s Downloads folder. So no action takes place.

When the two Macs are signed in to various iCloud accounts. For example, a cousin with an iPad comes with and like to AirDrop some content to your PC—then, as a safety measure, the recipient Mac is asked to accept the item before it’s stored.

Is your app support AirDrop?

Different variety of third-party apps give access to AirDrop as the system-wide Share menu. But the majority can’t. Analyze your app’s App Store description or get in touch with its developer to make sure that it supports AirDrop. Some apps may turn off AirDrop for copyright reasons. For example, you can’t send video or music files via AirDrop from the native Apple apps like Music or Videos.

Multi-file sharing failing?

Does AirDrop welcome you with a “Cannot receive all of these items at the same time” text on your iOS devices? That’s the reason that you are trying to share several files from a Mac to an iOS device that is not of the same type.

AirDrop for iOS was built to auto-open received items in the fixed app so it can’t deal with various file types in a single session. For instance, if you choose a picture, a PDF file or a Word document in the Finder and you can then AirDrop these files to your iPhone, you’ll then receive an error message.

Rather than, share each file type separately. Initially, the image, secondly the PDF file, and thirdly the Word document. AirDrop allows you to share several files as you want to but Mac-iOS sessions are reduced to items of the same type (i.e. several images, lots of web links, and so on so forth).

Is AirDrop turned on both ends?

If the internet or Bluetooth, or both, are turned off on your device, then AirDrop can’t work and you will then view a warning message to switch Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on.

AirDropping to an older Mac?

AirDrop has a legacy mode that works between two older Macs. Before you are going to AirDrop anything to an older Mac, you initially switch to the legacy mode.

If the recipient Mac is a 2012 or older model, just tap “Don’t see who you’re looking for?” in the AirDrop window of the sharing Mac, and then tap the Search for an Older Mac button.

Learn more about “AirDrop Not Working On Mac” then proceed further:

Your PC will initiate scanning the network. Searching for any Mac which uses an older implementation of the AirDrop protocol. You must manually leave the legacy mode just to AirDrop with iOS devices and the latest Macs, by tapping the Cancel button.

Is Mac’s Firewall chunking all incoming connections?

If you have turned on and set OS X’s software firewall feature to block or chunk all incoming connections. Then  AirDrop will suffer. Rather than from some useful system services that can’t affect, choosing this choice basically secures all sharing services. Like Screen Sharing, File Sharing, AirDrop, and much more, from receiving incoming connections.

If you want to adjust the firewall application on your Mac. Then head over to System Preferences → Security & Privacy. Also, tap the Firewall tab. Then tap Firewall Options and unmark the box located next to “Block all incoming connections.” You must input an administrator password to modify this setting by tapping the lock in the lower-left corner of the window.

View Weird characters in Mac’s name?

If you want to be on the safe side, ignore using spaces, other special characters, or international characters like *, $, #, and %.

If required, rename your internet network and assign the names for your iOS, AirPort, and OS X devices. You can modify your Mac computer’s name in System Preferences → Sharing → Computer Name.

You can rename your iOS in the Settings → About → Name. Oh, and again start your devices after assigning them to help propagate the modifications through the network.

Is airDrop now displaying up in Control Center?

Your parents might restricted AirDrop on iOS using the Restrictions feature. On your iOS devices, head over to Settings → General → Restrictions and input in your Restrictions passcode. Remember that the switch located next to AirDrop at the bottom of Allow heading is set to the ON position. Also, AirDrop can’t be available on this device nor will it display up in Control Center.

Are AirDrop devices on the same Wi-Fi network

Your Mac doesn’t want to be connected to the same internet network as your iOS device for AirDrop to work. But it helps if they are. If you want to ensure your devices that they are on the same network, on each iOS device move to Settings → Wi-Fi and compare the network names. Do the same on your Macs by tapping the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.

How about resetting network settings?

After resetting network settings can fix a variety of issues—especially provided that AirDrop uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Both are part of network settings. If you want to reset your network settings, head over to Settings → General → Reset → Reset Network Settings.

While doing this will remove all network settings on your iOS device and return them to factory settings so you want to re-type passwords for secure Wi-Fi networks.

You may want to solve Bluetooth on your Mac

If all the other fixes are failed and you’re still facing issues with AirDrop, then Bluetooth stack on your Mac might be the problem. You would basically want to disable Bluetooth on the Mac, remove the /Library/Preferences/ file, restart the PC, and then enable the Bluetooth.

While troubleshooting Bluetooth problems on the Mac is too difficult to cover here, I’ve recommended you that it helps to launch System Preferences → Bluetooth.

When the Bluetooth preference pane displays up. Then don’t do anything and wait. On your iOS device, simply launch an app—say, images —and choose a photo. Now take the Share menu and your Mac should seem as an AirDrop destination.

Does your device compatible AirDrop at all?

If you want to make AirDrop work, your device must have the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chipset. On iOS, head over to the Control Center by moving up from the bottom of the screen. In case if it is in the Control Center, your device has the hardware to compatible AirDrop. Learn more about “AirDrop Not Working On Mac” then proceed further:

If you want to check that your Mac supports AirDrop. Simply choose About This Mac in the Apple menu and tap System Report to launch a System Information window. Now tap Wi-Fi at the bottom of the Network heading and view for AirDrop at the bottom of the Interfaces section.

When the entry reads “Supported,” your Mac has an AirDrop-supported Wi-Fi chipset. You can also check that your Mac is AirDrop-support by viewing if the AirDrop option is present in the Finder’s Go menu.

In case, if it’s not there as a choice, your PC isn’t compatible with AirDrop.

AirDrop system requirements

Here are the full AirDrop system requirements below.


AirDrop b/w two Macs are compatible by the following versions, or newer:

Late-2008 MacBook Pro:

  • Excluding late-2008 17-inch MacBook Pro
  • Excluding late-2008 white MacBook
  • Early-2015 MacBook with 12-inch Retina display


  • iMac
  • Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme card


  • Mid-2010 Mac mini
  • Late-2010 MacBook Air
  • Mid-2010 Mac Pro

AirDrop between Macs needs OS X Lion or newer.

Mac-to-iOS and vice versa

To share items from a Mac to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, or much more. Your Mac must be one of these versions, or latest:

  • Mid-2012 MacBook Air
  • Mid-2012 MacBook Pro
  • Early-2015 MacBook with 12-inch Retina display


  • 2012 iMac
  • 2012  Mac mini
  • 2013 Mac Pro

AirDrop b/w iOS or Macs devices need iOS 8 or earlier and OS X Yosemite or later.


AirDrop b/w iOS devices work on these versions:

  • iPhone 5/5c/5s/6/6 Plus/6s/6s Plus
  • 5th and 6th-generation iPod touch
  • 4th-generation iPad Air, iPad, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro
  • Original iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4

AirDrop is not compatible with older iOS devices like the iPhone 4s and the latest because of limited Wi-Fi functionality. AirDrop b/w iOS devices need iOS 7 or later.

Are you still facing Issues?

If the above-mentioned troubleshooting tips can’t resolve your AirDrop woes, try these:

  • Sign out of iCloud on your devices and then sign back in
  • Again start your iOS or Mac devices
  • Force restart an iOS device by holding the Sleep or Wake and Home button
  • Restart your Wi-Fi router
  • Turn off and re-enable Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
  • Input Airplane Mode on an iOS device for 30 seconds, then leave
  • Reset your Mac’s SMC or PRAM
  • Adjust IPv6 to the Automatic configuration state in OS X or iOS
  • Certainly turning off and then re-enabling iCloud Drive seems to do the trick
  • Don’t use uppercase characters in your Apple ID login
  • Alt-tap the Mac’s Wi-Fi icon and disconnect and again connect to your network
  • Toggle Bluetooth off and then return on again
  • Try unplugging the Ethernet cable so your Mac isn’t connected to any wired network
  • Rearrange services in System Preferences → Network so that Wi-Fi is at the top
  • Update to OS X El Capitan or iOS 9 for a more reliable network performance


Here’s all about “AirDrop is not working on Mac”. Is this article helpful? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.

Have you ever face issues after applying all these tricks? Have you found any other trick that we can’t cover in this article? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Till then! Stay Safe 🥰

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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