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5 Ways to Fix AirDrop Not Working Issues on iOS and macOS

How to Fix AirDrop Not Working Issues on iOS and macOS


5 Ways to Fix AirDrop Not Working Issues on iOS and macOS

Troubleshooting the AirDrop not working issues is essential in the connected media world we live in right now. Here’s everything that could go wrong with Apple’s wireless file sharing feature and what steps you can take to fix AirDrop not working issues on both iOS and macOS.

The Cupertino company has maintained its strict closed-loop environment, where only Apple-branded devices can internally share content. Beating Bluetooth file-sharing was the reason behind creating AirDrop, since Bluetooth transfer we not secure and painstakingly slow. AirDrop has since been essential to not just iOS, but macOS too, offering over the Wi-Fi file sharing. Allowing you to effortlessly move content across different iDevices, AirDrop uses secure encryption to transfer all kinds of media and files.

How to Fix AirDrop Not Working Issues

However, iOS and macOS users across the spectrum have reported problems with AirDrop not working between devices. When sharing files, the feature is stuck on “waiting” and then eventually gives a “failed” error, or the sharing iDevices simply don’t show up. In certain cases, even when the peer-to-peer Wi-Fi file transfer app seems to work, file transfer can pause up halfway, or transfer content at sluggish speeds.

1. Check your device compatibility with AirDrop

Released in 2011 alongside iOS 11, AirDrop was simultaneously released for Mac OS X and has been baked into every update ever since. Every Mac after 2012 running OS X Yosemite or later, along with every iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch running iOS 7 or later can run AirDrop. On an off-chance that you own an iPhone that came before iOS 7, or you own a Mac that runs anything older than the OS X 10.7 Lion, there might be no support for AirDrop in the first place.

2. Configure AirDrop settings

As an initial layer of security, Apple allows you to adjust the visibility settings of who can see your device when sending or receiving an AirDrop file. While it does safeguard you from unsolicited requests to share content from unknown iDevices, it can also be the reason behind AirDrop not working at times. There are three settings in AirDrop – Off, Everyone, and Contacts Only.


  • Head over to the Settings app and open the General
  • Select the AirDrop menu option on the list.
  • Set the visibility setting to either Contacts Only or Everyone.


  • Head to the Finder app to look up the AirDrop
  • Hit Command + Shift + S on the keyboard to view the sidebar and select AirDrop.
  • In the AirDrop menu, click on “Allow me to be discovered by:” and select Contacts Only or Everyone from the drop-down menu.

2. Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Although AirDrop uses Wi-Fi P2P connectivity to transfer large files, it still makes use of Bluetooth technology. If you are unable to see devices in AirDrop, having Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or both of them disabled could be the simplest reason behind the problem.


  • Head over to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Tap on Wi-Fi and make sure the toggle switch is turned on.
  • Head back to the Settings main screen and open the Bluetooth settings.
  • Enable the Bluetooth toggle switch and try using AirDrop now.


  • On the menu bar, click on the Wi-Fi icon and select the Turn Wi-Fi On.
  • Now press the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar and select Turn Bluetooth On.
  • Try using the AirDrop feature now to see if it connects with the other device.

If Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are already enabled, try disabling them and enabling them once again. Refreshing the wireless connection, as simple as it may seem, has been known to fix AirDrop not working issues among users.

3. Reboot your device

Turning a device off and then switching it on again is tech troubleshooting 101 – because it almost always works. Temporary processes can clog up the system memory over time, which can very well begin to affect the performance of any device. By rebooting a device, you’re giving it a fresh start, and it could be the easiest way to get rid of the error that prevents AirDrop from working well.


  • Press and hold the Power
  • On the screen, proceed with Slide to power off on the screen.
  • Once the iPhone or iPad is turned off completely, press and hold the Power button once again until the screen turns on.


  • Click on the Apple icon you see at the top-left of the menu bar.
  • From the dropdown menu, select the Restart
  • Let the MacBook or iMac shut down and boot up, after which you can try out the AirDrop feature.

4. Update your device to the latest version

There are plenty of things you can complain about, but one aspect where Apple outranks every other is software support. The software update released for the latest iPhone model brings the same software experience to even a 4-year-old iPhone 7. These software updates may seem like a nuisance when you have a meter connection where every gigabyte of data is precious. Without these updates, some moving parts can seem to act up, such as the AirDrop feature.


  • Head over to the Settings app and open the General
  • Tap on Software Update and check to see if one is available for your iPhone or iPad.
  • Press Install if there is a pending update and after you’re with the update process, check to see if it resolves the AirDrop problem.


  • Open the System Preferences tab and navigate to the Software Update.
  • Check to see if there is a pending update available for the Mac OS X system.
  • After the update, reboot the system and check if AirDrop has resumed working.

5. Reset Network Settings

The root cause of the problem with AirDrop has to be networking issues, whether it is related to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If you’re unable to figure out why AirDrop isn’t showing your iDevices, the last resort is performing a network reset. Although you will lose your saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords, along with previously connected Bluetooth devices and mobile network settings, all of your device media will be unaffected.

  • Open the Settings app on your iOS device and go to the General.
  • Scroll down to find the Reset tab and then select Reset Network Settings from the list.
  • Confirm your action and wait as the iOS device reboots.

On macOS, there is no option to clear all of the network settings together, but you can still delete them one by one. Manually select each of the Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections saved on your Mac in the Preferences – Network menu and press the “minus” icon right next to them.

Wrapping Up

Those are some of the different methods that will help you fix AirDrop not working issues on iOS and macOS.

The era of giving out thumb drives with crucial content is a thing of the past, especially an increasingly wireless world. AirDrop is more than just a novelty feature, and most of us need to make the most of it on a daily basis. The issue where AirDrop doesn’t detect devices, or file sharing suddenly fails is not one that you can overlook. With the fixes highlighted above, you should be able to easily get AirDrop us and running in no time.

Do you consider AirDrop to be a reliable agent for wireless file transfer, or would you rather pick a file transfer service that is not Apple-centric? We’d love to know your thoughts, so reach out to us in the comments.

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Sharing a love-hate relationship with Biotechnology in Uni, Husain moved on to his true calling of becoming a tech geek. While briefly being persuaded by the Apple clan, he made it back to Team Android, and has been a loyal comrade since, with a keen interest in IoT, Entertainment Tech, and Gaming.

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