AirDrop Not Working? Learn How to Fix!

In Short
  • AirDrop offers a convenient way of sharing files, photos, and more between Apple devices.
  • If AirDrop is not working for you, it could be due to a software glitch or you have not enabled WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • You can fix AirDrop not working by turning on Bluetooth and WiFi, checking your Mac's firewall, or resetting network settings on your device.

Unarguably, AirDrop is the fastest and easiest way to share files between Apple devices. It lets you seamlessly transfer your contacts, links, photos, and more, with no loss in quality. The new NameDrop feature in iOS 17 makes things more interesting. While AirDrop is one of the most useful and convenient features of the Apple ecosystem, it might sometimes stop working, a pretty common occurrence after you update the software. If AirDrop is not working on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you’ve landed at the right place. We’ve mentioned 15 tested ways to fix AirDrop not working. Without any ado, let’s get started.

1. Check if Your Device Supports AirDrop

Since the AirDrop feature has been around for a long time, your Apple devices will normally support it. That said, if you are holding on to a really old device, it might not have this feature. And that could be a reason why AirDrop isn’t working on your iPhone or Mac. Here are all the AirDrop-compatible devices:

  • iPhones running iOS 7 or later
  • iPads with iPadOS 13 or later
  • Macs released in 2012 or later and running OS X 10.10 or newer versions

2. Ensure the Devices are Awake

One of the most common reasons your AirDrop isn’t discoverable is that your iPhone is locked or powered off. When this happens, people might not see your device in the list of devices available for receiving AirDrop, and you won’t be able to receive files.

So, if you’re stuck with AirDrop not working on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, ensure your device is powered on and awake. Also, if your AirDrop is stuck waiting, ask the other person to check if their Apple device is unlocked with the display on.

3. Adjust the AirDrop Settings

If AirDrop is not working on Mac or you can’t AirDrop files to an unsaved contact on your iPhone, it might be due to the AirDrop settings. Apple AirDrop has three levels to control the visibility of your device:

  • Receiving Off: You can’t receive files from anyone.
  • Contacts Only: Only your contacts can discover you and share files.
  • Everyone for 10 Minutes: All nearby Apple devices can see you.

Note: The “Everyone” AirDrop Setting has been renamed to “Everyone for 10 minutes” in the newer versions of iOS and iPadOS.

Make sure you haven’t selected the Receiving Off option otherwise AirDrop won’t receive files on your iPhone or Mac. If AirDrop is sending but not receiving files, switch to “Everyone for 10 Minutes” and see if it works.

How to Adjust AirDrop Settings on iPhone:

1. Open Settings -> General -> AirDrop and tap Everyone for 10 Minutes.

Adjust AirDrop Settings on iPhone

Alternatively, you can open Control Center, touch & hold anywhere in the network settings block (where you see Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other icons). Then, tap AirDrop, and choose Everyone for 10 Minutes.

How to Adjust AirDrop Settings on Mac:

1. Open Finder and select AirDrop from the sidebar. In case you don’t see the AirDrop option in the left sidebar, use the keyboard shortcut “Command+Shift+R”.

2. Under Allow me to be discovered by, choose Everyone.

4. Check if Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are Enabled

We know AirDrop relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to transfer files between Apple devices. If AirDrop isn’t working on iPhone 13 or you can’t AirDrop files between an iPhone and Mac, you can toggle Bluetooth & Wi-Fi to jump-start things. It’s a quick hack to eliminate any minor glitches responsible for AirDrop not working problems. So, make sure to give it a try.

Toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on iPhone/iPad:

1. Open Settings > Wi-Fi and turn Wi-Fi off. Then, wait for 5 to 10 seconds and turn Wi-Fi on.

2. Go back to Settings -> Bluetooth and Turn Bluetooth off. After 5 to 10 seconds, turn Bluetooth ON.

Toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on Your Mac:

  • Open System Settings and click on the Wi-Fi option from the left sidebar. Here, turn off the Wi-Fi toggle.
  • After 5-10 seconds, turn the toggle on.
  • Repeat the same steps to toggle Bluetooth.

5. Disable Personal Hotspot 

If you’ve enabled Personal Hotspot on your iPhone, AirDrop won’t work. When you host a personal Hotspot, your iPhone will automatically disable Wi-Fi and switch to mobile data to provide an internet connection to another device. As we’ve discussed above, AirDrop doesn’t work on your iPhone if Wi-Fi is turned off. Therefore, if you want to fix AirDrop not working problem, you need to disable Personal Hotspot. 

  • Head to Settings > Personal Hotspot and turn off Allow Others to Join.
  • You can also disable Personal Hotspot from the Control Center. Touch & hold anywhere in the network settings block and turn off Personal Hotspot.

6. Bring the Devices Closer

If you can’t see the other person in AirDrop or vice versa, try bringing the devices closer. We’ve explicitly mentioned this because Bluetooth has a range of 33 feet (10 meters) on modern smartphones. So, if you want to use AirDrop to send or receive files on your Apple devices, make sure they are within the acceptable Bluetooth range. You’ll be stuck with AirDrop not working issues if they are quite far.

7. Disable DND or Focus Mode

AirDrop might not work on your iPhone if you’ve enabled Do Not Disturb or any other Focus Mode. Also, if you’ve put your iPhone, iPad, or Mac on Airplane mode, it will automatically disable any network connections and eventually, AirDrop won’t work. So when you want to use AirDrop on your Apple devices, make sure you do not enable any of these modes.

1. To avoid any complications, head to the Control Center and verify you’re not using Airplane or DND mode on your iPhone. 

8. Remove AirDrop Restrictions

If AirDrop is not showing up on Mac or the AirDrop option is greyed out on your iPhone, you might have disabled it in the Content & Privacy Restrictions. You’ll have to remove these restrictions to fix AirDrop not available problems. Here’s how it’s done.

How to Remove AirDrop Restrictions on iPhone/iPad:

1. Open Settings -> Screen Time -> Content & Privacy Restrictions and choose Allowed Apps.

2. Enter your Screen Time passcode and make sure the AirDrop option is turned on.

How to remove AirDrop restrictions on Mac:

1. Open System Settings -> Screen Time.

2. Click Content & Privacy.

3. Choose App Restrictions.

4. Make sure AirDrop is turned on.

9. Restart Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

This is a simple way of fixing the most common iPhone problems. Fortunately, most of the time, it does the trick when AirDrop isn’t working. So, it’s worth a try!

  • To restart iPhone X or later models: Press the Side/Power button and one of the Volume keys to see the Power-off slider.
  • For iPhone 8, 7, 6, and SE (2nd/3rd gen) models: Press and hold the Power/Side key until the Power-off slider is shown.
  • To restart iPhone SE (1st gen), 5, or earlier: Press and hold the Top button until you see the Power-off slider.

Then, drag the slider and wait for about 30 seconds. To turn on your iPhone, press and hold the Power button (top or side) until you see the Apple logo.To restart your Mac, go to the Apple menu -> Restart.

10. Turn off the VPN

Using a VPN is another reason why AirDrop isn’t working on your Mac or iPhone. To make AirDrop work on your Apple devices, you should disconnect VPN and try again. 

1. On an iPhone or iPad, open Settings -> VPN and turn it OFF. 

2. If you don’t see this option, go to Settings -> General -> VPN and Device Management. 

3. Tap VPN and turn off the “Status” slider if it is enabled.

On a Mac, navigate to System Settings -> Network -> VPN and turn it OFF. You can also disconnect VPN in its companion app.

11. Check Firewall Settings on Mac

If AirDrop isn’t working from iPhone to Mac or AirDrop doesn’t show your Mac as an option on your iPhone/iPad, it could be due to Firewall settings on your MacBook. To fix AirDrop problems on Mac, you should first limit the Firewall on your machine.

1. Go to Apple Menu -> System Settings.

2. From the sidebar, choose Network.

3. Click Firewall (from the right).

4. Click the Options button.

5. Make sure “Block All Incoming Connections is turned off.

6. Also, enable “Automatically allow built-in software to receive incoming connections.”

12. Log Back into your Apple Account

In some rare cases, the recent account login sessions expire, and it affects FaceTime, AirDrop, and other associated services. So, if AirDrop isn’t working on your iPhone, Mac, or iPad, you can sign out and back into your Apple ID account. 

1. Open Settings, tap your name, and choose the Sign Out option at the bottom of the screen. 

2. Then, enter your Apple ID password and hit Turn Off.

3. You can choose the data you want to keep a copy of on your iPhone.

4. Tap Sign Out from the top-right and hit Sign Out again to confirm.

5. Tap Sign in to your iPhone from the Settings app and enter your Apple ID and password.

6. Tap Next and enter your iPhone passcode.

13. Update Software

Running your devices on the latest software versions can improve overall performance. Fortunately, Apple regularly releases updates to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS to offer improved features and fix software bugs. Therefore, if AirDrop isn’t working on iOS, you should look for software updates. 

1. On iPhone or iPad, open Settings -> General -> Software Update. If any updates are available, download and install them.

2. On Mac, go to Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> General -> Software Update

3. Then, download and install the available updates if any.

14. Reset Network Settings

If AirDrop is taking too long, you can reset the network settings to rule out any network-related glitches responsible for iPhone AirDrop not working. It’s worth mentioning that when you reset network settings on your iPhone, it wipes off all saved Wi-Fi network passwords, paired Bluetooth devices, VPN information, and other related info. To know all the details, don’t forget to check out our dedicated guide on how to reset network settings on an iPhone.

15. Contact Apple Support

If you have tried all the ways to fix your AirDrop but nothing worked in your favor, it could be due to issues with the internal components of your device. Sometimes, the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi hardware might be at fault, and that’s why AirDrop is not working on your iPhone or Mac.

In such cases, the best way is to seek some professional help. We recommend heading to the nearest Apple service center to get your device diagnosed by Apple experts. Like always, we’ll urge you to stay away from any cheaper, third-party alternatives as they can further damage your devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my AirDrop not working on my iPhone?

Here are some of the possible reasons for AirDrop not working on iPhone or Mac:
1. Devices are quite far from each other.
2. Incorrect AirDrop settings.
3. Older software versions
4. Bluetooth won’t work on your iPhone or iPad.
5. Wi-Fi problems.
6. Expired iCloud login sessions.
7. Corrupted network settings.
8. Using a personal hotspot.
9. You’re connected to a VPN.

How do I enable AirDrop on Mac?

Open the Control Center from the top right corner of the screen, and click the AirDrop icon. You can then choose Contacts Only or Everyone.

Why is my AirDrop stuck waiting?

The most common reasons why AirDrop isn’t working and is stuck waiting include software glitches, older iOS or macOS versions, devices powered off or locked, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth aren’t working, or the devices aren’t in the acceptable Bluetooth range.

Why is AirDrop not finding anyone?

Here’s why AirDrop isn’t working for contacts only or your iPhone AirDrop won’t find anyone:
1. The recipient has enabled Receiving Off in AirDrop.
2. The recipient device is powered off, locked, or in sleep mode.
3. The other person has enabled Airplane or DND mode.
4. The devices are more than 30 feet apart.
5. If the recipient has enabled Contacts Only in AirDrop settings and you aren’t in his contacts, you’ll get stuck with the AirDrop ‘No People Found’ problem.

How do I turn on AirDrop for everyone?

To enable AirDrop for everyone on iPhone or iPad, open Settings -> General -> AirDrop -> Everyone. On your Mac, go to Finder -> AirDrop -> Allow me to be discovered by -> Everyone for 10 Minutes.

Why am I able to AirDrop Mac to iPhone but not iPhone to Mac?

One of the most reported Apple AirDrop issues is AirDrop working one-way only. Many users have shared their experiences where AirDrop works on Mac to iPhone but not on iPhone to Mac. If you’re also facing similar AirDrop problems, try the following:
1. Verify receiving isn’t off on Mac.
2. From Mac’s Firewall settings, double-check that “Block All Incoming Connections” isn’t enabled. 
3. Head to Control Center -> AirDrop and choose Everyone for 10 Minutes.

Comments 1
  • John G says:

    I’m amazed there are no comments here to recognize this outstanding effort. Extremely thoroughly and clear; A rare accomplishment in today’s world. Despite the exceptional information, I remain unable to connect my iPhone XR to the MacMini (Catalina). The phone and network are visible on both devices, but no connection occurs.

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