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Mac Basics: AirDrop helps you share items with others nearby

AirDrop provides a quick way to share files wirelessly between two Macs, without having to connect to an existing network.

Using AirDrop

AirDrop is available from the Finder, the Share menu, and in Open and Save windows. When you choose AirDrop, OS X looks for any nearby computers that have also selected AirDrop. Use one of the following methods to share a file wirelessly with another Mac nearby.

Finder

  1. Select Go > AirDrop from the Finder on your computer, or select AirDrop in the sidebar of a Finder window.
  2. Ask the recipient to select AirDrop from the Finder on the other Mac.
  3. Drag and drop a file onto the recipient's icon in the AirDrop window that appears.
  4. Click Send.

The recipient needs to click Save to approve the file transfer on the other computer, and initiate downloading the files you're sending.

Share Menu

  1. From an app, select AirDrop from the Share  menu.
  2. Ask the recipient to select AirDrop from the Finder on the other Mac.
  3. Select the recipient in the Share sheet that appears.
  4. Click Send.

The recipient should approve the file transfer on the other computer to initiate downloading the files you send.

If you don't see nearby users in AirDrop

When you select AirDrop, OS X looks for other Macs that are close by and also using AirDrop. If you don't see someone in the AirDrop window:

  • Make sure Wi-Fi is turned on at both computers. Although you don't have to connect to a specific network, Wi-Fi needs to be turned on to transmit and receive files wirelessly.
  • Make sure that the recipient has selected AirDrop in the Finder. If you don't see this option in the Finder, refer to the Additional Information section of this article to make sure the computer is compatible with AirDrop.
  • Try moving the computers closer to each other. AirDrop is designed to work within a range of approximately 30 feet (9 meters). If you need to send a file to someone further away, consider using File Sharing, iCloud or email instead.

 

Additional Information

AirDrop requires that both Mac computers include Wi-Fi hardware that supports AirDrop mode. Both Mac computers need to have OS X Lion or later installed.

To see if your Mac works with AirDrop, make sure you’re in the Finder by clicking the desktop (the background area of your screen), or by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock. Then, check to see if AirDrop is listed as an option in the Go menu. If you don't see AirDrop listed, your Mac doesn't support this feature.

Macs that include AirDrop support are the same as, or newer than, the models listed below.

  • 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)

*The MacBook Pro (17-Inch Late 2008) and the white MacBook (Late 2008) do not support AirDrop.

For assistance with identifying your Apple product, refer to the Apple Support website.

Last Modified: Jan 17, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jan 17, 2014
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