How to use AirDrop on your iPhone or iPad

Use AirDrop to share and receive photos, documents and more with other Apple devices that are nearby.

Before you begin

  • Make sure the person you're sending to is nearby and within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range.
  • Check that you and the person you're sending to have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on. If either of you have Personal Hotspot on, turn it off.
  • Check if the person you're sending to has their AirDrop set to receive from Contacts Only. If they do, and you're in their Contacts, they'll need to have your Apple ID's email address or mobile number in your contact card for AirDrop to work.
  • If you're not in their Contacts, ask them to set their AirDrop receiving setting to Everyone in order to receive the file.

You can change your AirDrop receiving setting to Contacts Only or Receiving Off at any time to control who can see your device and send you content through AirDrop.

iPhone showing the menu where you select a contact or device to share with using AirDrop. 

How to use AirDrop

  1. Open an app and then tap Share or the Share button . If you're sharing a photo from the Photos app, you can swipe left or right and select multiple photos.
  2. Tap the AirDrop button.
  3. Tap the AirDrop user you want to share with. Or you can use AirDrop between your own Apple devices. If you see a red numbered badge on the AirDrop button, there are multiple devices nearby you can share with. Tap the AirDrop button, then tap the user you want to share with. Find out what to do if you can't see the AirDrop user or your other device.

If the person you're sharing content with is in your Contacts, you'll see an image with their name. If they're not in your Contacts, you'll just see their name without an image.

iPhone displaying an incoming AirDrop, a photo of a tree swing, with options to decline or accept.  

How to accept an AirDrop

When someone shares something with you using AirDrop, you'll receive an alert with a preview. You can tap Accept or Decline.

If you tap Accept, the AirDrop will come through within the same app it was sent from. For example, photos will appear in the Photos app and websites will open in Safari. App links will open in the App Store so you can download or purchase the app.

If you AirDrop something to yourself, such as a photo from your iPhone to your Mac, you won't see an option to Accept or Decline – it will be sent to your device automatically. Just make sure both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID.

A GIF of an iPhone displaying a swipe down from the top right-hand corner of the screen to open Control Centre, selecting the AirDrop button and changing AirDrop receiving options. 

How to adjust AirDrop settings

To choose who can see your device and send you content in AirDrop:

  1. Go to Settings, then tap General.
  2. Tap AirDrop, then choose an option.

You can also set your AirDrop options in Control Centre:

  1. On iPhone X or later, swipe down from the top right-hand corner of the screen to open Control Centre. Or follow the same motion to open Control Centre on your iPad with iOS 12 or later or iPadOS. On your iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  2. Press firmly or touch and hold the network settings card in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Touch and hold the AirDrop button, then choose one of these options:
    • Receiving Off: you won't receive AirDrop requests.
    • Contacts Only: only your contacts can see your device.
    • Everyone: all nearby Apple devices using AirDrop can see your device. When you set your AirDrop option to Everyone in iOS 16.2 or later, your option will revert to Contacts Only after 10 minutes.

If you see Receiving Off and can't tap to change it:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time.
  2. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  3. Tap Allowed Apps and make sure AirDrop is turned on.

The Contacts Only option is available on devices that support iOS 10 and later, iPadOS or macOS Sierra 10.12 and later. If AirDrop is set to Contacts Only on your device with an earlier software version, you'll need to adjust AirDrop settings to the Everyone option in Settings or from Control Centre. You can select the Everyone option while using AirDrop and disable it when not in use.

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