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 that 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, have them set their AirDrop receiving setting to Everyone in order to receive the file.

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

How to use AirDrop

  1. Open an app, then tap Share or the Share button . If you share a photo from the Photos app, you can swipe left or right and select multiple photos.
  2. Tap the AirDrop button.
    iPhone showing the share sheet with photos selected and the AirDrop option displayed.
  3. Tap the AirDrop user1 you want to share with. Or you can use AirDrop between your own Apple devices.
    iPhone showing the AirDrop a Copy screen with people and devices you can select. 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 you’re near someone in your Contacts, you can share by opening the content you want to share, then bringing your devices together.2

1. 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.

2. This option will only be available if both you and your contact are using an iPhone that’s running iOS 17.

How to accept AirDrop

When someone shares something with you using AirDrop, you’ll see an alert. You can tap Accept or Decline.

iPhone showing an AirDrop alert that you can decline or accept.

For most apps, if you tap Accept, the AirDrop will come through within the same app it was sent from. For example, photos appear in the Photos app and websites open in Safari. App links 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 automatically be sent to your device. Just make sure both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID.

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.
    iPhone showing AirDrop settings with Contacts Only selected.

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 for 10 Minutes in iOS 16.2 or later, your option will revert to Contacts Only3 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.

3. If you’re not signed in with your Apple ID on your device, this setting will revert to Receiving Off after 10 minutes.

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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