|Initial release||July 20, 2011|
|Operating system||iOS 7 onwards, Mac OS X Lion (10.7.x) onwards|
|Platform||iPhone 5 onwards, iPad (4th generation) onwards, iPad Mini (1st generation) onwards, iPod Touch (5th generation), MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
|Website||iOS and Mac OS X support articles|
AirDrop is an ad-hoc service in Apple Inc.'s OS X and iOS operating systems, introduced in Mac OS X Lion (OS X 10.7) and iOS 7 that enables users to transfer files among supported Mac computers and iOS mobile devices without using email or a mass storage device. OS X (prior to Yosemite) and iOS (prior to iOS 8) use different AirDrop protocols and are not interoperable with pre-release versions of Yosemite. The Yosemite released version (version 10.10) of OS X is compatible with previous versions of AirDrop.  AirDrop in OS X operates over Wi-Fi, whereas the iOS implementation utilizes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
There is currently no restriction on file sizes that can be sent over AirDrop. Apple users have reported movie files over 10 GB being sent over AirDrop without any problems. The two computers need to be within 10 meters of each other for AirDrop to recognize the other party. To date only a small number of applications implement the AirDrop facility.
On devices using OS X 10.7, AirDrop is available through a special folder in Finder, and as of OS X 10.8.1 can be accessed through the menu option Go > AirDrop or by pressing ⇧ Shift+⌘ Cmd+R. Wi-Fi must be turned on in order for AirDrop to recognize the other device. The other device must also use the same AirDrop folder in Finder to be able to transfer files. Furthermore, files are not automatically accepted; the receiving user must act to accept the transfer. This is done to increase security and prevent others from tracking who is nearby.
On iOS 7 and later, AirDrop can be set only through the Control Center introduced in iOS 7. It is located just below the quick toggles. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth must be activated for AirDrop to work. Options for controlling security through AirDrop include:
- Turn off device Discovery,
- Allow Contacts only to be able to discover the device,
- Allow everyone to be able to see the device.
Sharing to and from iOS is different among versions 10.7 through 10.9. Starting with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the old version of AirDrop for Mac is replaced with the one for iOS. However, a legacy mode exists in Yosemite for compatibility with Mavericks and prior versions.[vague] In supporting versions of iOS, if an application implements AirDrop, it is available through the share button. AirDrop is subject to a number of other restrictions, such as inability to share music from an iPod app. On supporting versions of OS X, any file or folder can be dragged to send.
In both instances, other devices appear as floating bubbles in Finder, which will usually display the other device's computer name and image. The design of AirDrop is similar to a radar display; however, devices appear randomly on the AirDrop page and there is no correlation to their physical location.
AirDrop is not officially supported on older devices (iPhone 4S and earlier) because of hardware limitations, and can be used only on the following models, or newer ones:
Running iOS 7 or later:
- iPhone: iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
- iPad: iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Air 2
- iPad mini: iPad mini (1st generation), iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3
- iPod touch: iPod touch (5th generation)
AirDrop can be enabled unofficially on iPad (3rd generation). Although not supported by default, AirDrop can be enabled by jailbreaking the device and installing "AirDrop Enabler 7.0+" from cydia. This procedure is not supported by Apple.
OS X requirements (transfer between two Mac computers)
Running Mac OS X Lion (10.7) or later:
- MacBook Pro (late 2008)
- MacBook Air (late 2010)
- MacBook (late 2008) (white MacBook (late 2008) does not support AirDrop)
- iMac (early 2009)
- Mac Mini (mid 2010)
- Mac Pro (mid 2010; early 2008 or early 2009 with AirDrop-supporting AirPort Extreme card)
AirDrop is also available on Hackintoshes (generic PCs running OS X) that have AirDrop-supported Wi-Fi cards, such as Broadcom's 4322/94322. Despite Apple's legal restrictions, developers have found that AirDrop can be enabled on any Macintosh running OS X Lion with a shell command, and will work over Ethernet as well. In order to get AirDrop to work, both Macs have to use the same network interface.
OS X requirements (transfer between a Mac and an iOS device)
|This article is missing information about additional requirements for Airdrop between iOS and OS X (in Yosemite). (November 2014)|
To transfer files between a Mac and an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the following minimum requirements have to be met:
- iPhone 5, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini (1st generation), iPod touch (5th generation) or newer device with iOS 7 or later installed.
- All Mac models released in 2012 or later with OS X Yosemite installed.
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have to be turned on for both Mac and iOS devices. (Both devices are not required to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.)
- Android Beam, a similar technology for Android smart phones (NFC based)
- Wi-Fi Direct, a similar technology
- Bonjour, the service discovery protocol employed
- Shoutr, a free P2P multi-user solution for sharing files among multiple people (Wi-Fi)
- Nations, Daniel. "What Is AirDrop? How Does It Work?". About.com. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Etherington, Darrell (September 17, 2013). "Apple iOS 7 Review: A Major Makeover That Delivers, But Takes Some Getting Used To". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- "Using AirDrop with OS X Lion, Mauntain Lion or Mavericks". http://support.apple.com/. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "iOS: Using AirDrop". Apple Inc. September 18, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "wifi adhoc". Apple Support Communities.
- "AirDrop Port Explaination [sic]". Thuchapol. December 27, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- "Enable AirDrop Over Ethernet & AirDrop On Unsupported Macs Running OS X". OS X Daily. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2013.