How to Fix AirDrop Not Working on iOS Mac macOS High Sierra/Mojave Issues

By Alice Yang to iOS Tips | Last Updated on Jan 15, 2019

Nothing would be better than AirDrop when it comes to transfer photos and videos between iOS iPhone iPad iPod and Mac computer, since it has no strict limits on file size, no 3rd party software needed, no accounts and code required, etc. Yet, things are different when you try to sync photos and videos between iOS devices or iOS to Mac, your AirDrop is not working. What causes AirDrop not working problem? How to fix it? Calm down, below comes the simple yet effective solutions to help you out of trouble.

AirDrop Failed Between iPhones/Macs? Simple Solution to Fix it!

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AirDrop Basic System Requirements

Before we come to the solutions, we're supposed to know the basic requirements AirDrop has. Maybe this is closely related to your AirDrop not working issue.

* To AirDrop files from iOS to iOS devices: you need to make sure you have an iPhone 5 or higher, iPad (4th generation or later), iPad mini, iPod Touch (5th generation or newer), running at iOS 7 or higher.
* To AirDrop files from iOS to Mac or vice versa: check if your Mac computer is made in 2012 or later, along with Mac OS X Yosemite or higher.
* To AirDrop contents between 2 Macs, basically, both of them need Yosemite or higher operating system. Alternatively, if you use AirDrop window in the Finder for files transfer, rather than the Photos app, you just simply arm your Macs with OS X 10.7 Lion or later.

On top of the mentioned system requirements, you also need to make sure your iOS devices and Mac under the same Wi-Fi network (not for file transfer use but need to be opened) and Bluetooth is turned on. In case your iOS iPhone iPad iPod and Mac computer have no problem in the above system requirements but AirDrop is still not working on Mac or iOS devices, then you can try the following methods. Before the moving to the below steps, be sure your personal files (photos or videos) are safe by backing up your iPhone iOS or Mac. It's always better to "have" a backup than to "need" a backup.

To backup photos or videos from iPhone iPad to Mac or vice versa, you can try on MacX MediaTrans, which offers you a two-way solution to sync photos and videos from iPhone iPad iPod to Mac or vice versa in batch. Built-in auto video conversion feature to easily tackle video incompatibility issue for Mac to iPhone video transfer.

Part 1 - Solutions to AirDrop Not Working on macOS High Sierra/Mojave

Solution 1 - Adjust Mac's Firewall

Attention to your Mac system settings. If you have turned on "Block all incoming communications" in Firewall on MacBook or iMac, you would encounter AirDrop not working troubles. Thus, you're supposed to turn it off.

Step 1. Click on Apple Manu on your Mac and then choose System Preferences.

Step 2. Followed by Security & Privacy selection, where click Firewall and Firewall options.

Step 3. Cancel the box next to the Block all incoming communications option.

adjust firewall

Solution 2 - Set up your Mac to be Discoverable

Adjust AirDrop visibility by clicking the link next to "Allow me to be discovered by" in the AirDrop window, and then choose between Off, Contacts Only and Everyone. You're suggested to choose Everyone and make sure the AirDrop devices are kept within 30 feets, cuz AirDrop process relies on Bluetooth not Wi-Fi, you know.

fix airdrop not working problem

Solution 3 - Make your Mac Awake

In terms of Mac, AirDrop will works fine even though the MacBook or iMac display sleeps as long as the computer itself has not entered sleep mode. Yet, for the sake of saving battery life, the built-in system setting allows Mac computer go to sleep mode shortly after the display shuts off after a predetermined period of time has passed.

To reverse this condition, you should go to System Preferences and then enter Energy Saver to activate "Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off". One thing to note, you conduct this action when your Mac is power on or using its inbuilt battery.

solve AirDrop not working on Mac problem

Solution 4 - Both Devices Sign in to iCloud

To AirDrop files only between Contacts Only, both devices are asked to sign in to iCloud and the email address or phone number associated with your Apple ID need to be saved in the Contacts app of the receiving device, or a Mac won't receive items.

If both your sending and receiving Mac computers are signed in to iCloud with the same account, actually you airdrop contents between your own devices. Hence, any received files will be automatically accepted and saved in the Mac's Downloads folder, no action required. Providing the two Macs are signed in to different iCloud accounts, say your soul mate transfers photos from iPhone to your MacBook Pro, then, as a precaution, your receiving Mac is asked to accept the item before it's saved.

sign in iCloud

Solution 5 - Solve Bluetooth Problem on Mac

Supposing you have already tried the aforementioned solutions, but AirDrop not working problem is still here. To a great degree, the Bluetooth on your Mac may be the culprit. You're advised to:

Step 1: Reset both PRAM and SMC.
Step 2: Turn off Bluetooth on your Mac computer. Afterwards, remove file: /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist.
Step 3: Turn the Bluetooth back on your Mac. And then your AirDrop will work on your Mac El Capitan or macOS Sierra.

fix Bluetooth problem

Solution 6 - Resort to AirDrop Alternative for File Transfer

For those who think the above solutions troublesome and not working, you can have a shot on the once-and-for-all solution - transfer files between iOS and Mac using AirDrop alternative - MacX MediaTrans.

This is a two-way file transfer software for iOS and Mac files sync and management. It can batch transfer videos, photos, music, ringtones, iBooks, iTunes U, podcasts, etc. between iPhone iPad iPod iOS 12/11/10 and Mac computer with fast speed. With support for multi-core processors and Intel QSV hardware accelerations, it's equipped to make the most of the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors you'll find in the iMacs and Macbooks and quicken file transfer speed. No Wi-Fi, Bluetooth needed; more convenient and stable.

Part 2 - Solutions to AirDrop Not Working on iOS 12/11/10 iPhone iPad

To AirDrop contents from iOS iPhone iPad iPod, you should finish the basic things: turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iOS device; enable AirDrop on the control conter and select one from three options – Contacts Only, Everyone and Off. After all of these, your AirDrop is still out of work. Then read on and try the below tips.

Solution 1 - Check if your App Supports AirDrop

Seriously, I bet there are tons of users lack of this awareness. They don't exactly know which app supports AirDrop and which not. Well, currently, apps that definitely support AirDrop are Safari, Photos and Contacts. So if you're using another app, please tap on Share in the app and see if there is an option for AirDrop. Straightforward.

Solution 2 - Make your iOS Device Screen On

You may wonder why some pictures can be AirDropped while later the file syncs fail when the iOS device screen is locked or black. That's because AirDrop only goes into action when the receiving iOS device's screen is on. So please keep your iOS iPhone iPad iPod screen on when using AirDrop feature.

Solution 3 - Disable Airplane Mode

As we have already mentioned before, AirDrop needs both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi be on, though the AirDrop process will not use the network connection. Yet, Airplane Mode shuts down all wireless radios in your iOS device. So you need to disable Airplane Mode in Control Center.

solve AirDrop not working on iPhone problem

Solution 4 - Turn Off Personal Hotspot

This is just a detail many a user might ignore. When you activate your Personal Hotspot on your iPhone iPad, your Wi-Fi network will serve it and this will lead to "AirDrop is not available when using Personal Hotspot" result. To disable Personal Hotspot, access to Settings and switch Personal Hotspot to the OFF position.

AirDrop not working on iOS

Solution 5 - Transfer Files One Time with One Type

Receive the message "Cannot receive all of these items at the same time" on your iPhone iPad or iPod? This means you transfer multiple files from Mac to iOS devices one time with different types like several pictures, a video, a PDF file, ePub file, etc. But your AirDrop for iOS device is designed to receive items in the appropriate app so it cannot simultaneously handle different file types. It's just a phone or tablet not your Mac computer. So you should sync files from Mac to iPhone iPad with the same type next time.

correctly use AirDrop

Solution 6 - Contact Apple Support

In case you are not the lucky dog and don't fix this problem yet, you can visit to Apple official support webpage for professional help. Or just go to your local Apple Store for assistance.

How to Transfer Contents Between iOS and Macs No Troubles

You're suggested to have a try on - MacX MediaTrans, which is constantly updated to work seamlessly with your latest iOS 10/9/8 and macOS Sierra/El Capitan operating systems so that you can transfer videos, music, photos, ebooks, ringtones and more data files between iOS iPhone iPad iPod and Mac without any trouble. No.1 fast for batch transfer!

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