The Apple Ecosystem over the years has evolved to become one of the best tech ecosystems alongside Samsung. The Apple Ecosystem is considered to be reliable and stable. It’s a well-connected portfolio of devices that work well with each other.
A crucial feature that many people use multiple times daily is AirDrop. It lets you effortlessly transfer files between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac at blazing-fast transfer speeds. A hurdle in the seamlessness aspect of the Apple Ecosystem is the recent unreliability of AirDrop, especially between an iPhone and a Mac.
AirDrop between an iPhone and another, or between an iPhone and an iPad, has always been more or less reliable, but it’s not as good when you attempt to transfer to a Mac. It’s finicky sometimes for no particular reason, most probably a technical glitch.
Since the iOS 16.2 update, AirDrop hasn’t been performing very well, and people have been complaining across Twitter. It reportedly gets stuck on waiting continuously. iOS 16 has seen countless serious bugs, like updates causing display damage and worse battery drain.
Even on our iPhone 13 unit, the phone recognises the MacBook but refuses to send the file. Either that, or it gets stuck in a loading loop. This bug is very annoying and impacts the daily productivity of many people across the world. Devices sometimes refuse to show up, and an error message that says “AirDrop Failed” might come up.
Many rely on AirDrop to transfer critical documents and important notes, and it’s understandably quite frustrating. This article lists ten methods to attempt to get AirDrop up and running on your iPhone again.
10 Ways to Fix AirDrop Not Working on iPhone
1: Check your AirDrop Settings
You can find AirDrop settings in the General menu of your Settings menu. If it has been set to Receiving off, you will not get any files from your other devices. Similarly, other devices won’t get the files you send if you’re not in their contacts.
If the device you’re planning to receive the file from is not connected to your iCloud, you have to turn receiving on for everyone for ten minutes. After ten minutes, it will go back to contacts only.
On a Mac, you can access AirDrop settings in the top right control centre, or you can find it in the sidebar of your Finder app. If the device you’re planning to send or receive from isn’t connected to your iCloud or isn’t in your contacts, you must manually choose to receive files from everyone. Make sure you do the same on the receiving end too.
2: Play with the Toggles
This is a classic move. Simply turn AirDrop off by choosing the Receiving off option on both of your devices. This will effectively turn AirDrop functionality off. Wait a few seconds, and then turn it back on.
Alternatively, you can toggle the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth switches in the Settings app. Do not turn them off from the control centre, since this will only temporarily disconnect your devices but won’t turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. You have to go to their respective menus in the Settings app and manually toggle them off.
You can also toggle the AirPlane Mode switch, which turns off AirDrop by turning off both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Tapping on the AirPlane Mode toggle again will turn it off, and AirDrop should now be back on, along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
3: Disable personal Hotspot
If any device shares your internet connection via the personal hotspot feature, you cannot use AirDrop. You have no choice but to turn off the hotspot and then use AirDrop. You’ll have to toggle the personal hotspot off from the control centre menu, or you can switch it off in the dedicated menu that’s in the Settings app.
4: Check the device range
AirDrop uses Apple’s software magic and great hardware and software integration for AirDrop to work. However, Bluetooth is key and is a necessary component of AirDrop. If your device is way too far away, it might not recognise it. Even if it does, transfer speeds will be quite slow.
Provided your devices don’t have a shared Wi-Fi network, then AirDrop solely relies on Bluetooth for transferring files, so make sure that your devices are closer together and not in two different rooms or opposite corners of a room.
5: Limit Firewall on Mac
If the device you’re trying to send files to is a MacBook and it does now show up, a security restriction is probably holding it back. Try to limit macOS firewall restrictions.
- To do this, go to System Settings.
- Go to the Network option in the first submenu, and click Firewall.
- Alternatively, you can search for Firewall in the system settings.
- Here, you’ll see firewall filters. You can choose to block incoming connections to your computer.
- Turning the firewall off completely isn’t recommended since it might pose security threats, but don’t block all the incoming connections. This might be affecting AirDrop.
6: Restart your devices
The good old restart method. Long press the power and volume up buttons on your iPhone and slide to power off or shut it down from the General menu in the Settings app. You may restart the phone with assistive touch as well.
On a Mac, you can long-press the TouchID Button or shut down/ restart by clicking on the Apple Logo at the top left. Restarting is a great solution to minor software glitches and bugs.
7: Make sure you’re on the latest software version
- Go to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on General.
- There, you’ll see a section called software updates.
- Make sure you have updated to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS since bugs are regularly patched.
If you’re on Beta software, then chances are, it’s buggy. Bugs, glitches, etc., are obvious when you use Betas, and Apple wants developers to report bugs so that they can improve the user experience when it’s time for a public launch. If you have too many AirDrop issues on Beta, it’s recommended to back up your data and downgrade to a stable version.
8: Take your devices to an Apple Service Centre
If you live in a place where there’s an Apple Service Centre or an Apple-authorised one, you can get your devices checked by technicians there. It’ll be analyzed there for any sort of hardware damage with the Wi-Fi chip or Bluetooth receiver and transmitter.
Provided it’s in warranty, you might get free replacements as well. If there’s a bad copy of the software installed, the technicians at the Apple Store will format your device and reinstall a fresh version of the software. You’ll have to keep a backup ready, though.
9: Contact Apple Support, and give Product Feedback
Apple has a dedicated Support page. Here, you can select which device the bug is happening with and have an agent call you back.
Apple also has a dedicated Product Feedback page, where the issue must be reported. Since people read those reports, they might work on a fix if enough people report the same problem with AirDrop.
If everything in this list has failed, you’ll have to resort to the worst possible option; resetting your device to factory settings. The process becomes even more cumbersome and complicated if you have two devices. It’s also time-consuming, and you’ll have a lot of data trouble. This is why it isn’t recommended unless as a last resort.
Also, make sure you’re on a compatible Mac device. While no one is using an iPhone from 2012, many people use old MacBooks, and if yours is older than the 2012 Mac lineup, then AirDrop will not work.
There’s a chance that due to a technical glitch, it’s taking longer than expected. It’s recommended to wait at least 30 seconds before suspending AirDrop transfer since sometimes it takes longer to identify and connect to a device.
Also, ensure your iPhone or iPad is unlocked when receiving files from someone else. If your device is locked, it won’t appear on someone else’s list.
Apple isn’t known to acknowledge software bugs in public properly, so we mostly won’t see anything of the sort for this bug. We don’t know if and when a fix will be rolled out. The bug might silently be patched in the next security update if Apple is aware of it.
We don’t know the scale of people this is happening to, so we can’t tell if only a limited number of unlucky devices are facing this problem. If that’s the case, it will probably never be looked into. Your last resort will be a factory reset or taking your device to an Apple Store.