How to Use AirDrop in iOS 7

AirDrop is a new feature that Apple added to iOS 7 when it was released last month. AirDrop has been around for a while and was introduced with OS X Lion in 2011. This allowed Mac users to share files with each other without the need to connect to the internet or a local network. Instead, AirDrop simply creates a temporary WiFi network between two Mac computers, allowing you to wirelessly transfer a file from one computer to another without internet access.

The same feature has just arrived on the iPhone thanks to iOS 7. If you’ve updated to iOS 7 and you don’t see AirDrop in Control Center, you’re probably using an iOS device that doesn’t support AirDrop. Unfortunately AirDrop is only compatible with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini and 5th generation iPod Touch. If you have access to AirDrop, here’s how to use it.

Using AirDrop in iOS 7

To start using AirDrop, you’ll first want to make sure WiFi and Bluetooth are turned on. To do this, simply open the Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. At the top you will see toggles and symbols for WiFi and Bluetooth; make sure they are shimmering white; this means they are open and ready to use. Next, you’ll also find AirDrop in the Control Center. This is not where you actually use AirDrop, but where you only limit who can send you AirDrop files. These options or . This is where you can turn off AirDrop completely when you’re not using it. Alternatively, you can disable Bluetooth to automatically turn off AirDrop.

Once you have defined these sharing parameters, you are ready to start sharing using AirDrop. You can share all kinds of different things, including photos, videos, and even contacts. But for this demonstration, we’re going to show you how to share photos via AirDrop. Open the Photos app and tap a photo or video you want to share. Now tap on the Share button in the lower left corner; this will be an icon with an arrow pointing up through a square.

plane-1You will be given many different options, but AirDrop will appear at the top (but below the photo). When someone with AirDrop enabled is nearby, their name and avatar will appear in this small section. When you tap the person you want to share the photo with, they will receive a notification that you want to share a photo with them. They will get a preview of the photo and accept or decline the request to share. Likewise, you’ll get the same notification when someone shares a photo with you.

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Still, AirDrop has a few downsides. As mentioned earlier, it’s only compatible with a few iOS devices, so even though you’ve updated to iOS 7, you may not be able to use AirDrop depending on your device.

Also, while AirDrop used to be a Mac-only feature, iOS devices and Mac computers cannot share files with each other over AirDrop. When the new version of OS X Mavericks is released later this year, users will be able to share files across different Apple platforms, but we are not sure when or if Apple will add support to older versions of OS X.

Also, there are a very limited number of iOS apps that support AirDrop; it’s mostly Apple’s stock apps that support it, but sooner or later more and more apps have to be updated with this feature, AirDrop will be much more useful when that happens. It’s not yet clear what restrictions Apple will impose on app developers, but we’re still excited about the expansion.