Why doesn't Air Drop ever work?

Mildredop

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Original poster
Oct 14, 2013
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"Airdrop lets you share instantly with people nearby." Utter rubbish.

My Mac and my partner's Mac are both on the latest version of OS X. The Macs are on the same network and approximately 10" away from each other.

I want to get a 28MB file from my Mac to hers.

I open Air Drop and make myself available to everyone. She opens Air Drop and is available to everyone. But she's not there. I click on "Don't see who you're looking for" and it offers no advice other than to ask the person to go to Air Drop in the Finder.

I tried dropping the file I want to send into the Air Drop box, but it simply bounced back to my desktop.

So I must conclude it simply doesn't work. And, for me, has never, ever worked.

So what's the point of it?
 

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Mildredop

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Oct 14, 2013
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Luckily, you can use a flash drive or Dropbox and be done with it. Nobody actually uses Airdrop...
My girlfriend has the MacBook but decided she didn't need the adaptor. I have a MacBook Pro, so my flash drives won't fit in her Mac.

I'm currently uploading to We Transfer. We live in a very bad broadband area and it's currently saying 18minutes to upload. And then my gf will need to download.

So... what's the point of Air Drop? Why can't Apple make their own software work on their own computers?
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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Luckily, you can use a flash drive or Dropbox and be done with it. Nobody actually uses Airdrop...
I use Airdrop all the time, works well enough. @OP: make sure that Bluetooth is on on both computers and that you are in each others Contact lists (with the iCloud address)
 

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
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Airdrop is a complete nightmare/unreliable for me too. if I'm lucky 1 in 10 times will work.
You are by no means alone for sure.
More like 6 in 10, but when it doesn't work, it's a pain, since there's no rhyme or reason. And this business about checking settings is ridiculous -- most often it works just fine, then for no apparent reason stops working, and nothing short of restarting equipment will solve the problem. That's far less convenient than popping in a flash drive.

If Apple is serious about this one port nonsense, and incompatible ports between devices, then they truly need to make sure their wireless transfer software is bullet proof.
 
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windshear

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2010
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1
Airdrop is a complete nightmare/unreliable for me too. if I'm lucky 1 in 10 times will work.
You are by no means alone for sure.
Second that. Exactly the same experience. I don't understand why airplay works almost flawless and airdrop is so bad. For me, it's the worst feature implementation that Apple has.
 
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Mildredop

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Oct 14, 2013
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@Mildredop If either Mac has firewall enabled, ensure that sharing is allowed and Bluetooth is enabled.
I'm a very basic computer user. Why should I have to go trawling through settings with a suck-it-and-see approach when air drop is supposed to make it easy?

If I should be checking firewalls etc, why aren't these instructions explained within air drop?

I would kind of understand these niggles between different operating systems, but these are both Apple.
[doublepost=1464559821][/doublepost]
I use Airdrop all the time, works well enough. @OP: make sure that Bluetooth is on on both computers and that you are in each others Contact lists (with the iCloud address)
If it works well for you and not for us, what sort of awful OS X bug is that?

Bluetooth was on for both (as Air Drop reminded - not sure why it couldn't just switch on BT when I opened Air Drop rather than telling me to do it manually).

It said nothing about being in each other's contacts so I assume that's not necessary. I don't have an iCloud address anyway.
 
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ardchoille50

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Feb 6, 2014
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I'm a very basic computer user. Why should I have to go trawling through settings with a suck-it-and-see approach when air drop is supposed to make it easy?

If I should be checking firewalls etc, why aren't these instructions explained within air drop?

I would kind of understand these niggles between different operating systems, but these are both Apple.
The firewall is turned off my default on OS X, I was just mentioning something in case you enabled the firewall.

Please don't blame Apple for lack of information, you have the entire internet at your fingertips.
 
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Mildredop

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Oct 14, 2013
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Please don't blame Apple for lack of information, you have the entire internet at your fingertips.
Seriously? Don't blame Apple?? It's Apple's computer, Apple's OS and Apple's Air Drop.

Or are you suggesting no-one should ever complain about anything now because the answer should apparently be somewhere on the internet?
 
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ardchoille50

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Feb 6, 2014
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Seriously? Don't blame Apple?? It's Apple's computer, Apple's OS and Apple's Air Drop.

Or are you suggesting no-one should ever complain about anything now because the answer should apparently be somewhere on the internet?
Please calm down, the state you are currently in is not conducive to the acceptance of knowledge or advice. Perhaps it's time to take a break and have a meal or something. If one cannot devote the requisite resources to a task, then perhaps the task should be set aside for the moment.

I can only give advice, I have no control over how it is received.
 

AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
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England
It's certainly not just you, it's a feature and has been from the inception. It's just very poor in my experience.
I have 3 laptops in front of me NOW, 4 iPhones NOW and I've just tried to send a photo between them at random and it's not working.

Reboot, BT on and off, nothing, nothing is working... i simply mail myself the photos most of the time.
IF it's between macs i have a NAS device so thats easy.
 
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nightlong

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2012
825
149
Australia
I was using air drop between iPads and MBPr but it has stopped working on my MBPr, really annoying. Still works between my iPads. I haven't changed anything, it was after the update before current one, that it stopped, so it is definitely OSX. I was hoping the current update would fix it, but it hasn't.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
5,398
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California


Works quite well for me and my wife. I've had success using it many times... with my coworker's iPhone, my iPhone, etc...

Note that for devices to show up they must be active and in use. Meaning when my iPad's screen is off or my iPhone's screen is off, they do not appear on the AirDrop list of people to share with. For me to do this screenshot, I had to ask my wife (reading a book in the same office) to move the mouse on her Air, and turn on my iPad and iPhone's screens.

This screenshot was taken with my Mac Mini 2014.
 

Mildredop

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Oct 14, 2013
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Works quite well for me and my wife. I've had success using it many times... with my coworker's iPhone, my iPhone, etc...

Note that for devices to show up they must be active and in use. Meaning when my iPad's screen is off or my iPhone's screen is off, they do not appear on the AirDrop list of people to share with. For me to do this screenshot, I had to ask my wife (reading a book in the same office) to move the mouse on her Air, and turn on my iPad and iPhone's screens.

This screenshot was taken with my Mac Mini 2014.
This is frustrating. I wonder why it works for you and not me.

I have a 2015 MacBook Pro and she has a four-day-old MacBook.

My gf was on her Mac (we were sitting next to each other). We checked we were both fully up-to-date, we checked our Airport was fully up-to-date and we both rebooted. We looked through 'help', we looked on Apple's forums and we Googled.

But still nothing at all. My gf is already talking about returning the Macbook - and this is after 4 years of me trying to persuade her Macs are better than PCs. She wasn't convinced and I'm beginning to agree!
 

BigMcGuire

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Jan 10, 2012
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California
This is frustrating. I wonder why it works for you and not me.

My gf was on her Mac (we were sitting next to each other). We checked we were both fully up-to-date, we checked our Airport was fully up-to-date and we both rebooted. We looked through 'help', we looked on Apple's forums and we Googled.

But still nothing at all.
Hmm. That would be very frustrating. :( I'll post our situation in hopes that it helps: My wife and I both are on the same wifi network, we both have bluetooth on, we're both in each other's contacts (iCloud). We both have default settings on the same OS X 10.11.5. Neither of us have antivirus software on our Macs.

Do you have that dropdown on the bottom in Finder-->AirDrop: "Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone"? I'd probably change it to everyone if it isn't already - on both computers.

Edit: You and your girlfriend thinks Windows computers are better just because of this? Windows 7, 8, 10 had sharing problems and still does - can require IT level expertise to share files on a LAN. Windows 8 for the longest time had problems sharing to other Windows versions on LAN/WAN.

Maybe share a Google Drive folder? My wife and I do this and this is how we share most of our files - we rarely if ever use AirDrop. That said, I've been using AirDrop since 2011 without problems with handfuls of other people who have had no problem either. Hope you figure it out.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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For this users here that have issues with AirDrop, are you sure that you follow the Apple instructions exactly? I know my post is obvious, but I'm just leaving this here in case some of you have issues with configuration. Airport worked for me every time with the configuration BigMcGuire describes, with my own devices and also with devices of my friends and colleagues — even on different networks. Sometimes it can be a bit fiddly, sure, and turning the discoverable mode on seems to work every time.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203106
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204144
 
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Mildredop

macrumors 68020
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Oct 14, 2013
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Hmm. That would be very frustrating. :( I'll post our situation in hopes that it helps: My wife and I both are on the same wifi network, we both have bluetooth on, we're both in each other's contacts (iCloud). We both have default settings on the same OS X 10.11.5. Neither of us have antivirus software on our Macs.

Do you have that dropdown on the bottom in Finder-->AirDrop: "Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone"? I'd probably change it to everyone if it isn't already - on both computers.

Edit: You and your girlfriend thinks Windows computers are better just because of this? Windows 7, 8, 10 had sharing problems and still does - can require IT level expertise to share files on a LAN. Windows 8 for the longest time had problems sharing to other Windows versions on LAN/WAN.

Maybe share a Google Drive folder? My wife and I do this and this is how we share most of our files - we rarely if ever use AirDrop.
The file was eventually sent on We Transfer.

Yes, she loves PCs but has finally tried a Mac. I really think she'll be taking it back on Tuesday.

The only different between our two set-ups seems to be the iCloud thing. I'm not on iCloud and would rather not sign-up just to send a file.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
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California
The only different between our two set-ups seems to be the iCloud thing. I'm not on iCloud and would rather not sign-up just to send a file.
Interesting. I would think setting the: "discovered by everyone" would make it possible without an iCloud account.

Windows 10 is what did it for my wife - thing crashed so much that going to Mac was a life saver. The difference in hardware quality alone was huge (10 hours of battery life vs 3-4 hours, build quality, application quality, no need for antivirus, etc...). Don't get me started on Windows bootup times on a 7200rpm vs Mac SSD (instant on when opening lid). Weight reduction was very noticeable along with size. Being able to iMessage from her iPhone on her Air was huge too.

But hey, each to his/her own :).
 
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ardchoille50

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Feb 6, 2014
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I'm not on iCloud and would rather not sign-up just to send a file.
iCloud is tightly integrated into iOS and OS X, it's much more than simply sending a file, more information here. I have been using iOS products since 2012, OS X since 2014, and I never realized how enjoyable computers could be until I began using iCloud. I encourage you to look into iCloud when you have time.
 
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Mac 128

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Apr 16, 2015
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Sometimes it can be a bit fiddly, sure, and turning the discoverable mode on seems to work every time.
"A bit fiddly" is not an acceptable trait on a Mac or decice where ports have been eliminated making wireless the primary means for file transfer.

I have tried to troubleshoot "fiddly" connections with others who wanted to use AirDrop, and the frustration of doing all the things on your Apple support links and it still not working was enough to put them off trying again in the future. Between Macs, I have seen colleagues grab a thumb drive and transfer the files while others are still trying to figure out Airdrop, which worked just fine the day before.

AirDrop is a "fiddly" mess, and it sort of mirrors the state of Apple these days. The potential is promising, the reality is dissapointing.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
AirDrop mostly works for me BUT DeskConnect always does and doesn't care about device or version so no looking for older devices...works flawlessly for 4yrs between any combination of MBP, iMac, iPhone 4S/5S, iPad Mini 1/2...
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,873
AirDrop generally works just fine for me. I say generally because sometimes my Mac doesn't appear, opening airdrop under finder fixes that though.

I really like it, makes quick work of something that should be quick work to begin with...I can understand why someone would be so frustrated if it didn't work.
 
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