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I recently used AirDrop for the first time to send about 30GB of videos to a friend while we were both connected to my internet. Two days later I got an e-mail from my internet provider saying I was over 50% of my monthly bandwidth at 50.31GB, and this was only a couple days into the "new month". I haven't downloaded anything these first few days of the month, nor have I been browsing/streaming much over my network.

I'm wondering if AirDrop is the reason why I've burned through a bunch of data.

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

AirDrop creates a direct connection to another Mac through it's wireless card and therefor does not transfer across your LANs wired network or wireless network and most certainly does not effect your internet bandwidth.

Here are 4 possible reasons for the high bandwidth.

  1. You are unaware of software on your Mac because someone else has installed it on your behalf. Perhaps Online Backup Software or you may have installed it yourself and not been aware of the repercussions. i.e. Crashplan/Dropbox etc.

  2. Your network has been compromised by a Neighbour via wireless. Reset your wireless routers password and make sure it is set to use a secure protocol i.e. WPA2

  3. You have another device on your network to do with streaming Movies to your TV like Netflix.

  4. You have signed up for iTunes Match and have synced Music and Movies to all your Mac devices.

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AirDrop sets up a direct connection between two computers on the local network, so it won't send anything over the internet. You might need to look elsewhere for the usage.

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This is correct - even in the case where you used traditional file sharing, it would be almost impossible to have a routing table where the traffic left the local network, went up to the ISP and then back down. AirDrop makes a point to point network and is local only, so that can clearly be ruled out. –  bmike Feb 15 '13 at 17:40
    
Which is exactly what DropBox LAN Sync does do. Very handy, though. Just prudent about what I "drop" to my other Mac. –  Zo219 Feb 19 '13 at 22:36
    
@Zo219 is not correct that it is "exactly what Dropbox LAN Sync does" Dropbox LAN sync just speeds up the local syncing. If both logged in devices are on the same local network the files are synced between them locally. The Important difference specifically with reference to the question, is that the file is still uploaded to dropbox. So if you are sharing a huge file like this it will definitely use up your bandwidth (if you keep it there until synced at least) –  Joop Sep 25 '13 at 11:02
    
Sorry, I meant prudent in that said files are uploaded and downloaded, so file size and bandwidth are certainly a factor. –  Zo219 Sep 25 '13 at 23:25
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