iPhone 5 is running iOS7. Macbook Pro is the 15" MacBook Pro Retina on Mavericks.

I have AirDrop enabled on both but the phone and Macbook don't see each other. Both keep searching, searching, searching ...

FYI, I have enabled Bluetooth and WiFi on both devices are also on the same WiFi network. There is also no firewall between them and they are within 2 feet of each other.

Apple tech is supposed to "just work" and it almost always does so intuitively but this one has me scratching my head. What is going on here?


3 Answers 3


With iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you can share files over AirDrop between Mac and iOS.

With Mavericks and earlier, and iOS 7, this is not possible. AirDrop on iOS only works with "other nearby iOS 7 devices", and AirDrop on OS X only works "between supported Wi-Fi-enabled Macs" and they must "click the AirDrop icon on their computers".

iOS: Using AirDrop details the inability to share cross-platform:

AirDrop for iOS supports only iOS 7 devices. You cannot use AirDrop on iOS to share with OS X, and OS X users can't use AirDrop to share with iOS devices.

AirDrop on OS X is detailed in OS X: Can I use AirDrop with my computer? and OS X Mountain Lion: Share your files with others near you (emphasis mine):

AirDrop is one of the great new features of OS X Lion and later, which provides a really easy way to share files between supported Wi-Fi-enabled Macs without having to connect through the local Wi-Fi network.

To see other people nearby, click the AirDrop icon in the sidebar of a Finder window. The other people must also click the AirDrop icon on their computers.

AirDrop on iOS is detailed in iOS: Using AirDrop (emphasis mine):

AirDrop lets you share photos, videos, websites, locations, and more with other nearby iOS 7 devices.

  • 1
    So AirDrop, isn't AirDrop when it's called AirDrop. What fun! This is like Pizza being called a vegetable... Feb 6, 2014 at 19:33
  • Although it's not an airdrop solution, if your willing to include Dropbox as an extra step in your workflow you should be able to transfer videos and photos between ANY device that has the dropbox app AND any computer that has internet access. Read here for more info: dropbox.com/help/289/en Hopefully Apple will soon make all versions of AirDrop play nice with each other but in the mean time this solution has been working well for me. If you don't already have a dropbox account you can sign up for a free one w/ I think 2GB of storage. Good luck! Feb 6, 2014 at 20:21
  • "With iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you can share files over AirDrop between Mac and iOS." Finally. I'm so looking forward to this feature's implementation.
    – njboot
    Jun 3, 2014 at 17:54
  • 1
    @njboot Hint, it's great :)
    – grg
    Jun 3, 2014 at 17:54

With 10.9 and iOS 7 - each OS family can drop within similar OS, but not across the divide. Since this isn't possible with shipping OS, you have a few options that can work:

  • Photo Stream is an all Apple, no manual steps required solution with the data round tripping through the cloud (and not transferring videos at present). Sometimes it takes a bit to transfer the photos, so you might choose one of the other options below. This is hands off, though, if you are OK with the pace of the transfer and limitation to just sync photos.
  • Dropbox has WiFi sync that works from iOS to Mac so that the source sends the photos directly to the cloud but saves the computer from re-downloading the content from the cloud as the computer dropbox client can retrieve the images from the local source.
  • iTunes can WiFi sync (in addition to USB sync) so that would be my choice as you can initiate the sync from the iOS device or the computer to start the transfer of media.

Give DeskConnect a try :) Free apps for both iOS and Mac.

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    Feb 7, 2014 at 4:40

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