I have a new MacBook Pro running Yosemite 10.10.3 and an older Mac Mini running Lion 10.7.5.

Airdrop works in both directions, provided that if I am transferring from my MBP to my Mini, I click the "Search for an older Mac" button so that the MBP can see/find the Mini. After a few seconds of waiting, the older Mac Mini appears.

I am wondering: any way to make it (via the Terminal most likely) such that my MacBook Pro is always searching for an older Mac? Why do we have to click a button to find older Macs? This seems like something that should just work.

1 Answer 1


AirDrop was originally implemented using Bonjour/Bluetooth PAN (personal area network). Newer versions (starting with OS X Yosemite and iOS 7) support an improved version that's built on Bluetooth LE (iOS) and Wi-Fi (iOS, OS X), but also support the older implementation – you just have to tell it to look for those.

So, when you click "Search for an Older Mac", AirDrop actually switches from the newer Bluetooth LE/Wi-Fi implementation to the older Bonjour/Bluetooth PAN combo. Since they are two different protocols, they don't (can't?) show at the same time.

This iMore article, as well as WikiPedia, have additional info.

Edit: It may be possible to show old Macs alongside newer ones if you set the BrowseAllInterfaces system default to true. I haven't done this yet to confirm, but it may be the ticket.

Run this in Terminal:

# Enable AirDrop over Ethernet and on unsupported Macs running Lion
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces -bool true

From mathiasbynens/dotfiles.

My understanding is that this will allow AirDrop to run over Ethernet, but, more importantly, over Wi-Fi on technically unsupported (i.e. older) devices.

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