I'm trying to set up AirDrop to send files between my macbook and my iPhone.

For some reason it doesn't work at all. I turned it on both on the macbook and my iPhone SE and my iPhone is not shown in the Finder nor my macbook on iPhone's screen.

How to set this up?

  • Can you let us know which Macbook Air you have (what year or model revision)? Also: are wi-fi and bluetooth functioning normally on both devices?
    – samh
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 16:12
  • @samh I have a 13" Macbook Air, 8GB RAM (I guess it's the latest model). Wifi is working fine on both devices. Also, using bluetooth I can see the devices, but for some reason, when I try to pair with the iPhone, it just fails. I'm not sure. Maybe that's the issue. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 17:21
  • Do you have any firewalls running? Either OS X's built-in firewall or a 3rd party one?
    – samh
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 14:18
  • @samh How can I check that? Is that related to the software I run or to the router settings? Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 15:51
  • If you haven't knowingly added a firewall, that pretty much answers my question.
    – samh
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


Make sure your iPhone and Mac are connected not only to the same SSID but also the same band (2.4 vs. 5 GHz). Some routers will not bridge the necessary multicast traffic between the different bands.

Additional troubleshooting steps (this assumes your Wi-Fi network is being provided by your router, which is true for most people)

  1. Disable either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz network in your Wi-fi base station (router) so that we can force the Macbook and iPhone to be on the same Wi-Fi band.
  2. Verify your router's firmware is up to date, and apply the update if one is available.
  3. Look in advanced settings in router and look for settings like multicast filtering and make sure they are disabled—Bonjour requires multicast traffic to work properly
  • How can I check that and change the setting if it is the case? Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 11:31
  • If you know somebody else for whom Air Drop is working, see if your equipment works on their network or theirs works on yours. If their stuff works on your network, that's not the problem. But if it doesn't, you'll need to supply the make and model of your router for starters.
    – samh
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 11:40
  • I remember I did see some Air Drop devices listed in Finder when I was traveling. At that time I didn't have an iPhone. I think the problem is related to the bluetooth connection—I feel like that's broken. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 15:35
  • Or could it be this one? Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 13:15
  • I added three things for you to try, which will depend on your specific router.
    – samh
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 14:00

First, make sure your Mac is able to use AirDrop. The following Macs are able to use AirDrop:

MacBook Pro (Late 2008) or later, excluding the MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008) MacBook Air (Late 2010) or later MacBook (Late 2008) or later, excluding the white MacBook (Late 2008) iMac (Early 2009) or later Mac Mini (Mid 2010) or later Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010)

However, AirDropping files between iOS devices and Macs requires a 2012 model Mac or later.

If your Mac does work with AirDrop and AirDrop still doesn't work, here are several fixes:

  1. Reactivate Airdrop (on iPhone)

Go to Control Center on your iPhone (accomplished by swiping up from the bottom of your screen). Disable Airdrop and then enable it again. Make sure your phone is discoverable to all devices. Make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled. If it still doesn't work, try toggling the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi button.

  1. Restart your iPhone and Mac

Restart your iPhone by pressing and holding the power button and home button at the same time. And you probably know how to restart your Mac.

  1. Reset Wi-Fi Let both your Mac and iPhone forget your Wi-Fi network and/or password and reconnect to your Wi-Fi

  2. Confirm AirDrop is enabled

Go to Finder and click on AirDrop in the sidebar.

  1. Update

Update both your Mac and iPhone to the newest version of OS X and iOS, respectively.

  1. Searching for older Macs?

Make sure your Mac isn't searching for older Macs. Go to the AirDrop page in Finder and make sure it's searching for newer devices (including the iPhone).

  1. Confirm Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on the Mac

Turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the Mac. People often forget to turn on Bluetooth on their Mac in addition to their iPhone.

Hopefully, these tips will help you!

  • 1
    Tried all these––still not working... Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 5:00
  • Connecting to Personal Hotspot via Bluetooth works fine. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 5:14
  • I can connect from Macbook to my old phone (not a smartphone) and browse the files there. So, Bluetooth on my mac works fine. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 5:23
  • In case you have any ideas, I feel this is related: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/243648/… Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 13:31
  • Updated both iOS and macOS and now AirDrop is working on my devices. Huh. :) Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 4:19

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