I was looking for an option to use Airdrop to sync a set of directories between two computers.

I want to achieve this wirelessly (hence chose Airdrop without having the computers connect on a network or with cross cable wires).

Is there a command to send files to another Mac? Also, is there a way to allow a Mac to automatically receive the requests?

  • Sounds like the wrong tool for the problem. Have you looked into rsync? – Gerry Sep 26 '11 at 9:47
  • yes, doesn't it require a network connection. I just want to use the power of AirDrop to perform the task of syncing some files/directories periodically – Sairam Sep 26 '11 at 10:10
  • And why don't you set up a network connection on both computers? – Gerry Sep 26 '11 at 10:41
  • I just wanted to know if I could do with Airdrop since Airdrop is a single tool created to transfer files over the air w/o a router. – Sairam Sep 26 '11 at 11:13
  • This is a great question but it seems it's probably not possible judging by the answers which are dodging the question. – gak Mar 19 '13 at 6:41

If both computers have Wi-Fi capability built-in (otherwise AirDrop won't work either), you can setup a WLAN between them directly (no additional hardware required). The procedure is extremely simple (more or less copied verbatim from Apple):

  1. Choose Create Network from the AirPort status icon in the menu bar.

    If the icon isn’t in the menu bar, choose Apple > System Preferences, and then click Network. Click AirPort and select the “Show AirPort status in menu bar” checkbox.

  2. Give the network a name and select a channel from the pop-up menu (or just use the default channel).

  3. Select the Require Password checkbox to protect your network with a password. Type the password users will need to enter in order to join your network. Unfortunately WPA/WPA2 is not supported so pick WEP128 and type a password of exactly 13 ASCII characters or 26 hex digits

From the other computer you now can access the network under the name assigned in step 2. To exchange files, either use the Public/Drop Box folders of the individual users or share a specific folder for everybody.


There is now an opensource implementation for AirDrop (with some limitations)

See https://github.com/seemoo-lab/opendrop


AirDrop is a single purpose function. It is for transfer of files. It is a pipeline only, open or not. I believe any manipulation of those files must be done at either the origin or the destination. I believe only an object can go through the pipeline, and not an action.

You seem to want a synching action

I think this is the concept of AirDrop.

  • 1
    Everything in computing is built on other things. Every syncing utility uses some sub-utility that just copies files (a "pipeline", as you called it). There is no reason to think that AirDrop is only for copying or that it could never be used for anything else. – Cajunluke Sep 26 '11 at 17:26
  • Why the downvote. AirDrop is not some low-level technology on which to build custom implementations. – Gerry Sep 26 '11 at 18:32
  • AirDrop in this case is just a pipeline between 2 Macs. It requires an action on each end to work (send-accept). It may eventually be used for something else as well. Presently, it cannot. It is just a pipeline. – modelamac Oct 6 '11 at 0:45

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