When attempt to share something the iOS sharing feature, AirDrop disrupts the experience and in many cases makes it unusable. I never ever use AirDrop, and certainly don't want to be offered the opportunity to share with people I don't know who happen to be nearby.

How do I completely disable AirDrop in iOS?

  • Not sure what you mean by "AirDrop disrupts the experience and in many cases makes it unusable". AirDrop doesn't get activated until you tap on its icon in the share sheet. What kind of disruption do you observe? – nohillside Apr 29 '20 at 13:59
  • @nohillside: AirDrop is listed as an option to share in very limited screen real estate. I'm offered to share with people I'm not going to share with, in front of the people I do shred's with (via Messages and other apps). Worse, there's often s slight delay in the appearance of AirDrop entries so that I've got time to begin selection of someone I do want to share with and have an AirDrop entry replace it by the time I've pressed. – orome Apr 29 '20 at 14:06
  • Which version of iOS are you using? – nohillside Apr 29 '20 at 14:20
  • @nohillside 13.4.1, but iOS has behaved this way for a while. – orome Apr 29 '20 at 14:40
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    Ah I see that now. Sorry for not validating. – JBallin Apr 29 '20 at 16:53

While you can turn off incoming AirDrop, you can't disable sharing items over AirDrop to others on device. Most of the time, AirDrop recipients will be limited to the single AirDrop button (which can't be un-favourited from the ‘Apps’ share list), but if someone in your contacts is nearby with AirDrop turned on, they will likely show in the contacts section of the share sheet. This can't be configured on your device.

Configuration profiles can configure AirDrop access only on supervised devices.
If your device is supervised with Apple Configurator, you can install disable-airdrop.mobileconfig.

  • Is Configurator and end user app? If it's something that a reasonably experienced Apple user could use, without wreaking anything else (e.g. security, ability to backup and restore, etc.) this may be the answer. – orome Aug 31 '20 at 20:48
  • @orome Configurator is aimed at small businesses and the like for configuration of Apple devices, but nothing stopping someone from using it personally. It should be straightforward to use, but supervising an existing device will require backup → supervise (erasing device) → restore backup. You can read more about supervision on Apple's support site and in the supervised devices section of the Configurator user guide. Supervision allows for lots of configuration! – grg Aug 31 '20 at 20:53
  • Ugh. So: the usual backup → restore mess of losing all my 2FA. I guess the thing to do is to make this coincide with my device upgrades: supervise new device then restore backup? – orome Aug 31 '20 at 20:56
  • @orome Supervising on the next new device sounds like a good idea! – grg Aug 31 '20 at 21:03
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    @orome You can install the profile on any device supervised or not through Apple Configurator or on device (I regularly AirDrop profiles to my device and install them in the Settings app!), but the specific payload key allowAirDrop will only take effect on supervised devices. The device will happily install the profile since the configuration profile may contain other payloads that don't require supervision — unfortunately the one you want does :( – grg Aug 31 '20 at 21:07

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