I am trying different solutions to transfer some 1 GB size files between two Macs on my local wireless network (typically between me and a guest, both being physically in the living room). Here are the solutions I have come up with:

  1. Through SSH (scp command): I get a transfer speed between 3 and 4 MB/s.
  2. Through Skype, the rate fluctuates a lot, but can reach up to 2 MB/s.
  3. Through AirDrop, I only get about 150 kB/s!

Obviously, AirDrop on recent computers is easier: it doesn't require the other person to have an SSH port open, or to have a Skype account. But it's so very slow…

Why is AirDrop so slow? Is it a typical transfer rate? Is there something I can do to improve it?

  • wifi or BT connection ?
    – Ruskes
    Apr 7 '13 at 18:53
  • @Buscar웃 wifi...
    – F'x
    Apr 7 '13 at 19:43
  • Also note that there are other ways to accomplish this. iMessage comes to mind. I use DropBox LAN Sync, haven't test speed but oh so just works. And other third-party, DropCopy, more ...
    – Zo219
    Apr 8 '13 at 3:54

It could be interfering with existing wifi network, you can use the Airport command line tool to disconnect from other networks:

Begin by linking it to a another location:

ln -s \
  /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport \

Then, disconnect from the current network:

sudo airport -z

You should be running at about 10 Mbps !

  • 1
    does it mean that airport is designed to be used without existing wifi (thru access point or router) connectivity?
    – tuxSlayer
    Aug 18 '14 at 16:38
  • Yes. Airdrop will establish a direct wifi connection between two devices, regardless of which networks each happens to be on. Mar 23 '17 at 18:00
  • GUI instructions for this at apple.stackexchange.com/a/168712/25725: Option-click on the WiFi menu and select “Disconnect from <network>”
    – James
    May 5 '18 at 11:01

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