Problems sending via AirDrop
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I can’t send stuff out using AirDrop to my girlfriend’s iPhone. It never seems to find her iPhone, even though we both have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirDrop on. We’re both in each other’s address book, but it can’t find her iPhone regardless of whether I set AirDrop on my iPhone to “Contacts Only” or “Everyone.” Any clue as to what’s wrong here?
A: The first thing to check is to set both your iPhone and your girlfriend’s iPhone to “Everyone” and see if AirDrop works in this mode; also be sure to give it a few seconds as other devices don’t always appear immediately.
The “Contacts Only” setting in AirDrop applies only on the receiving iPhone. In fact this is the case with the AirDrop setting in Control Center in general—you don’t need to have AirDrop enabled at all in order to send to another device; the setting is simply there to determine whether AirDrop is on for receiving from other devices.
For AirDrop to work properly with the “Contacts Only” setting, both devices must be signed into iCloud and the receiving device must have your iCloud email address listed somewhere in their Contacts. In your case, this means that at least one of the email addresses associated with your iCloud account must be somewhere in your girlfriend’s address book. Ideally, this should be the primary address—the one that you use for your Apple ID—although other addresses should work as long as they’ve been associated with your Apple ID.
You can see which addresses have been associated with your Apple ID by going to http://appleid.apple.com in a web browser from your computer and logging in with your Apple ID. Also make sure that any additional addresses are showing as verified.
Essentially, the way that AirDrop works is that your device (the sending device) broadcasts out an AirDrop request that contains all of the email addresses associated with the iCloud account you’re using. Receiving devices that are in “Contacts Only” mode will only respond to requests that match email addresses that are stored in that device’s contacts database. The receiving device doesn’t respond if nothing matches, in which case you’ll never see it in the list of available AirDrop destinations.
From an AirDrop connectivity point of view it doesn’t matter if the recipient’s address is in the sender’s contacts. The sender’s contacts database only determines what information shows up in the AirDrop devices listing; the recipient’s contact info will be shown if it’s available, if not the name of the remote device is shown.
Keep in mind also that AirDrop is only available when the receiving device’s screen is on, and will also be automatically disabled when a device is in “Do Not Disturb” mode; since the AirDrop alert will be suppressed in this mode, there’s little point in trying to send something to the other user.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Incipio to acquire Skullcandy
- Apple confirms iOS 10 kernel was left open to improve performance
- Apple leaves iOS 10 kernel open to scrutiny
- Judge throws out ‘Error 53’ lawsuit against Apple
- Chinese company in iPhone patent fight is all but defunct
- Apple adds nine more apps to universal search in Apple TV
- WSJ: iPhone to see modest changes this year, eliminate headphone jack
- China tightening restrictions on mobile games starting next month
- Supreme Court patent ruling bodes well for future Apple cases
- Apple to pay $400M to consumers over e-book price fixing case
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Flex Arc Wireless Earbuds + Speakers
- Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
- Twelve South BookBook for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app