Cannot use AirDrop with iOS and OS X

Jesse Hollington
By Jesse Hollington  - Senior Editor

Q: I can’t seem to get AirDrop working between my iPhone and my Mac, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. AirDrop seems to be working on both sides, but the devices never “see” each other. I totally love the AirDrop feature on my Mac and use it at school all the time to share stuff with my classmates, so when I heard it was coming in iOS 7 that sounded really cool.

What do I need to do to get it working?

– Kathryn

A: You’re actually not doing anything wrong. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Apple chose to use the same “AirDrop” name for the feature on both iOS and OS X, it turns out that they’re not at all compatible with each other.

This is mentioned at the bottom of Apple’s support article on Using AirDrop: AirDrop for iOS supports only iOS 7 devices.

You cannot use AirDrop on iOS to share with OS X, and OS X users can’t use AirDrop to share with iOS devices.

Although the use of the name AirDrop on both platforms is confusing, we can only hope that it means that Apple will make the feature interoperate across the two platforms at some point in the future. However, as iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks have both just been released and still do not support this feature, it’s uncertain whether we’ll see this before the next major release cycle.

In the meantime, third-party apps like Bump can partly fill the gap, allowing you to send content from your iPhone to other devices, including not only Macs, but also Windows PCs and non-iOS mobile devices, although the target devices also have to be running the Bump app to support this.

By Jesse Hollington Senior Editor
Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.