AirDrop – Apple’s Latest File Transfer Tool in iOS7

by Dr. Luanne Fose - The Tweed Geek on October 30, 2013


Ok, I have to admit that I wasn’t that thrilled initially with the iOS7 upgrade for Apple iOS devices. Like many other long-time Apple lovers, the flat icons and hints of Windows color hues left me feeling sick to my stomach every time I looked at my iPhone in the first few days of download (Jony Ive – Apple’s Vice President of Design – what were you thinking? I guess you wanted to “rock our world!”) However, the several additions to functionality and convenience of this iOS update have won me over and I can now actually look directly at the apps on my iPhone without making a retching noise in the back of my throat or picturing Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. 

One of the additions to iOS7, that I particularly like, is a new tool called AirDrop. AirDrop allows you to transfer photos, videos, contacts, web pages, links to apps in the App Store, Apple maps, and other supported file types without the need for a Wi-Fi network. AirDrop creates an adhoc Wi-Fi network between iOS devices that are close in proximity without the need for any complicated configurations on your part. Basically, with AirDrop enabled on your device, you will be able to share anything via AirDrop from any app that has Share panel capability. You won’t be able to transfer files between your iOS device and your Macintosh computer with this tool but hopefully, that will be in the works from Apple later on down the road. (For those of you who didn’t notice, in OS 10.7 – Lion and above, Apple introduced AirDrop to allow Macintosh computer users to share files with nearby friends. If you’re interested on how to do that, check out this nifty tutorial.)If you’re looking for the AirDrop tool in the Settings area of your iOS device, you won’t find it there. AirDrop is located in the new handy-dandy Control Center of iOS7.

1. To open the Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of your device’s screen. (I find it works best to actually swipe from the bottom edge of your device along the black or white edge instead of from the main part of your screen).

2. Tap on the AirDrop area of the Control Center. 





airdrop_in_control_center3. Select who will have access to send you files. You can select “Everyone” or “Contacts Only” (which is the default setting). You can also return later and turn AirDrop off here if you don’t want anyone to be able to send you files.

4. The recipient of the files will also need to execute Steps 1-3 as explained here and have their device turned on and active (not in sleep mode). Note: The file should be able to be sent in this manner, but if you have problems sending it , ask the intended recipient to open their Control Center as well during the sending process. You will need to be near the person you wish to share the file with, but not necessarily right next to them. In my testing, I found that AirDrop could send a file to a recipient in the next room. Believe it or not, this is one of the most secure methods of exchanging files between two people because with AirDrop each device creates a firewall around the connection and the files are encrypted when they’re sent – this actually makes AirDrop much safer than transferring a file via email.

5. The sender will need to navigate to the item they wish to share. For example, to share a photo, you must have the photo open and selected in the Photos app on your device. Unlike a file manager like you might encounter on a Windows machine; AirDrop is designed to actively share what you’re doing at the moment.


6. Next, tap on the Share button.




7. The Share menu will appear and show you the different methods you can use to share the file. This Share menu is context-sensitive – meaning the features available to you will depend on what you are doing when you access the Share menu. In the screenshot below, you can see the initials of the friend I wish to send the file to (DM). If you have a contact picture in your Contacts for the recipient, their picture and first name will appear instead of their initials.

8. The recipient of the AirDrop will get an alert with a preview of the photo and the options to Accept or Decline. If the recipient accepts the photo, their device will automatically open the Photos app for them to view it.

Right now, AirDrop lacks cross-platform support so you will have to still use conventional methods, such as email, to share files with non-iOS devices. 

Below I’ve included a brief YouTube video demo from iPhone Hacks of how to implement AirDrop. Enjoy!


~ Dr. Luanne Fose,  The Tweed Geek

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