How to Share Files Using AirDrop Between Two Macs

AirDrop lets users share files between two Macs running OS X 10.9 Mavericks. For some inexplicable reason this doesn’t work between a Mac and an iOS device like the iPad Air or iPhone 5s even if the iOS device runs iOS 7. So here’s how to make it work between two Macs.

Requirements to Make AirDrop Work

Before running off to share files using AirDrop, understand a few things. Both users must connect their computer to the same Wi-Fi network. We tried it with Wi-Fi turned off using only Ethernet on a desktop system and it failed. OS X asked for the user to turn on Wi-Fi before it would even try.airdrop_icon

Not only do both computers need to connect to the same Wi-Fi network, but the users must also open Finder and click on AirDrop before this works. So contact the recipient and ask them to fire up Finder and click on AirDrop on the left hand side.

If two users don’t have each other in their contacts, then the machines show up as the name of the machine.

Transferring a File Via AirDrop

The process begins with finding a file to share. This works with almost anything. Open Finder and find the file to share with the other person. Drag it over to the AirDrop item listed in the Favorites of the Finder window along the left hand column. Hold the file over the AirDrop item in the list until the AirDrop folder opens in the right hand side. Keep holding down the mouse button to keep dragging the file. Move the mouse cursor over the profile icon designated by a circular picture, as seen below. The dialog box seen below will pop up when the mouse cursor releases. Click on Send to send it over to the other person’s computer.


In a few seconds the other user’s AirDrop folder will show a pop-up dialog box like the one seen in the image below.

airdrop2The box offers three options:

  • Save and Open – This saves the file to the Downloads folder on the recipient’s machine and then opens the file using the default application for that file type.
  • Decline – Refuses the file and it won’t transfer it or save on the recipient’s machine.
  • Save – Saves the file to the recipient’s Downloads folder without opening it.

How Apple Can Make AirDrop Better

We’d like to see Apple beef up AirDrop in the following ways:

  • Make it work between iOS and OS X so we can quickly send files to an iPad or iPhone or send them from the iOS device to the Mac.
  • Give users an option to turn on AirDrop as the computer starts and keep it running all the time, ready to accept or send files on the same network without even opening Finder.
  • Make it work over Ethernet so a computer hooked up to a wired network can use AirDrop without turning on Wi-Fi.
  • Make it work over the Internet so a person can send files to their computer.
  • If they do the above, secure it with a user’s Apple ID.
  • Put an icon on the Dock or in the Menu Bar to let us drag files to AirDrop without opening Finder.

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