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    How to fix AirDrop not working from iPhone to Mac

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    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort

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    Is your Mac having trouble receiving images or documents sent via AirDrop from an iPhone? Several reasons, such as connectivity issues associated with Bluetooth and WiFi, can prevent AirDrop from working properly. Start reading the following list of troubleshooting methods and you should be able to fix the issues with AirDrop not working from iPhone to Mac.


    Check compatibility with Mac

    An iPhone can only use AirDrop on a Mac released in 2012 or later (the 2012 Mac Pro is an exception). Also, your Mac should be running at least OS X 10.10 Yosemite. 



    Open the menu Apple and select About this Mac to check your Mac model and OS version.

    Enable Bluetooth and WiFi (Mac and iPhone)

    You need to enable Bluetooth and WiFi on both the Mac and iPhone for AirDrop to work smoothly. However, it is not necessary to connect the devices to a WiFi network.


    Enable Bluetooth and WiFi on Mac

    Open the Bluetooth and WiFi status menus via the Mac menu bar or Control Center. Then, turn on both the Bluetooth and the WiFi.

    Enable Bluetooth and WiFi on iPhone

    Open the iPhone Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner of the screen. If you're using an iPhone with Touch ID, swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead. Then, turn on both the Bluetooth and the WiFi.

    Bring your Mac and iPhone closer together

    Both the Mac and the iPhone should be close to each other by at least 10 meters. Otherwise, the files may fail during the transfer, even if the iPhone detects your Mac.




    Turn off Personal Hotspot on iPhone

    If the iPhone has an active Personal Hotspot, try disabling it. Open Control Center on your iPhone, long press the icon Mobile phone and sets Personal hotspot su Not detectable.

    Open the Finder window on Mac

    Sometimes, AirDrop won't launch on your Mac unless you open an AirDrop window. To do it, open simply Finder and select AirDrop in the sidebar. Then, resend the files from the iPhone.

    Disable Do Not Disturb on Mac

    Have you turned on Do Not Disturb on your Mac? This not only stops AirDrop notifications from working, but can also cause discoverability issues.


    Open Mac Control Center and disable Do not disturb. If you're using macOS Catalina or earlier, you'll need to open the Notification Center instead to turn it off.

    Set AirDrop to All on Mac

    By default, the permission for receiving AirDrop files is set to Contacts only. If you're looking to send a file to your Mac from an iPhone you own, this shouldn't cause any problems. 

    However, if you want to get a file from someone else's iPhone, it's best to change it to Everyone even if the person is listed in the Contacts app. To do this, open an AirDrop window. So, set it up Allow to be discovered by: a All.

    If it worked, remember to set it back to Contacts Only to avoid being bombarded with AirDrop requests later on.


    Turn WiFi and Bluetooth on / off (Mac and iPhone)

    Try disabling and re-enabling Bluetooth on both the Mac and iPhone. This often takes care of minor glitches that prevent AirDrop from sending or receiving files.


    Disable and enable WiFi / Bluetooth on Mac

    Open the status menus Bluetooth e WiFi on the Mac menu bar or Control Center. So, disable both the Bluetooth and the WiFi. Wait a few seconds and turn both options back on.

    Disable and enable WiFi / Bluetooth on iPhone

    Open the Settings app on the iPhone. Then, select WiFi and turn off the switch next to WiFi. Return to the previous screen, select Bluetooth, and turn off the switch next to Bluetooth. Wait a few seconds and turn WiFi and Bluetooth back on.

    Restart your Mac and iPhone

    If you're still having trouble with AirDrop not working from iPhone to Mac, try restarting both devices. This is another way to get rid of any software-related hitches causing AirDrop issues.

    Reset network settings on iPhone

    If possible, perform a network reset on the iPhone. This should fix any issues caused by incorrect Bluetooth or WiFi settings preventing the device from sending files to your Mac.

    1. Open the app Settings.
    2. Select General.
    3. Select Reset.
    4. Select Reset Network Settings.
    5. Select again Reset Network Settings to confirm.

    Elimina file PLIST Bluetooth / WiFi e Mac

    You can also attempt the equivalent of a network settings reset on the Mac by deleting the properties list (PLIST) files related to Bluetooth and WiFi. Your Mac should automatically recreate the files after restarting it.


    Delete PLIST Bluetooth files

    1. Open Finder. Then, select vai > Go to the folder.

    2. Type the following path and select vai:


    / Library / Preferences /

    3. Ctrl-click the following file and select Move to the trash.

    • com.apple.Bluetooth.plist

    Delete PLIST WiFi files

    1. Open Finder. Then, select vai > Go to the folder.

    2. Type the following path and select vai:

    /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

    3. Ctrl-click the following files and select Move to the trash.

    • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
    • com.apple.network.identification.plist
    • com.apple.network.eapolclient.configuration.plist
    • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
    • NetworkInterfaces.plist
    • preferences.plist

    Allow all incoming connections (Mac)

    If you've turned on your Mac's firewall, it may end up blocking all incoming connections. Make sure that's not the case.

    1. Open the menu Apple and select System Preference.
    2. Select Security and privacy.
    3. Select the tab Firewall.
    4. Select Click on the lock to make changes and enter the administrator password.
    5. Select Firewall options.
    6. Uncheck the box next to Block all incoming connections and select OK.

    Update Mac / iPhone

    You may also want to update your Mac and iPhone. The latest updates typically come with fixes for known bugs and issues, so install them if you haven't done so in a while.

    Update your Mac

    Open the menu Apple and select System Preference. So, choose Software update. If you see pending updates, select Update now.

    Update iPhone

    Open the app Settings, then go on Generali > Software update. If you see pending updates, tap Download and install to apply them.

    Reset NVRAM (Mac)

    Resetting NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) on your Mac is another way to fix persistent connectivity issues. 

    Start by shutting down your Mac. Then, turn it back on and press immediately Option + Command + P + R until you hear the startup sound for the second time. If you're using a Mac with a T2 security chip, you need to hold them down until the Apple logo appears and disappears twice.

    After booting into your Mac, you need to reconfigure settings such as time zone, volume sound, and keyboard preferences. For a complete overview, here's how to reset NVRAM on a Mac.

    Success: File sent and received from iPhone to Mac

    Troubleshooting problems with AirDrop not working on Mac and iPhone can be quite tricky as it is usually not possible to isolate the problem to a single device. Despite that, something as simple as opening an AirDrop window, turning off / on Bluetooth and WiFi, or changing AirDrop permissions on Everyone should almost always get things working again.

    Further Reading:

    • AirDrop not working? Here is the solution!
    • How to use AirDrop on your iPhone
    • 7 solutions for when AirDrop is not working on Mac
    • What is AirDrop? How does it work?
    • IPhone hotspot not working, 7 solutions
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