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  • Buffy Aakaash

Do Amazing Things with AirDrop

AirDrop gives you amazing file transfer capability.

Okay… I don’t work for Apple, but I’ll admit I’m an Apple product junkie, preferring their ease of use, the way all my devices integrate with my Mac desktop, and the good experiences I’ve had with their customer service. That said…

I’m kind of shocked at how many iPhone users know so little about AirDrop, and therefore don’t make use of this great tool when it could save them time and hassle. AirDrop allows the transferring of photos or files from one Apple device to another through a Bluetooth connection. This means you do not have to use cellular data, or have a WiFi connection. However, keep in mind that both devices need to have WiFi turned on, as that allows a secure peer-to-peer connection.

The first step will be to turn on AirDrop on your device. You do this on your iPhone by going to Settings—>General—>AirDrop. Or by sweeping up from the bottom into Control Center and holding on the WiFi square to open the AirDrop option. Of course, AirDrop brings up privacy concerns for many people. I have my iPhone set for “Contacts Only,” as a safe setting for a portable device. My Mac I have set for “Everyone,” as it’s in a secure location. But you can also set it to “Receiving Off” (which would prevent any “cyber-flashing”), or “Everyone for 10 Minutes,” which would allow someone who is not a contact to instantly send you a photo or file.

Many people use AirDrop to send photos, but I found of particular interest the capability to also send documents; this would include not only those in Pages, but also Word; not only Numbers spreadsheets, but also Excel. As a website and newsletter designer who occasionally meets with clients in person, this means that during our meeting I can transfer photos, documents, and spreadsheets quickly and easily right from my phone to theirs (or to their Mac), or vice versa. Say my client has a particular document with copy she wants used, or a photo, or an illustration: we both just turn on your phones, and as long as Bluetooth is on, and AirDrop is not set to “Receiving Off,” she can send it to me, from her iPhone, or her Mac. Or I might even have a completed draft of a newsletter I’m ready for her to look at… Which brings me to another cool thing…

“AirDropped items are simply placed in your Downloads folder, Photos App, or in the case of docs to the Files app on your iPhone or iPad.”

I create most of my work on a Mac desktop using Pages or other Mac-compatible software. You can make all of your files accessible to you remotely by saving them to iCloud. But if your storage on iCloud is limited, or if you’re not planning to be in a place with a WiFi connection, you will run into a wall. With Airdrop, you can move files from your Mac to your local devices. With iOS11 and later, devices include a Files app, that allows you to store files on your devices from your Mac and this can be done without connecting your device to your Mac, but simply by AirDropping them. When I get home, I simply Airdrop them to my Mac desktop and voilá!

To access AirDrop from within a photo or a document, tap the Share button, as you would to email or text something, and then click on AirDrop. It will find any contact with an Apple device within Bluetooth range, and will identify what type of device it is — iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Or if you have a number of files on your desktop you want to send to your iPhone or iPad, you can open Finder—>Go—>AirDrop. Nearby devices will pop up. Then you can drag and drop the files onto the device.

You might ask why not just email or text the asset? But emails and texts require further steps for opening and processing, and also require a WiFi connection, as well as the sharing of information like email addresses or phone numbers. AirDropped items are simply placed in your Downloads folder, Photos App, or in the case of docs to the Files app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also AirDrop videos, which might take up too much space in an email attachment.

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