10 Ways to Fix Airdrop Not Working on iPhone or iPad

AirDrop allows you to transfer data that includes almost anything like photos, documents, songs, websites, etc. to/from any iOS or Mac device. You might be wondering if these things can also be emailed to someone. However, AirDrop is a much faster alternative especially for sharing large files. 

Keep in mind that both the recipient and sender devices should be compatible with AirDrop to use this feature. Now, if you have been dealing with the “AirDrop not working” or “AirDrop failed” problem and don’t know how to fix it, we are here to help.

Fortunately, getting your AirDrop up and running isn’t a mammoth task. In this article, we discuss 10 ways to fix the AirDrop not working problem so that you can get back to sharing files between iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Working Procedure of AirDrop

AirDrop takes the help of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to create a peer-to-peer network with the devices connected. For this, you don’t necessarily need to be connected to the internet. All you need is to be close enough to the other device (within a range of 30 feet). 

This will establish a connection and will allow you to share a file over AirDrop to the other device. AirDrop is much more secure than email service as it employs a protective Firewall. Also, the files you send and data transfer are encrypted.

10 Ways to Fix “Airdrop Not Working” Problem on Apple Devices (iPhone or iPad)

Not being able to share your files via AirDrop can get you pulling your hair and asking why is your AirDrop not working! Don’t worry, we got you covered. Given below are the 10 most used easy troubleshooting steps to help your AirDrop work again:

1. Check If The iOS Devices To Be Connected Are Awake

One of the most common reasons behind the “AirDrop not working” problem is any of the two devices are asleep. Make sure your display is active for AirDrop to function properly. Keeping your phone on the lock screen is alright too but you need to be able to accept the AirDrop notifications as and when they pop up. To wake up your device, just toggle the Sleep/Wake button.

2. Check If Your iOS Devices Are Discoverable On AirDrop Or Not

AirDrop has a couple of settings that decide who gets to discover or find your device on AirDrop. So, let’s take a look at the three AirDrop settings:

  • Receiving Off/No One: Your iPhone or iPad cannot be seen by other compatible devices on AirDrop.
  • Contacts Only: This setting will make your device visible to people in your Contacts only.  Also, for being able to see your device, these contacts should be signed in to iCloud along with the phone number or email id associated with their Apple ID.
  • Everyone: This setting will allow all nearby devices that use AirDrop to see your device.
Airdrop not working

Often we turn the AirDrop receiving off whenever we want some alone time. So, you need to ensure that the device’s AirDrop setting is appropriate before jumping to conclusions. 

Keep in mind that the Contacts Only settings might be troublesome at times as the network will first verify if the participant is actually your contact or not with the help of your Contacts app. So, if that’s the case, you can temporarily switch to “Everyone” to check if the problem has been solved or not.

Follow the steps given below to adjust the AirDrop settings:

Step 1. Go to the “Settings” app and then choose “General.” Then, select “AirDrop”. Choose the settings option you want to alter.

Go to the “Settings” app and then choose “General.” Then, select “AirDrop”. Choose the settings option you want to alter.
Select AirDrop

Else, you could simply swipe down from the upper corner or swipe up to open the Control Center, aka the Apple menu bar. Choose “Network settings card” and then tap on “AirDrop” and choose the desired option.

Step 2. If you find the “Receiving Off” setting to be stuck, go to Screen Time followed by Content & Privacy Restrictions. Then, choose Allowed Apps. Turn on AirDrop if it is turned off.

3. Check if Your WiFi and Bluetooth are Turned ON

Check if Your WiFi and Bluetooth are Turned ON

If the previous methods didn’t solve the “AirDrop not working” problem, then you should continue the troubleshooting process. Check if both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled.

The standard requirement is that your Bluetooth should be able to detect compatible devices located within a 30-foot radius. The Wi-Fi should also be enabled to be able to execute the transfer. Here’s how you can toggle your Wifi and Bluetooth on:

Step 1. Go to “Settings” and then tap on “Wi-Fi/Bluetooth”

Step 2. Then, select the “Turn Wi-Fi/Bluetooth off and on” option and tap on “Repeat.”

Note: Sometimes, connecting both devices can help AirDrop work properly. Also, make sure this shared network is not a mobile connection or Personal mobile Hotspot. Here’s how you can disable Personal Hotspot: Go to Control Center -> Network Settings Card from the top left corner -> Tap on Personal Hotspot icon to turn it off.

4. Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb Should be Turned Off

Many people forget that their phones are in Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode and that can also cause a couple of AirDrop problems. The airplane mode will disable all wireless radios that AirDrop requires to operate properly, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

You can check the Airplane mode and change the settings as per requirements by hitting the Settings button and then unchecking Airplane Mode. You can also go to the Airplane mode Settings section through the Control Panel (just swipe up from the bottom of your phone screen).

The Do Not Disturb feature in iOS and Mac might keep AirDrop from working properly. It will prevent notifications from being delivered and also keeps you from getting any AirDrop requests. Moreover, your device becomes undiscoverable. But you surely can send anything via AirDrop while in Do Not Disturb mode. 

Here’s how you can turn off the Do Not Disturb mode:

On iOS devices: 

Swipe up from the bottom of your phone screen to access the Control Center and tap the Do Not Disturb (quarter moon icon) to toggle the setting.

On Mac:

Tap the Notification menu bar item and bring up the Notification panel. Now, scroll up to find the Do Not Disturb setting and toggle it to turn it off.

5. Restarting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Turning on your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are necessary steps to be able to use AirDrop. So, checking out your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to see if they are working fine or not might solve the problem. If both your WiFi and Bluetooth are turned on, then try toggling them on and off to resolve the issue.

If both your WiFi and Bluetooth are turned on, then try toggling them on and off to resolve the issue.
If Bluetooth is turned on, then try toggling them on and off to resolve the issue.
try toggling them on and off to resolve the issue.

Just swipe up from your iPhone screen’s bottom and choose the Wi-Fi icon to turn it off and then, tap on the icon again to switch it on. Do the same with the Bluetooth icon and check if AirDrop is working or not.

6. Try Re-Signing into the iCloud Account

You can also try resigning into your iCloud account to see if the problem is resolved. Just open the “Settings” app and choose your name. Then, you’ll be taken to “iCloud.” You need to tap on “Sign out” and then, sign in to iCloud again.

Note: Also, make sure that the two iOS devices to be connected via AirDrop are signed in to iCloud.

7. Restarting your iPhone/iPad

One of the most common ways to restart your iOS device is by pressing the Home and Power buttons together. Restarting your device will help you solve problems like “Airdrop not working” and “Bluetooth not working.

8. Update your iOS version

We know that iOS software problems can be the reason behind problems. However, sometimes, the reason behind “AirDrop not working” could be some defections in the old iOS version. So, you should make sure you have the latest iOS version on your iPhone or iPad to make sure such problems get repaired.

Here are the steps you need to follow to update your iOS devices:

Step 1. Go to Settings and then to General.

Go to Settings and then to General.

Step 2. Then, tap on Software Update and choose Download and Install.

Then, tap on Software Update
choose Download and Install.

9. Do a Hard Reset of Your iPhone or Mac

You can also try a hard reset of your iOS device. This will remove any temporary glitches that your iPhone might have. Here’s how to do that on iOS devices:

For all iPads (excluding the 2018 iPad Pro) and old iPhones( 6s model or earlier):

Step 1. First, press and hold the Power button located on the right or top.

Step 2. At the same time, press and hold the Home button.

press and hold the Home button.

Step 3. Keep holding the buttons until the device’s screen goes black and you see the Apple logo come up.

For iPhone 7:

Step 1. Press and hold the power button located on the right side of the phone.

Step 2. While holding the Power button, also press and hold the Volume Down button located on the left of the phone.

Step 3. Keep holding down both the buttons until the screen goes off and black. You will see the Apple logo and the phone will turn off.

For iPhone 8/X series/11 series and 2018’s iPad Pro:

Step 1. Press and release the Volume Up button on the left.

Step 2. Then, press and release the Volume Down button on the left.

Step 3. Press and hold the Side button on the right.

Step 4. Keep pressing the Side button until you get the Apple logo

10. Reset Network Settings of the iOS device

AirDrop needs you to turn on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to work properly. So, one of the reasons behind the “AirDrop not working” problem could be the Wi-Fi connectivity issue. Given below are the steps to reset networks on your iOS device to fix the Wifi connection issue:

Step 1. Go to “Settings” and click on “General.

Go to “Settings” and click on “General.”

Step 2. Click on “Reset” and then, choose “Reset Network Settings.”

Click on “Reset”
choose “Reset Network Settings.”

Step 3. If prompted, type in your iOS device’s password and then tap on “Reset Network Settings” to confirm the action.

Points To Remember

Before attempting to use AirDrop, make sure to keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Your device should be compatible with AirDrop. The compatible devices are iOS 7 and higher models.
  2. Make sure you have turned on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the devices you plan to connect before turning on AirDrop.
  3. Ensure that the devices are in the optimal range of 30 feet to establish the AirDrop connection.

Do check out our article on How to add any email account to an iPhone 

Final Words

With that, we have wrapped up our list of fixes for the “AirDrop not working” problem on your iOS devices. If you’ve tried out all of the above solutions and the issue isn’t resolved yet, then you should probably contact Apple customer service. Or else you could try using any alternative to AirDrop for the time being.

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.