In concept, Apple’s Airdrop is awesome. In reality, the wireless transfer of data between all Apple products, for instance between iPhone and Mac, can really, really suck. Lately, I’ve become mighty frustrated with some persistent Airdrop issues. A little (OK, I’ll admit it: a lot) of googling later, I had to conclude that these are well-known issues Apple still hasn’t solved. I get that some things may not be a priority, but some of these issues have persisted for years, so why not fix them?
Let’s look at 3 well-known Airdrop issues we wish Apple would solve.
This one is simple, really: Airdrop is known to be unreliable. In theory, you should be able to send data from one Apple product to another. For example, using Airdrop to send pictures from your iPhone to your MacBook. Sometimes it works perfectly, other times it simply won’t do what it’s supposed to do.
Now, granted, this can be caused by the settings. I always have my Airdrop settings set to ‘Everyone’ because I’ve discovered this gives a better chance of the Airdrop working between my iPhone and my Mac. If your Airdrop doesn’t work, try that first.
On your Mac, go to the Finder where ‘Airdrop’ should be in the left-hand ‘Favorites’. Check your setting and if it’s set to ‘No one’ or “Contacts Only’, change it. You can still block incoming drops, so don’t worry.
On your iPhone or (newer) iPad, swipe from the bottom up to access the control center. Airdrop is one of the options there. Again, you’ll want to set this to ‘Everyone’.
However, this does not guarantee it will work. Sometimes, even despite having the settings correct, Airdrop won’t work at all, as was ironically the case when I wanted to transfer a screenshot from my iPhone to my Mac for this article. I know, right? And three minutes later, without changing anything, it did work. That’s Airdrop for ya.
Another known issue with larger quantities is that Airdrop drops files, meaning you send 433 pictures, but only receive 429. Good luck figuring out which ones are missing.
2. Can’t See Mac/iPhone/iPad
Another known issue is that even when both things have their Airdrop settings set to ‘Everyone’, you still can’t ‘see’ the Apple product you’re looking for. Not even when they’re, like, right next to each other! Sadly, there’s no known fix for this. Some users have gotten lucky with turning Airdrop on/off, switching the settings a few times from ‘Everyone’ to ‘No one’ and back, or rebooting or restarting, but it’s no guarantee.
3. Photos Out of Order
The last issue is one that really baffles me. I’d love to use Airdrop a lot to transfer batches of photos from my iPhone to my Mac, which is what I assume the functionality is suitable for. Sure, I could use a USB cable and import, but that automatically starts up Photos (the less-than-stellar successor to iPhoto) and since my pics go straight to an external hard disk, I’d like to skip that step. The problem with Airdrop, however, is that it completely jumbles the order of the pictures your drop. They’re no longer in order of date and time, as you would expect, but (if I believe the sources I found on this) according to the order in which the files were transferred. Since this is random, so are your pics.
This truly is a major bother, without an easy fix. There’s an app that apparently works if you drop to an iPhone or iPad (search for ‘photo organizer airdrop’ in the App Store), though the reviews on that one are mixed too, but not from iPhone or iPad to Mac. After much trying, I’ve resorted back to using a cable to import pics, much as it pains me to go this route. This problem has been known for years, by the way, but Apple hasn’t fixed it yet.
I’m not harping on Apple, on the contrary. I am and have been a huge Mac fan for years (even before it was cool). These issues bug me, they are persistent and have been widely reported. It’s keeping me from using a feature that has the potential to be really cool – if only it worked.