How To: Use AirDrop in iOS 7

In iOS 7, Apple brought the ability to share photos, video, contacts, web pages – pretty much anything with a share button – easily and quickly between iOS devices. Sure, you can share via email or SMS but that can sometimes feel like a longer way to go about the process, especially if the person you’re sharing with is sat right next to you.

That’s where AirDrop for iOS comes in. It uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, doesn’t require any setting up, and makes sending a file as easy as possible for iPhone and iPad users. This tutorial will use the example of a photo in the Photos app but the steps are the same in any other app or for any other content.

Here’s how to use AirDrop in iOS 7:

1. Find the content you want to share and tap on the share icon to bring up the Share Sheet.

1. Tap on the share icon

2. Tap to turn on AirDrop. You’ll then see the icon turn blue to indicate that AirDrop is on and a message instructing you to tell your friends to turn on AirDrop from Control Center if they haven’t already. If they have, you’ll see their face…

2. Tap to turn on AirDrop

3. Tap on the friend with whom you wish to share (yes, I do have a friend that looks like that). You’ll see the word “Sent” below their name to let you know it’s worked…

3. Tap on your friend's face to share

4. You friend will need to tap Accept on their iOS device to allow the file to be transferred. The incoming content will be saved wherever is appropriate (a photo in the Photos app, a pass in Passbook, a contact in Contacts and so on).

4. Accept

That’s it! It is that simple to share content between iOS devices running iOS 7.

Don’t see AirDrop when you press share? Note that AirDrop is only available on the following devices running iOS 7: iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, fourth-generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina Display and the fifth-generation iPod touch.

I find that using AirDrop is much quicker than any of the alternatives. It’s limited to iOS-using friends, and doesn’t link up with AirDrop on OS X (yet), but it is certainly the simplest way of quickly sharing some content with a friend that is close-by. Many apps have incorporated AirDrop too, meaning that a lot of different types of content can be shared easily.If you have any questions about AirDrop. or if there are any other tutorials you’d like to see on TiP, let me know in the comments or catch me on Twitter: @adamoram.

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  • RedGeminiPA

    I’m still waiting for AirDrop to work between iOS and OS X. It would make life so much easier.

    • Adam Oram

      Totally agree

  • Rick Rudge

    I know that I’m not using my iPhone4 like I’m supposed to. It’s a hand-me-down and I’ve only got a Pay-As-You-Go / Pre-Paid account without data, so I expect a little bit of stuff not working as it should. I’m fine with getting my internet from WiFi.

    I do remember being able to share graphics, photos, sound, and video inside my MMS text messages using other phones and I’m not able to do this now with the iPhone. I’m only able to use Emoji smilies, and that’s only if the other person has that on their phone. iMessage is only for being set up using data.

    To me, Apple needs to stop making the iPhone a special club that you can only use certain features with other iPhone users. It just needs to be able to communicate quickly, simply, and easily with most everyone.

  • Rick Rudge

    Sorry about my blathering on. Let me try to be more clear about this. When you can send an MMS text message with a video to a guy sitting next to you (or on the other side of the planet) and neither one of you needs to have matching iPhones, Control Center settings, or the latest iPhone, iOS, or iMessage, with just a phone number, and they can receive it with a 15 dollar throw-away phone and no data plan, it’s really hard to get all that excited about Airdrop.

  • ladiecol

    At the very beginning, I do not know what airdrop is, from Recovery-iPad, I have learn what it is and how to airdrop.
    You cannot miss it.