iPhone For Dummies, 13th Edition
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AirDrop is a fast, safe, and secure (through encryption) wireless method of sharing photos, videos, contacts, documents, and more with people you are close to physically. You just tap the share icon (sometimes called the action icon) when it is available in an app.

AirDrop exploits both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No advanced setup is required.

To be part of an AirDrop exchange, you and the recipient must be using iOS 7 and have an iPhone 5 or later, a fourth-generation iPad or later, an iPad mini, or a fifth-generation iPod touch.

Taking advantage of this clever feature involves three simple steps:

  1. Turn on the AirDrop feature (if it's not on already) in Control Center.

    You have the option to make your phone visible to Everyone (within the vicinity) or just to your contacts.

  2. Tap the share (action) icon when it presents itself in an app and choose the file or files that you want to share.

  3. Choose the recipients of those items by tapping the circle for the person, as shown the following figure.


    You can choose more than one person. People in range who are eligible to receive the file are represented on your iPhone by a circle. (The circles may even contain their pictures.)

    The AirDrop process hath begun. The people on the receiving end will get a prompt asking them to accept the picture, video, or whatever it is you're offering them. Assuming they take kindly to your offer and grant permission (by tapping Accept rather than Decline), the file lands on their devices in short order, where it is routed to its proper location. That is, a picture or video ends up in the Photos app, a contact in the Contacts app, and websites will open in Safari.

If you use a Mac computer, you're probably familiar with an OS X feature that carries the same name and operates similarly. But with the iOS 7 version of AirDrop, unlike the version on the Mac, folks can transfer files even if they don’t share the same wireless network. And the two AirDrop implementations do not interact, at least at the time of this writing

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Edward C. Baig is the personal and consumer technology columnist for USA Today, where he reviews the latest gadgets and reports on tech trends. Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus has been writing the "Dr. Mac" column for the Houston Chronicle for more than 20 years. A regular contributor to a variety of technology publications, he's a proud Mac aficionado who's written or co-written more than 85 how-to books on all things Mac, including multiple Mac operating systems, the iPhone, the iPad, Office for the Mac, and GarageBand.

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