How to Use AirDrop on an iPad mini

At various points when you’re using your iPad mini, you encounter AirDrop, 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 Action icon when it is available in an app; no advanced setup is required.

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

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    Yes, you can choose more than one person. People in range who are eligible to receive the file are represented on your iPad 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 the Passbook pass in the Passbook app.

One last thing: You might want to keep this option turned off when you’re not using it — it’s a notorious battery hog. You can always use Control Center (swipe upward from the bottom of the screen) to quickly enable it when you need it.

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 as the time of this writing.