Definition

Apple AirDrop

Contributor(s): Eddie Lockhart

Apple AirDrop is a native feature in iOS and OS X that lets users share data from one device to another on the same Wi-Fi network.

AirDrop allows users to share photos, videos, websites and locations between devices that are up to about 30 feet apart. The feature can be activated through the Control Center on iPhone 5 or later, iPad 4 or later, iPad mini or iPod Touch fifth generation or later with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on. When users have a piece of content open, they can click share, select the AirDrop icon from the list of options and then choose the name of the AirDrop user they want to share with. The other user receives a preview of the content and can accept or decline it. The process on a Mac computer is slightly different: The user accesses AirDrop through the Finder, Share menu or Open and Save windows, and then shares files by dragging and dropping them onto the other user's device icon.

IT cannot control which data users can share through AirDrop, so employees could potentially leak corporate data through the tool. The only way for IT to restrict access to AirDrop is through supervised mode, a mobile device management (MDM) feature that gives IT administrators control over iOS devices.

In iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, users can transfer data from an iOS device to a Mac computer and vice versa. In iOS 7, users could only use AirDrop to transfer data across like devices. A user could only move data from one iOS device to another iOS device, for example. OS X Lion was the first Mac OS to include AirDrop.

This was last updated in August 2015

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