How to AirDrop files between OS X Yosemite and iOS

Yosemite brings added functionality to AirDrop, letting you share files between your Mac and iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

Matt Elliott/CNET

In its previous iterations, AirDrop let you quickly and easily share files from one iOS device to another nearby, or between two Macs in close proximity. With OS X 10.10 Yosemite , you can can now use AirDrop to share files between iOS devices and Macs.

AirDrop is enabled by default on Yosemite. Open Finder and you'll see AirDrop listed in the Sidebar on the left or you can open it from the Finder's Go menu. (AirDrop is also listed as an option in the share menu of some apps.) On an iOS device, you can enable AirDrop via Control Center. You can make yourself discoverable to everyone, or only your contacts.

To send a file via AirDrop in Finder, just drag a file to an icon in the AirDrop window. A file is automatically received if the device you send it to uses your iCloud account (if you, say, send a file from your Mac to your iPhone). If you send a file to someone else, he or she will be asked to accept or decline the AirDrop transfer.


You don't need to be on the same Wi-Fi network to share via AirDrop, but each device needs to have a Wi-Fi connection and Bluetooth enabled. AirDrop has a range of approximately 30 feet (9 meters), according to Apple.

You also need a semi-recent Mac (2012 or later) and iOS 7 or later on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to transfer files between iOS and OS X.

For Mac-to-Mac transfers, you need OS X Lion or later and one of these models:

  • MacBook Pro (late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (late 2008 or newer)
  • iMac (early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or mid 2010)

There are two exceptions to the above list. The MacBook Pro (17-inch late 2008) and the white MacBook (late 2008) do not support AirDrop.

To find your Mac's vintage, click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner and choose About This Mac. A small window will pop up, showing basic system information. Click the More Info button and you'll see a bit more system information, including the year your Mac was made in gray lettering below its name (unless it's the latest model, in which case no year appears).

For more Yosemite tips, please see CNET How To's guide to Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite.