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Update: AirDrop works between iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, etc.) and Macs as long as the iOS device is running at least iOS 8 and the Mac is running at least OS X Yosemite (Any operating system before iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will only allow AirDrop between iOS to iOS airdrop or Mac to Mac).

AirDrop for iOS 7 and OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks

You might have recently tried to share a file between your iPhone and your Mac and thought: “Hey, why don’t I just use AirDrop?”

Should be easy right? Both have AirDrop, so it should be a snap.

But when you try it, it doesn’t work.

Come to find out, AirDrop for iOS (iPhone/iPad/etc.) and AirDrop for Mac are two different and currently incompatible things. Thats right, you can’t use them together. AirDrop for iOS only supports iOS devices and AirDrop for Mac only supports Mac devices.

You see, if you read the description of the new AirDrop feature for iOS 7 closely, you’ll notice it refers to ‘”AirDrop for iOS“, and “iOS 7” rather than just “AirDrop“:

…Enter AirDrop for iOS…You’re automatically visible in AirDrop to your contacts running iOS 7. But you can also make yourself visible to anyone nearby using iOS 7 or to no one at all. One tap in Control Center is all it takes. (source)

AirDrop for Mac and AirDrop for iOS use different protocols at the moment. Someday they will probably be compatible, but for now they aren’t. This is a list of devices that currently support AirDrop:

iOS devices running iOS 7:

Mac computers running OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks:

  • Mac Pro (early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010)
  • MacBook Pro (late 2008 or newer, except MacBook Pro (17-Inch Late 2008) )
  • MacBook Air (late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (late 2008 or newer, except white MacBook (Late 2008)
  • iMac (early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (mid 2010 or newer)
  • Click here for Apple’s instructions on using AirDrop for Mac

Someday in the future, I’m sure Apple will change this, but for now – hopefully this article helped you understand the frustration you might have experienced as you tried to figure out why AirDrop wasn’t working like you expected it to.