Flick files to a nearby Mac with AirDrop
Mac Tip #534, 02 May 2012
We’re a 2 Mac household, both using OS 10.7, Lion. Sometimes I want to share files with my partner, such as photos, movies, spreadsheets or other documents. Lion’s AirDrop makes this an easy drag and drop, as you’ll see in this Tip.
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- Open AirDrop on both Macs.
- Drop one or more files onto the icon for a recipient and click
- As a recipient
Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.
What you need to use AirDrop
To use AirDrop you need 2 or more Macs both using OS 10.7 Lion.
The Macs must be less than around 9 metres apart and must have Wi-Fi turned on, although they don’t need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network.
You also, of course, need one or more files you want to share with another person. I suggest you open a Finder window that contains the files, ready to send them to the recipient. Also open a second Finder window ready to show AirDrop.
Start up AirDrop
Start up AirDrop on both Macs:
- Switch to the Finder.
Command (⌘) Shift (⇧) R. Or click the AirDrop item in the Sidebar of a Finder window. The AirDrop window opens and your Mac starts searching for other nearby Macs with AirDrop enabled.
When AirDrop finds other Macs with AirDrop enabled it displays their icons in the AirDrop window in the Finder.
Send files via AirDrop
To send a file to someone who appears in the AirDrop window just drag one or more files on top of their icon. An alert appears, asking
Do you want to send “[filename]” to “[computer name]“?
Send button to confirm your choice or
Cancel if you’ve changed your mind.
The recipient must now accept the file.
Accept an AirDrop file
On the recipient’s Mac an alert appears naming the file and offering 3 choices:
Save and Open
If the recipient declines your file an alert advises you.
To accept the file click either
Save and Open or
Save. The file is saved in the
If you chose
Save and Open the file will open with the default application for that type of file.
Keep in mind someone may send you a file you’re unable to open if you don’t have appropriate software.
Once you’re finished with sharing files just close the AirDrop window.
Easy and quick
This is an extremely easy way to send files from one Mac to another, and is especially useful because it doesn’t require cables or an Internet connection. It does need both Macs to have already started up AirDrop though.
I’ve often visited clients and needed to exchange files with them. In the past we’ve had to find cables, mess around with settings, use thumb drives or even DVDs, or send files via the Internet.
Is it safe?
AirDrop’s so easy to use that Apple don’t say much about it, but they do say:
Once accepted, the fully encrypted file transfers directly to that person’s Downloads folder.
That suggests that a third party who manages to intercept the file en route will not be able to access its contents. This could be relevant in a cafe or at a conference, for example.
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