AirDrop Not Working? Fix “Airdrop Declined” and other issues

AirDrop is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to share files between Apple devices. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy or quick! In this article, I’ll explain exactly how you can troubleshoot AirDrop issues that you may experience on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac – whether they’re minor annoyances like “waiting” for a connection partner to appear in the list after searching with their name; other more serious problems such as timeouts when trying to send large amounts of data from an iOS device (iPad); compatibility errors involving non-Apple products; bugs resulting in messages that say ‘failed’ instead of sending successfully over Wi-Fi…the list goes on! Let me show you just some common fixes so your AirDrop experience is smooth sailing from here on out.

Some of the most common issues users report when using Airdrop are:

  • Can’t see the other device when Airdrop is turned on
  • Airdrop is not working as expected
  • Airdrop does not show up at all
  • Airdrop says “waiting”
  • Airdrop says “declined”
  • Airdrop says “failed”

Let’s look at how to fix all of these issues easily! Airdrop Not Working?

Fix 1: Check the Requirements.

For Airdrop to work correctly, you need to make sure both devices have the proper requirements. These requirements are as follows

  • Both of the devices must be near to each other.
  • Make sure you have Bluetooth turned on on both devices. To check, simply go to Settings, then Bluetooth. If on a Mac, you can click the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar to achieve this faster.
  • Make sure you do not have “Do not disturb” enabled. To do this on an iPhone or iPad, got to Settings, then Do Not Disturb. On a Mac, open the menu then go to System Preferences, then Notifications.
  • On the subject of Macs: You will need to make sure the device was launched in 2012 or later, if not it will not be compatible. Also, make sure you have the latest MacOS installed (minimum OS requirement is OS X Yosemite). To check this, open the menu, then go to System Preferences, then Software Update. If an update is available, you will be able to do it from here.
  • Likewise, for iPhones and iPads, you will need iOS 7 or later in order to use Airdrop properly. To check if you have iOS 7 or later, go to Settings, General, then About. You can also check for updates from General, by selecting Software Update.
  • Finally, if using either an iPad or an iPhone as either the sending or receiving device, ensure the personal hotspot is turned off. If you’re unsure, you can check by going to Settings, Cellular or Settings, then Personal Hotspot.

Airdrop Not Working? Fix 2: Check You’re Discoverable

Now that you’ve made sure both the receiving and sending devices to meet the required minimum settings, you will now need to check that your device is discoverable. Fortunately, doing so is easy and can be done in less than a minute.

  • On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, General, then Airdrop. Check to see whether the “Receiving Off” setting is selected. If it is, deactivate it.
  • On a Mac device, first, go to Finder, then select Go and click on Airdrop. From here you should be able to see “Allow me to be discoverable” and whether it is currently on or off. If the “No one” setting is currently selected, change it to “Contacts only.”
  • Another thing to take into consideration when using a Mac: your firewall settings. First, open the menu, then go to System Preferences, then Security and Privacy. From here you can select the Firewall settings. Make sure the “Block all incoming connections” is not enabled. Firewalls are incredibly worthwhile, so make sure to turn it back on again when you’re done.

Airdrop Not Working? Fix 3: Common Fixes for All Issues

So, you’ve done all of the above and still can’t get Airdrop to work properly? There are some easy fixes you can try that usually fix the problem within moments.

  • Turn Bluetooth off. Wait about thirty seconds, then turn Bluetooth back on again. Simple, but effective!
  • Do the same with your Wifi, if currently connected to one.
  • Do the same with your device’s Airplane mode. Turn it on, wait thirty seconds, then turn it back off again. Doing this forces your device’s connections to refresh.
  • Failing that, restart both of the devices. Turn them off, leave for thirty seconds, then turn them back on.
  • The file you are trying to send is too big.
  • The file you are trying to send is not supported by Airdrop.
  • You are not in each other’s contacts.
  • You aren’t signed into iCloud correctly.
  • Check there is no interference from other devices nearby.
  • If every previous steps have failed to fix it, the issue likely lies in your network settings. On an iPad or iPhone, go to Settings, General, Reset, Reset Network Settings. On a Mac it is a similar process: open the menu and go to System Preferences, then Network. From here you can remove the Wifi settings and then re-add them.

So there we have it! By following this guide your Airdrop should now be working correctly. If the problem persists it is likely to be a fault with your device itself so it is recommended to get it checked by a professional, which should be relatively inexpensive.

About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech. A lot has changed in the field since I started out as a writer back in 2009, so it's always exciting to keep up with all that's new. To me, there's nothing quite like getting my hands on a brand-new gadget or piece of software for the first time -- it's like Christmas morning every day!

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