Apple first introduced AirDrop in OS X Lion as a peer-to-peer way of sending files to other Macs near you over Wi-Fi. It later brought AirDrop to iPhone and iPad with iOS 7, but strangely didn’t make it compatible with the Mac. With iOS 8, AirDrop finally works across Mac and iOS, thanks to Apple’s focus on iOS and Mac integration.
Continuity was a huge theme at the WWDC keynote earlier this month that will take iOS-Mac integration to a whole new level. As part of this theme, Apple not only unveiled new features like Handoff and Phone/SMS on Macs, but also made some basic, but much needed changes, like making Personal Hotspot much simpler, and of course making AirDrop work across Mac and iOS.
AirDrop in OS X Yosemite now uses the same technology as AirDrop on iOS. Discovery is handled via Bluetooth LE for minimal battery consumption, and the actual transfer is done via Wi-Fi. So now if you switch to the AirDrop tab in OS X’s Finder, you’ll see nearby iPhones and iPads (if they’re unlocked) along with Macs.
OS X Yomseite maintains support with older Macs if you enable the “AirDrop with Older Macs” checkbox.
Once iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are publicly released, you’ll be able to send photos, videos, links, contacts etc. to iOS as well as Mac users. AirDrop lets you send any kind of file from the Mac to other devices, but we’re not sure how iOS will handle unknown filetypes.
AirDrop not being compatible across iOS and Mac was a major annoyance, and we’re glad Apple’s finally sorted it out with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. Let us know what you think about unified AirDrop in the comments below.
iOS 8 Preview Series:
- Messages gets a major update
- Handoff makes going from iOS to Mac seamless
- Custom system-wide keyboards
- Make and receive phone calls, send SMS from your Mac or iPad
- Instant Hotspot makes Personal Hotspot much simpler