How to Transfer a File to an iPhone Via Bluetooth

By J.T. Barett

Describes how to use Apple’s AirDrop wireless technology to transfer files between a Mac computer and an iPhone.

Updates to Bluetooth wireless networking, combined with new software in Apple’s iOS 7 and OS X Yosemite, have changed how you transfer files between iPhones, other iOS devices and Macs. Using Apple’s AirDrop technology, you can transfer files between a Mac and an iPhone using a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi without the fuss of Bluetooth pairing.

Tip

  • OS X versions beginning with Yosemite and iOS devices with at least version 7 are needed for AirDrop to work. In addition, your iOS device must have a Lightning connector.
  • Photo and movie file formats such as JPG, GIF and MP4 appear on the iPhone’s Photos app when you transfer them. You can also transfer Pages documents, Numbers spreadsheets and PDFs to the iPhone. Successful transfer of other file types depends on whether you have iPhone apps that open the files. For example, you need Amazon’s Kindle app to open MOBI-format e-books.
  • At the time of publication, no AirDrop software exists for Windows computers. You can, however, use iPhone  apps such as Phone Drive, Air Transfer and Xilisoft iPhone Transfer to copy files from iOS devices to Windows.

On the iPhone

Step 1

From the iPhone's Home screen, slide up to reveal the Control Center.

Step 2

Tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth symbols to turn these network services on, if necessary. Tap AirDrop and change its setting to Everyone; this ensures that the Mac will pick up the iPhone’s signal.

Tip

When you’ve finished with the transfer, you may wish to change the AirDrop setting to Off or Contacts Only; when set to Everyone, the iPhone is less secure.

On the Mac:

Step 1

Click the Finder icon in the Dock.

Step 2

New Finder window

Click the File menu, and then click New Finder Window. Move the second Finder window so you can see both windows.

Step 3

AirDrop window

Click the AirDrop shortcut in the second Finder window to see your iPhone and any other nearby OS X or iOS devices.

Step 4

Locate the files you want to transfer in the first Finder window.

Step 5

Transfer files

Click the files or folders to copy in the first Finder window. Drag them to the iPhone AirDrop user icon in the second Finder window to transfer the files to the iPhone.