How to send a file from one Mac to another with AirdropGot a file on one Mac that you’d like to send to another Mac just a few feet away?

Sure, you could always use a USB stick, but if the Macs in question are a) relatively new and b) connected to the same local network, there’s a much easier way.

AirDrop in Go menu

You can activate AirDrop in the Mac’s “Go” menu under the Finder.

A built-in Mac feature called AirDrop lets you…well, “drop” a file from one Mac onto another.

Once you activate AirDrop, your Mac will scan your local Wi-Fi or wired network for other Macs that also have AirDrop turned on.

If there are other AirDrop-ready Macs on your network, you can then drag and drop a file from your desktop onto their AirDrop icon—and if the other Mac user accepts the file, the transfer will begin immediately.

Keep in mind that AirDrop only works if you turned it on and then accept an offered file—in other words, strangers at Starbucks can’t shove files onto your desktop, even if you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Oh, and one more thing: AirDrop only works on Macs made in the past few years or so. Click here for a list of iMacs and MacBooks that support AirDrop.

Airdrop confirmation dialog

Click “Save” to accept a file from a nearby Mac via AirDrop.

So, ready to AirDrop? Let’s get started.

  • First, click the bare desktop to make the Mac “Finder” active, open the “Go” menu at the top of the screen, then select AirDrop from the drop-down menu.
  • When you do, a radar screen-type window will open, with an image representing your user account in the middle. If other Mac users on the same networks also have open AirDrop, you’ll see their icons pop up next to yours in the Airdrop window.
  • Next, drag a file from your desktop and drop it onto the icon of another AirDrop-using Mac, then click the “Send” button in the little confirmation pop-up.
  • On your end, you’ll now see a pop-up that reads “Waiting for [name] to accept,” while the Mac user on the receiving end will get a dialog that says “[User name] wants to send you [file name],” plus three options: “Save and Open,” “Decline,” or “Save.” If the second user clicks one of the Save buttons, the transfer will begin.
  • Once the transfer is completed, the file will land in the recipient’s Downloads folder.

Looking for more Mac tips? Click here!