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SkipHaughay Level 4 Level 4

I am having issues getting Airdrop to work.  I have been unable to make this feature work at home, nor at work.  The steps and symptoms are as follows:


1) On each machine, open a finder window, and select AirDrop.  Two icons will appear in the window,  representing the source and destination machine.

2) From my source machine, I drag a file (ANY file) to the destination machine.  A dialog appears asking if I want to transfer the file.

3) Click yes to start transfer.

4) Immediately two dialogs appear on top of one another.  The first indicates it is waiting for permission from the destination to receive the file.  The second one that immediately pops up is a failure message.


Has anyone gotten this to work?  I am running stock Apple Kit at home so far as network is concerned.  We are talking Time Capsule, with nothing special done on the firewall.


The firewall shouldn't matter as Airdrop switches over to an adhoc networking mode point to point between machines when initiated.

Solved by SkipHaughay on Jul 20, 2011 12:51 PM Solved

Some troubleshooting has revealed the source of the problem.  It's still a bug, I think.


The destination machine has a copy of OS X Lion Server installed!  Apparently this kills AirDrop, but not in a graceful, user informative manner.  It just don't work.

Reply by scdavis on Feb 29, 2012 10:42 AM Helpful

Perfect, thanks.

Reply by catherine patri on Dec 16, 2013 7:03 PM Helpful

Tried a number of options without success, but it was this one that solved the problem instantly.

Thank you.

All replies

  • wifiguru Level 2 Level 2

    What are your machine specifications ? Can you post them here  ? (eg. Macbook Pro3,1 etc.)

    Also if you look in System Profiler, you can find out what wireless driver you are using on both machine's. Post the driver versions for both machine's on here.

    (System Profiler has all of the above information available ).


    Turn off the firewall on both machine's and try. Are you running any other firewall software on your machine's ?

    How big is the file you are trying to transfer ?

  • DrVenture Level 2 Level 2

    Can you attach a screen shot of when you get the two dialogs? To capture the screen, just do command - shift - 4 and box in the screen with the little camera icon. Please attach the screen shot to this thread.

  • SkipHaughay Level 4 Level 4

    Some troubleshooting has revealed the source of the problem.  It's still a bug, I think.


    The destination machine has a copy of OS X Lion Server installed!  Apparently this kills AirDrop, but not in a graceful, user informative manner.  It just don't work.

  • Lanny Level 5 Level 5
    Mac OS X

    Only a select group of newer Macs are supported, see this Apple Knowledge Based document:

  • Snoop Dogg Level 4 Level 4

    Yeah, the Lion Server firewall breaks AirDrop.

  • DrVenture Level 2 Level 2

    That is not true. I have a Lion server and a Lion client. On the server I turned the firewall on and then opened my AirDrop window. On my client I turned my firewall on, and again, opened my AirDrop window. I then transfered a couple of files from the server to the client and the client the to server. The only "issue" I could see was the client was a little latent in prompting to send or recieve a file. Other than that it worked great.


    The server is the latest gen iMac and the client is a MacBookPro from 2010.

  • wifiguru Level 2 Level 2

    Can you post your firewall settings here ? Do you have "Block all incoming connections" and "Stealth mode" enabled ?

  • barryjb Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for that info it answered why my MacBook Air and iMac don't work with AirDrop.  Sadly both 2009 models not supported.

  • bluelunatic Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks I searched for hours to figure out why AirDrop worked on my dad's iMac he bought a last year and not on my MacBook Pro I bought in 2008. Apparently I have an early 2008 model. Why would this be the case?

  • Tony Matthews Level 1 Level 1

    Dropcopy does pretty much the same thing and works perfectly on my older iMac.
    I guess Apple will do a fix for Airdrop at some stage in future but in the meantime I'll stick with Dropcopy - no biggy.

  • Dave B. Level 4 Level 4

    I too had problems with AirDrop. Here is my story if it helps anyone:


    1. Mid 2009 MBP and 27" i3 iMac (both on the approved AD list, both w/ Lion); the MBP is downstairs and iMac is in bonus room


    2. Both show AD in left-hand Finder window under Favorites


    3. When AD is selected/turned on, both show their own icons at the bottom of the AD window on right of Finder, but neither showed the other Mac


    4. I called AppleCare and had both Macs on the same desk in the bonus room so I could see both screens at the same time. As I started to talk to the AppleCare guy, both Macs showed up on the other screen! I thought this must be the "car never acts up for the mechanic" thing. As I was explaining it to him, it starts working, so it dawned on me - what is the range of AD? I asked and he said about 15-20 feet. Next are things he told me--


    5. If you can see AD in the Finder Favorite list, your Mac supports AD (meaning your airport card). If it doesn't even show up it doesn't support it hardware-wise, or is another problem.


    6. AD doesn't work when my iMac is on Ethernet (my usual setup b/c the iMac is right beside the base station and Ethernet is faster), even though it shows up in the Finder, b/c AD isn't a network thing like Internet connections. IOW, it is only one Airport card talking to another Airport card. He said it is in the category of Bluetooth - - two devices connected wirelessly. Has nothing to do with Internet or wireless routers.


    7. For it to work, both have Lion, both on approved hardware list, both have AD selected in Finder, and within approx 15 feet of each other (depending on the construction of your house). The Finder window says for "other computers nearby." The operative word is definitely "nearby."


    8. Regular old File Sharing is still the best way for me to send a file to the iMac. My wife also has an MBP which will get LIon soon. Her recliner is beside mine so that will work, but the iMac in the bonus room is too far for either MBP.


    Hope this helps.

  • Snoop Dogg Level 4 Level 4

    I'm specifically talking about the firewall you get by installing the Lion Server pieces.  Not the Firewall in Security pref pane in System Preferences.  The firewall in System Preferences works fine with AirDrop as long as you don't set it to "Block all incoming connections".

  • Grandiose Level 1 Level 1

    The whole 'nearby' thing made it work for me. Thanks, Dave. Additionally, from my experiments at home, it seems as if both computers need to have a Finder window open and the Airdrop feature selected.

  • Dave B. Level 4 Level 4

    Yes, AppleCare said having AD selected in the Finder is what turns it on, meaning you can keep people around you (at a coffee shop, say) from seeing your Mac by not being in the Finder. Or if you are in the Finder, don't select AD.

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