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Where do AirDrop photos go?

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  • 5 min read

Apple users are more than familiar with the ease of transferring files and photos from one Apple device to another using the AirDrop feature.

AirDrop establishes a peer-to-peer connection between two Apple devices with Bluetooth and WIFI settings turned on and are close to each other to enable file transfers in seconds. But once a user accepts a transfer from their device, where do these AirDrop files and photos go?

Also read: Why are Airdropped photos not showing up? Quick Fix

Where do Airdrop files and photos go?

The files and photos are saved in different Mac, iPhone and iPad locations.

iPhone and iPad

In iPhones, the files are stored in the corresponding app, depending on the file type. For instance, photos are stored in the Photos app, shared notes are saved in the Notes App, and PDFs are stored in the Documents folder.

Options to open the Airdrop file.


For the Mac, files and photos received through AirDrop are saved in the Downloads folder by default. To access this folder, open a new Finder window. Click Go on the top menu bar, then click AirDrop. Or use the shortcut Option + Command + L to open the Downloads folder directly.

Also read: Why is Airdrop not showing up on Mac?

How to use AirDrop?

Before you begin receiving or sending files, make sure the following points are taken into consideration on the sender and the receiver’s device:

  • Turn on WIFI and Bluetooth for both devices.
  • Hotspot tethering should be turned off for both devices.
  • Ensure the devices are placed no farther than 30 feet (9m) from each other.
  • Turn on your AirDop discovery features. Either choose Everyone, allowing any Apple device close by to view your device when trying to AirDrop files. Or choose Contacts Only.
  • If you choose Contacts Only, both the devices must be signed into iCloud, and the receiving device should have the email ID or phone number associated with the Apple ID of the sender’s device saved in the contacts.
  • The receiving device must accept the transfer on its end for the transfer to commence. They can accept or deny the transfer request once they receive the notification.

Send files

On your iPhone or iPad, long tap on the file (document, notes, pdf) you want to share. From the options that appear, tap Share.

Share a file via AirDrop.

Under Tap to share with AirDrop, devices ready for an AirDrop will appear.

Devices available for AirDrop will appear here.

Tap on the device you want to share files with. The files will begin sending once the recipient accepts the Airdrop request.

On your Mac, right-click on the file or press and hold Control while clicking on the file. Tap Share > AirDrop. Then tap on the device you want to share files with.

For Macs, if you want to share multiple files, you can open the AirDrop window and drag and drop files to the device you want to share files.

Also read: Top 7 Note taking apps for iPad

Send photos from iPhone or iPad

Go to your Photos app to share photos from your iPhone or iPad. Tap or click on the photo you want to share.

If you want to share multiple photos, tap Select at the top and tap on all the photos you want to transfer.

The share icon should appear on the top bar, either on your screen’s right or left corner.

You can select multiple photos to share via AirDrop.

The option to AirDrop should appear. Click on the device you wish to share the photos with under the AirDrop section.

Available devices will appear in the AirDrop section.

Also read: Why are Airdropped photos not showing up? Quick Fix

Receive files

You must change your AirDrop settings to Everyone or Contacts Only to receive files.

Do so by going to Settings > General > AirDrop.

Turn Airdrop on.

On your Mac, you will have to click on Allow me to be discovered by to view the options.

From the options, choose Everyone or Contacts Only.

Select your preferred AirDrop discovery.

You will receive a pop-up notification when someone attempts to share files or photos with you. Accept the request to receive the file or click on Decline it if you don’t want to receive it, especially if it is unsolicited and from someone unknown.

Accept or Decline AirDrop requests.

Now that you have received AirDop files and photos, where do you locate them?

Also read: How to delete a wallpaper on your iPhone?

Vanashree Chowdhury

Being a tech enthusiast, Vanashree enjoys writing about technology and cybersecurity. She is a designer and marketer by profession and is deeply passionate about working on campaigns for social issues. You can contact her here:

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