AirDrop is one of the major new features of iOS 7. If you’re a Mac user, then you’re probably familiar with it. Apple had introduced AirDrop for Mac with the release of OS X Lion in 2011, which allowed users to share files without the need of a Wi-Fi network or any configuration and without the need of storage devices.
Here’s what Apple has to say about AirDrop for iOS:
Sending a photo or a document to someone via text or email is fine. But if that someone is right next to you, a text or an email suddenly feels like too many steps. Enter AirDrop for iOS. It lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure.
It allows you to quickly transfer files between two iOS devices without the need of a Wi-Fi network. AirDrop works by creating an adhoc Wi-Fi network between the iOS devices, and doesn’t need any configuration.
The feature allows you to transfer files only between iOS devices currently, so you won’t be able to transfer files between your iOS device and Mac and vice versa.
You can share files using AirDrop via the redesigned share panel. So you will be able to share things via AirDrop from any app that has the share panel. Out of the box, you will be able to share photos, videos, contacts etc.
To share via AirDrop, iOS will prompt you to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
If there are any iOS devices with AirDrop enabled, they will automatically show up in the Share panel. As you can see in the screenshot below, you will see your contact pictures. You need to tap on the Contacts to send whatever want to share.
When you receive an AirDrop, you will get an alert with a preview of the photo or video, and with options to Accept or Decline it. If for example, you accept a photo via AirDrop, it will automatically launch the Photos app after the transfer is complete. It shows the progress with a circular animation during the transfer process.
AirDrop seems to be enabled by default, however you can turn it off by tapping on the AirDrop option in the all-new Control Center. You also have the option to make yourself discoverable to everyone or people in your contacts.
Unfortunately, AirDrop won’t be available on all iOS 7 compatible devices. AirDrop will beavailable only on iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPod touch 5.
The feature will be even more useful when developers add support for the feature in their apps. It remains to be seen what kind of files developers will be allowed to use the AirDrop feature for in their apps, and if Apple will impose any restrictions.
We’re glad that Apple has included AirDrop in iOS 7, it has been on our wish list ever since the feature was introduced on the Mac. It’s one of the coolest features of iOS 7, but it’s a pity that it doesn’t work with Macs. We hope Apple will add support in the future.
AirDrop also suffers for the same limitation that is inherent with most Apple services and features, which is, lack of cross-platform support, so you will have to still use the conventional ways such as email to share photos and videos with other devices.
AirDrop will be available on the iOS devices mentioned above when iOS 7 is released later this fall. Check out our iOS 7 category page for everything you need to know about Apple’s next generation mobileoperating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.