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News and Perspectives from IT Experts
July 19, 2019

Hello AirDrop: all about this file and image sharing utility

Have you ever used AirDrop? If not, it is time to learn all about this file and image sharing utility from this article.

AirDrop is Apple’s very own little helper that we have sadly been ‘sleeping on’ for the longest of times. Initially released in July 2011, the ad-hoc service in Apple’s MacOS and iOS operating systems has just recently turned eight years old, and yet not everyone knows of it and how to take full advantage of its functionality. This service doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to fully utilize the system.

The question “How does AirDrop work?” is pretty simple and easy to answer. AirDrop enables file transfer among supported iOS devices and Mac computers using both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. There is no need for a mass storage device or mail when using AirDrop. This ‘over-the-air’ file sharing and transfer service helps Apple users to connect and share files between their devices. Share instantly with people nearby. When you have AirDrop, you can be discoverable in AirDrop to receive what is being sent by everyone or only those in your Contacts list. 

It’s amazing to discover that not many people are aware of this service. It was released at the same time as iOS 7. Its capabilities are fully available when connecting on the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and later, the iPad Mini and the iPod Touch (5th generation). And the best part is that you can encrypt the files you send. With AirDrop, you protect what you share and thus shield your space from unwanted malware. 

Qualities to Improve 

This ad-hoc service on all of Apple’s devices makes life simple and sharing very easy. But then again, because of how trusting iOS users become when sharing between each other, it becomes easy for the system to be compromised. A bug in Apple’s iOS and OSX AirDrop can be shared during file transfer. Malware can be installed easily and silently. This vulnerability is a huge threat, and it has been pinpointed by Mark Dowd, an Australian security researcher.

To reduce the chances of picking up malware when using AirDrop, always ensure that the files you are supposed to receive are coming from a trusted source. Additionally, under the app’s main settings, you can set AirDrop to ‘Contacts Only.’ This way, you cannot easily pick up any files in public areas where people you do not know are sharing their own files or randomly sending malware to whichever system picks it up. 

The other limitation is that AirDrop provides its amazing file sharing services only on Apple products. Most of the times, if you have to share with colleagues that are not using iOS or OSX, you need to use Bluetooth or Shareit. This can cause double work for you if you are to share with colleagues on different platforms, such as Blackberry. 

Advantages of AirDrop

The most useful features of AirDrop are perhaps the service’s advantages. The way it works defines what it is and how it brings pros to those with the ability of file sharing using AirDrop. Depending on your age and how you use the service, the main advantages of AirDrop are as follows:

  • You can send large videos, files, documents, photos, etc. without reducing or compromising the quality and size of the original item being sent. 
  • You can send stuff between all your Apple products. If you are logged in with the same Apple ID on all your Apple gadgets, you can use one of them to download what you saw on another. For example, if you see something you like while browsing on your phone, you can switch on the ad-hoc service and use AirDrop to download what you want using the iPad. The thing will be downloaded to the iPad and not the phone.
  • You can quickly share files between iOS and Mac devices as long as they are within the  range of Bluetooth connectivity in a Wi-Fi zone.
  • There is no need to be burdened by the extra cost that comes with the use of mass storage devices. 
  • Even without mail, AirDrop fully functions and sends all types of media, including videos, images and documents.
  • Apple’s AirDrop should be safe to use because of all the security features that come with the constant updates. As long as you strive to have the latest version, then you should be good.

Hello iOS 13!

So, we’re all waiting on bated breath for the release of iOS 13, which is coming before the end of the year. Apple has already let us in on the fact that it will come with enhanced features. There are more options added to the Share Sheet, which increases the number of people you can view and share files with and methods of file sharing. Also, Android users who have already found a way around to enjoy the platform will finally get their own version from Apple. There is no doubt that the first query is always “Is AirDrop safe to use?” With the answer already given in the article, you can decide how to use AirDrop well. 

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