AirDrop is a method of transferring files wirelessly from one device to another device. AirDrop made its Mac debut in OS X Lion and arrived on the iPad and iPhone with iOS 7. The iOS implementation allows users to easily share photos, videos and other supported documents to anyone nearby who is using a supported iOS device or Mac.
AirDrop makes file sharing a lot easier, especially for families with a lot of Apple products. The ease of transferring files to your Mac via AirDrop means you can easily copy over those pictures, and being able to share photos between devices means you won't need to use storage space on a shared photostream. But AirDrop does more than just share files. You can share just about anything, from a cool app you found in the App Store to a web page. Essentially, almost anything that could be shared on Facebook, Twitter or iMessage can go through AirDrop.
How Does AirDrop Work?
AirDrop uses Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between the devices. Each device creates a firewall around the connection and files are sent encrypted, which actually makes it safer than transferring via email. AirDrop will automatically detect nearby supported devices, and the devices only need to be close enough to establish a good Wi-Fi connection, making it possible to share files across several rooms.
One advantage to AirDrop is the use of Wi-Fi to make the connection. Some apps provide a similar file sharing capability using Bluetooth. And some Android devices use a combination of Near Field Communications (NFC) and Bluetooth to share files. But both Bluetooth and NFC are relatively slow compared Wi-Fi, which makes sharing larger files using AirDrop much faster and more convenient.
AirDrop Supported Devices:
AirDrop will be supported on iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5 and iPod Touch 5 and later devices running iOS 7. It is also supported on Macs running OS X Lion, though Macs released earlier than 2010 may not be supported.