I am SURE that you’ve had this problem before: you have a photo on your phone and you want to transfer it to your Mac via AirDrop, BUT YOUR PHONE WON’T DETECT YOUR MACBOOK. My Macbook Pro 2012 can detect my iPhone 6 well enough, but it wouldn’t work the other way around.

Google wasn’t much help. All the tips that various websites gave to solve this problem were things I’ve also already tried.


I don’t know how, but for some reason, I got the idea to change both my Macbook and iPhone’s name to just a short name: my own. I think I was reading another article or a forum/discussion giving tips on how to make AirDrop work when I got the idea. The inspiration may have come from a comment… I don’t know. All I know is that I immediately removed all punctuation marks and numbers and spaces from my name, shortened it to RiaMBP for my Macbook Pro 2012 and Ria for my iPhone 6.

Feeling like luck was on my side this time, I opened my Photos app and selected a random one to send via AirDrop to my waiting MBP. I was disappointed when my phone couldn’t detect my MBP yet again, BUUUUUUUUUUUT!!!!!!!

…all of a sudden my face popped up in the Airdrop area signifying that it was able to detect my MBP.


Seeing that I was in our school workroom and my colleague was hard at work on his lesson plan in the next carrel, I had to restrain my screams to a squeak.

Because my high school Science lessons taught me that experiments should be done again and again to confirm the results, I turned off both my phone’s and MBP’s bluetooth to disconnect them from AirDrop. I even turned on the airplane mode on my phone. After a few minutes, I turned on the WiFi and bluetooth on both devices and lo anD BEHOLD MY AIRDROP WAS WORKING!

I squeaked again and bounced up and down on my seat, my carrel-mate looking over at me and laughing.

Experiment 3 had me change my MBP unit’s name again. I added a space: Ria MBP.

Result? My phone was still able to detect my Macbook Pro. It wasn’t as quick this time, though, but the detection was successful.

Experiment 4 had me ask my AMAAAAAZING carrel mate to see if I could connect to his device using AirDrop (Thank you, Luke!!!). He had an iPhone 5 and a Macbook Pro 15″. I asked him what his device names were and when I looked at his settings saw that his device names had punctuation marks. I tried connecting to his devices with the punctuated names and I faced the same problem: no detection between my phone and his devices.

When I asked him to change his device names to a single word without any spaces or punctuation marks, my phone was able to detect both his devices easily. It took around half a minute? if I recall correctly, but it was a success again.

My excitement got the better of me and I hounded the colleagues I was close to and begged them to let me try something out on their MacBooks for a few minutes. I repeated the process on a MacBook Air 2014 and MacBook Pro Retina 2015.




I posted on FB and Twitter about this discovery if I recall correctly, but for some reason, nobody seemed to care. One person DID ask me about it, though, so there’s that. 😀

I remembered this event because I was trying to get a picture I had saved on my phone onto my laptop for a presentation I was going to use in class. For some reason, my laptop couldn’t be detected again. I went through the old motions of checking my bluetooth pairing and everything else I used to do to try to get my phone to detect my laptop, and this made me doubt my wonderful discovery. THANKFULLY THOUGH my AirDrop connection worked eventually. It took about five long and agonizing minutes. After I transferred the file I needed, I went back to experimental mode again, disconnected my two devices from AirDrop. When I turned AirDrop on again, my phone was able to detect my MBP immediately.

This leads me to believe that my phone suffers from anterograde amnesia and needs to “reintroduce” itself to my MBP (or vice versa) whenever I need to use AirDrop between the two devices; my phone can easily detect my MBP after a first connection has been made.

I don’t know if this solution has been tried by other people because I only ever got through the first page of Google search results, but if it hasn’t, then please let this be my humble contribution to solving that AirDrop conundrum. If it has, then let this be supporting evidence that the solution works.


iPhone to an old OS (Mavericks) didn’t work. Still trying to figure this one out.


Lord, help me. It stopped working again. Or not. It works! It just took my phone a looooooong time again to locate my MBP.

//edit (August 30 2017)

I think the OS has to be kept updated to make it work.


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