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Different file transfer protocols are common in tech, but some work better than others. If you have a particular operating system, having a file transfer service dedicated to that system can be of great benefit. Such is Apple’s AirDrop. 

As with many things, AirDrop has a dedicated app that you can download for all of your compatible Apple devices. Thanks to AirDrop, you can send various file types between iOS and macOS devices in a snap. 

You should have the recent iOS and macOS versions to meet the requirements of AirDrop. Aside from this, there are a few other restrictions on when, where, and how you can use it. 

It’s a great way to get different files from one Apple product to another without a physical connection. You can also share files with another Apple product user. However, both devices should be close to one another. AirDrop uses short-range wireless protocols to send data between devices.

1. Why Are AirDrop Photos Not in Order?

Photos are the most common data types people share using AirDrop. Their relatively small size means that the transfer happens in a snap. However, some users face photo sorting issues when they AirDrop photos to another iOS device. 

For the most part, this can happen because the receiving device sorts the photos in chronological order. So, although your images belong to a specific album on one deviceAirDrop may still send those photos to the other device in a different order. However, there are a couple of things you might try to sort out the issue.

Sharing All Data

Your device might have an option to show or share the data in the photos. In addition, it includes any metadata the operating system adds to the picture behind the scenes. 

One of the crucial pieces of information here would be the time and date the user took the photo. If you share all of this data openly with the second device, it may be able to receive the images according to this metric, thus putting all of them in chronological order when it receives them.

However, you might only be able to do this if you share a series of individual photos. If you’re sharing an album, you need to use a third-party app to make the date information recognizable to the second device.

Enable iCloud Sync

In some cases, AirDrop may override the date on which a user took a photo. When it does, it uses the date when you AirDrop the photo. If this happens, it could mess up the chronological order of the images you want to send. 

One way to get around this is by ensuring the iCloud service syncs up with your devices. The photos you backed up to this service should keep the relevant time data if it can. So the time and date remain even when you share it with another device. 

2. How Fast Is AirDrop?

The only factor limiting AirDrop’s maximum speed is your Wi-Fi connections and protocols. However, if your connection speed is fast enough, AirDrop should be able to take advantage of that optimum speed. 

The speed you get for data transfers will probably be lower than this rating. However, that may be due to specific hardware limitations on the different devices you will be using.

AirDrop creates a link between two devices using Bluetooth, but this communications protocol alone would make some file transfers seem very slow. To solve the issue, the service directly links the two devices using a local Wi-Fi connection. 

Although AirDrop uses the Wi-Fi network, it is not using the Wi-Fi hardware in the same way that most devices do when they connect to it. Instead, AirDrop establishes a direct link between the two Apple devices , and it does so with the help of a Bluetooth connection

This setup contributes to how AirDrop can be so fast. Precisely how fast depends on the hardware of your devices and the network you are using. Getting an exact read on how fast AirDrop can work at its top speeds can be difficult. However, in theory, AirDrop may reach speeds of up to 500 MegaBytes per second. 

3. What’s the Maximum File Size You Can AirDrop?

Currently, there are no file size limits on AirDrop. So, in theory, you should be able to drop files of any size or type, that the Apple operating systems support. However, it does not mean you can send any file size without any issues whatsoever. 

Smaller files should still send themselves to the recipient device quicker than larger files. On a related note, large files that are several gigabytes may experience issues.

It is not a foregone conclusion that you will have problems sending a file several gigabytes in size, but the more data that has to transfer between two devices, the more time it may take. 

Within this period, there is the potential for some errors to occur. For example, some users may have zero problems sending large files, but others may struggle with the process. In the latter case, users might receive an error message that the process failed or the other device declined.

Similarly, the AirDrop program may cancel itself without warning. Although the size of the files is not the issue, you should check the settings on your AirDrop app and both of the devices. The file size may be problematic if the settings are OK. However, you can retry the data transfer until it completes. 

4. Can You AirDrop Photos Without a SIM Card?

On their site, Apple has not mentioned that any SIM card is necessary for AirDrop to work effectively. Your SIM card is a unique identifier for your phone. It contains personal and technical data your network uses to authenticate your device. It also stores small amounts of specific user data, such as your contacts list.

Although SIM cards are vital for using phones in many ways, it does not seem that AirDrop needs a SIM card present to function. Instead, the service only requires Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities on the devices involved in the transfer process. 

If you are having trouble getting your AirDrop to work, the lack of a SIM card is probably not the issue. First, ensure that you’re close enough to the other device. Similarly, ensure both parties have each other on their contact list.

5. Where Do AirDrop Files Go?

Your files go directly to your device during the AirDrop transfer. However, the device setup can also play a part in file locations. In other words, the files you transfer via AirDrop might all go into a dedicated folder for downloads on the receiving device. 

The system might sort them into whatever app matches their file type or extension if they do not. So, for example, pictures your device gets from the AirDrop service might go into an app you’ve designated for your photos, and videos might go into the app you use to play such files.

6. Can You See Your AirDrop History?

The operating system doesn’t keep a log of exchanges between both devices that use AirDrop. You might be able to pull some information from the system diagnostic log within the OS. But it does not guarantee that you will find any helpful information


When it comes to file sharing between iOS and macOS devices, nothing beats AirDrop. With no limits on file size, different third-party apps that can help, and no need for a SIM card, you need Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections to make this service work.