The Evolution of AirDrop: From its Introduction to its Latest Features on iPhone


The Evolution of AirDrop: From its Introduction to its Latest Features on iPhone

AirDrop is a file-sharing feature that was first introduced in iOS 7 in 2013. Its purpose was to make it easier and more convenient for iPhone users to share photos, videos, and other files with their nearby friends and family. Over the years, AirDrop has seen significant growth with multiple improvements and additional features, making it an essential tool for iPhone users. Let’s take a deep dive into the evolution of AirDrop and explore its latest features on the iPhone.

The Introduction of AirDrop

Before the introduction of AirDrop, iPhone users had limited options for sharing files with their friends. They could either use email or messaging apps, which often had file size limitations, or use third-party apps, which were often unreliable. This made file sharing a tedious and time-consuming process.

With the launch of iOS 7, Apple introduced AirDrop, a simple and secure way to share files between two iOS devices. It uses a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer connection between devices, allowing for fast and seamless transfer of files.

Initially, AirDrop was only available on iPhone 5 or later, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini, and iPod Touch (5th generation). It also had a size limit of 5GB, and the devices needed to be within 30 feet of each other for successful transfer.

Improvements in iOS 8 and iOS 9

With the release of iOS 8 in 2014, AirDrop became even more user-friendly. It introduced a new feature, “Selfie Sharing,” that allowed users to quickly share photos or videos with the people in the photo. For example, if you take a group photo with your friends, you can easily share it with them through AirDrop, even if they are not in your contacts.

In addition, iOS 8 also increased the file size limit to 1GB, making it more suitable for sharing larger files like videos. It also added the ability to share files between iOS and Mac devices, making it even more versatile.

iOS 9, released in 2015, further improved AirDrop by increasing the transfer speed by up to 10 times and introducing the ability to share files with multiple recipients simultaneously. This meant that you could send the same file to up to five different people at once, making it more efficient and time-saving.

AirDrop on iPhone X and Beyond

With the launch of the iPhone X in 2017, AirDrop received a significant update that made it easier to use. The new “Share Sheet” feature allowed for more precise control over file sharing options. When you select an item to share, you will see a list of recommended contacts at the top, making it faster to send files to frequent recipients. You can also scroll through your entire list of contacts and tap on multiple recipients before sending the file.

Another significant improvement was the introduction of “AirDrop to Everyone.” This feature allowed users to share files with anyone nearby, even if they are not in their contacts. It eliminated the need for the recipient to have an Apple device, as they could receive the file on their Android device or computer through a web browser.

New Features on iPhone 12

The release of iPhone 12 in 2020 brought even more exciting updates to AirDrop. The first one was the introduction of “Nearby Sharing,” which uses Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to make AirDrop even faster and more precise. With UWB, you can now point your iPhone to the recipient’s device, and it will prioritize it for super-fast transfer. This feature also allows for spatial awareness, meaning you can share files with someone standing right next to you without having to be in each other’s contact list.

Another notable addition was the “Hidden Device” feature. This feature allows users to hide their device from the AirDrop list, adding an extra layer of privacy and security.


AirDrop has come a long way since its introduction in 2013. From a basic file-sharing feature, it has evolved into a versatile and innovative tool, constantly adding new features and improving its functionality. With the latest updates on iPhone 12, AirDrop has become even more advanced, making it a must-have for iPhone users. Its user-friendly interface, fast transfer speed, and secure sharing have made it an essential part of our daily lives. As technology continues to evolve, we can only expect to see more exciting updates and features from AirDrop in the future.