Technology That Impacted My Life in 2017-2018: AirDrop

If you have followed the blog, or know my story, I grew up as an Anti-Apple technology user. The Video iPod was my conversion point, and if you don’t know the story, I can re-tell that story at another time. My past viewpoints gives me the ability to call out Anti-Apple mindsets when I see them, because I know what they look like and what the arguments are.

Several years ago, perhaps five years ago, our district went all-Apple for teachers, and shortly thereafter adopted iPads 1:1 in a few of our schools. I had been all-Apple (personally) for a number of years, so the switch wasn’t a shock for me–but many teachers struggled moving from Windows to the Mac OS. We refreshed our Macs two years ago, and our iPad schools are still iPad schools (also on their 2nd generation). Other schools in our district have a combination of Chromebooks and iPads for their students (not 1:1), so we have moved off of the all-Apple mentality that existed for a few years, but we certainly remain Apple-friendly.

When it comes to computing as a whole, one of the most frustrating things to deal with is transferring files from one person to another, or from one device to another. If you have a current MacBook, and current iOS devices, you can use AirDrop to transfer files that won’t transfer easily any other way. We also use AirDrop to send photos between my wife and I after we have been on a trip.

Our district has disabled AirDrop for students (as students were AirDropping test questions and work to one another), but I have personally found AirDrop incredibly useful, particularly when I want to transfer a large file such as a video or Keynote presentation.

My Ukulele Video Keynote is upwards of 2.5GB due to embedded videos; and I find it impossible to share that file unless I use AirDrop. I’ll make a point to talk about using video in presentations in another post. This past year, I created Keynote presentations on my iPad Pro, and then used my school-provided MacBook to actually present those presentations at school (so I could use my personal iPad for my own purposes in class).

When you use AirDrop, you need to make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on, and that you have AirDrop set to see “Contacts Only” or “Everyone” if you want to receive a file (these are in the Control Center on iOS). You don’t need to be connected to Wi-Fi or have anything connected via Bluetooth. Having those two services enabled allows the devices to speak to each other, so you can send an item from an iPad to an iPhone or from a Mac to an iPad, or any combination. You can also send files to multiple people that are within 30 feet or so of where you are standing. AirDrop is an incredibly useful tool, and it has made my life better.

If you don’t live in an Apple setting, AirDrop isn’t going to help you very much. There are some options for file transfers between devices, but AirDrop is embedded directly into the operating system of Apple Devices.

If you haven’t used AirDrop, I encourage you to get used to doing so…when people are physically near you, it is a better solution than using other sharing methods (Google Drive, e-mail, etc.).