∞ AirDrop only works with certain Macs

AirDrop is a new feature in OS X Lion that lets you wirelessly send files to other OS X Lion users, without Wi-Fi. But it only works on certain Macs. Apple has posted a KnowledgeBase article explaining which ones work:

Macs that support AirDrop in OS X LionThe following list shows the earliest of each Mac model type that is supported. If your Mac is the same, or newer than the model listed, then it supports AirDrop.
  • MacBookPro (Late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 or newer)
  • iMac (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010)

  • That’s a bit annoying for family’s with older Mac’s that have been handed down or used as media centers

    • Gustav

      Not in the media center case. AirDrop requires action on both ends – it’s meant as an ad hoc file transfer. If you have a media center, you’ll want to set up file sharing anyway.

  • Anyone have any idea as to why older Macs are not supported? I’m sure that older Macs have the horsepower … maybe some security issue that requires newer hardware?

    • Peter Cohen

      General consensus is that these specific Macs have different wireless networking hardware than other models, which enables the feature to work.

      • Marti-ri

        Hi Peter, is there anything I can do to upgrade my Macbook, early 2008, to use airdrop?

        Martin Norway

    • Gustav

      This scheme does not use standard TCP networking that file sharing or iChat file transfer uses. It can, in fact be used when two Macs aren’t even on the same network (or on a network at all). The airport hardware must support the ad hoc networking mode for this to work, so it was only built into Macs recently.

      • Guan Yang

        More precisely, the hardware must support simultaneous use of infrastructure and ad hoc modes.

      • Guan Yang

        More precisely, the hardware must support simultaneous use of infrastructure and ad hoc modes.

  • My MacBook Pro, 17-inch, Late 2008, does not Airdrop. 

    APPLE LIARS!!!! 


    • my Macbook (black 2008) and iMac 24inch (2009) doesnt have it either and i can no longer access the typical sharing used by slicking the “server” in the finder sidebar its always fails

  • 13sodas

    I think that it has something to do with the built-in Wi-Fi in these devices. You don’t need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network to share files, but I think that you have to have Wi-Fi capability in order for AirDrop to work.

  • Flyermoney

    AirDrop requires Wifi hardware capable of simultaneously sustaining a wireless connection while having ad-hoc mode activated. Not either or, which older Wifi equipment is capable of, but both at the same time, which only modern cards offer.

  • Michael Sadowski

    We have a white late 2008 MacBook that Apple lists as compatible with AirDrop, but AirDrop doesn’t show up on the MacBook no matter what I try. Not sure why. System Profiler even says the exact words Apple listed in their kb as compatible. Kinda bummed. Will stick with Dropbox I guess…

    • Erikvdo

      Is there another (AirDrop compatible) Mac in range of the MacBook? If not, then AirDrop won’t show up.  At least that’s how I understand it. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Erikvdo

      Is there another (AirDrop compatible) Mac in range of the MacBook? If not, then AirDrop won’t show up.  At least that’s how I understand it. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Michael Sadowski

        Nope, that’s correct. I have both computers in my home today; the white MacBook that Apple says is supposed to be compatible with AirDrop isn’t when both Macs are on. The white MacBook is wireless-N also, I checked.

        Will likely give it some time, maybe even an OSX software update. And will continue to look on Apple’s forums too, I can’t be the only one with this legitimate issue.

        • The41stside

          I have this same problem, it would be nice if apple would at least correct the list of compatible system to reflect the ones that actually work. FRUSTRATED! the trackpad gestures list was wrong on apple.com for a month as well. APPLE! GET IT TOGETHER!

  • Erikvdo

    My older Mac Pro doesn’t support AirDrop. I am totally disappointed by this revelation. Is it understandable and reasonable? Yes. But I am still making a frowny face. :(

  • Acfirm

    This is BS. I was not aware of this. Considering airdrop does not work and I need to upgrade my word/excel the 30 bucks was a waste of money! I may just as well reinstall snow leopard!

  • Tonymatt

    Dropcopy does pretty much the same thing and works perfectly on my older iMac. I guess Apple will do a fix for Airdrop at some stage in future but in the meantime I’ll stick with Dropcopy – no biggy.

  • Nick Mahz

    It should work. I have a 2009 model and wifi. What’s the deal?

  • Major disappointment regarding airdrop not working on older Macs – there is a work around though – so thats a bit of good news. You can download a free app from the Apple App Store called Drop Copy – this works in the same way as AirDrop… check it out.  One question I have to ask though is if this app works on all Macs regardless of age why can’t Apple enable Airdrop? Its the same idea, the same process and any file can be moved from one or other Macs you may have on your home network. Come on Apple – Play the game. Lets see a tweak in one of your many updates to enable this function to all your loyal followers and users.  

  • Shaggyblu1111

    Can Airdrop be downloaded on snowleopard too?

  • Azeck83

    mine is macbook air late 2010…have airdrop but can’t be detected from my iMac….

  • Stevephy

    My iMac is late 2009 and it doesn’t support Air Drop!

    Go to finder> preferences> sidebar.. It should be there.

  • Total lies. Mine is less than two years old and it doesn’t have it. ANNOYING.

  • kibbles

    and my toe hurts!

  • Andrew Clavio