What’s the deal with AirDrop?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dear PC Doctor:

I was using my mac laptop over a public wireless network and strange files showed up on my desktop. They weren’t mine and I didn’t recognize anything about them. Someone suggested it might have to do with AirDrop — What is AirDrop? How I can I prevent this from happening again? Thank you.

Signed, Unnerved

Dear Unnerved:

I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t want a stranger’s files to show up on your computer’s desktop! Although I can’t be sure that what happened was because of AirDrop, I can share some information with you from the Apple support site.

AirDrop is a feature for Apple devices. It works on Apple computers, iPads, and phones. It’s a way to instantly share photos, videos, documents, and more with other Apple devices nearby. Open an app and find the content that you want to share (such as a file or photo). To share multiple items, tap “Select, “then tap the items. Tap “Share” or the AirDrop icon, which is a little square with an arrow pointing up. Tap the AirDrop user that you want to share content with. You can also AirDrop content between your own Apple devices.

When someone shares content with you using AirDrop, you’ll see an alert with a preview of the content. If you tap “Accept,” you get the content in the app it was sent from. For example, photos appear in the Photos app and websites open in Safari. App links open in the App Store so you can download or purchase the app.

If you AirDrop content to another of your own devices, you won’t see an option to Accept or Decline. The content is automatically sent to that device. Just make sure that both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID.

You can go to Settings; General; AirDrop to choose who can see your device in AirDrop and send your content. If you choose “Receiving Off,” you won’t receive AirDrop requests. If you choose Contacts Only, only your contacts can see your device. If you choose “Everyone,” all nearby iOS devices using AirDrop can see your device.

My best guess is that you had your AirDrop setting set to Everyone. I think if you make the desired change, it won’t happen again. (Why a stranger would want to share files with you is another question!)

I hope this helps!

Until next time,

Happy Computing!

Editor’s Note: Questions should be directed to PC Doctor, care of the Athol Public Library, info@athollibrary.org or Athol Public Library, 568 Main St., Athol, Mass. 01331, or dropped off at the library.

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