What’s New With iOS 17 AirDrop

Apple’s AirDrop feature has received some exciting updates in the latest iOS 17 release. AirDrop allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to wirelessly share photos, documents, and other files with nearby devices. The new capabilities make AirDrop more useful and intuitive than ever.

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AirDrop has been a core part of the iOS experience since it was introduced in 2011 with iOS 7. It provides a seamless way for Apple users to share content between their devices using Bluetooth and WiFi, without needing an internet connection.

With iOS 17, Apple has introduced the biggest changes to AirDrop since its inception. There are three major new features:

  • NameDrop – Allows easy sharing of contact information by bringing two iPhones close together.
  • SharePlay – Enables sharing of synced content during a FaceTime call.
  • Proximity Sharing – Allows files to be shared with nearby users without internet.

These updates make significant improvements to the AirDrop experience. They facilitate quicker and more advanced sharing that better suits the needs of modern iPhone users.


One of the most exciting changes to AirDrop is the new NameDrop feature. NameDrop provides a brand new way to quickly exchange contact information between iPhones.

Here’s how it works:

When two people want to share their contact details, they simply need to bring their iPhones close together. An on-screen prompt will pop up asking if they want to share their info via NameDrop. With a tap, their respective contact cards are wirelessly transferred using the near field communication (NFC) chips built into the iPhones.

No manual entering of details is required. The transfer happens securely and almost instantly.

According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s software engineering chief, NameDrop makes exchanging info “as easy as touching phones.”

This feature will completely change the way people exchange contact info. No more manually typing in phone numbers or saving new contacts from texts. It provides a seamless experience that users will quickly adopt.

The NameDrop exchange works between iPhone 14 models or later running iOS 17. NFC technology is required, meaning it won’t work on older iPhones without the required hardware.

NameDrop has the potential to become the new cultural norm for sharing contacts. It’s fast, private, and easy. Apple users will quickly appreciate the convenience it offers.


SharePlay debuted in iOS 15 as a way to sync video, music, and screen sharing during a FaceTime call. The feature has been expanded in iOS 17 to include AirDrop file sharing.

Users can now share photos, documents, and other files to everyone in a FaceTime call using AirDrop. This provides an integrated experience where people can communicate and share files seamlessly.

Here are some examples of how you can use SharePlay with AirDrop on iOS 17:

  • Look through vacation photos together with friends or family and AirDrop your favorites during the call.
  • Collaborate on a work project by sharing documents, diagrams, or images with team members.
  • Share funny videos from your camera roll to make everyone laugh.
  • Send your location via the new SharePlay Location feature so meetups are easy.

SharePlay helps make conversations more interactive. The ability to visually share files and media enhances the engagement and connectivity of FaceTime calls.

SharePlay AirDrop is available on iPhone 8 or later running iOS 17. Both the sender and recipient need to be on iOS 17 and FaceTiming together.

Proximity Sharing

iOS 17 also introduces Proximity Sharing – a new AirDrop method for sharing files and data with nearby Apple devices.

Proximity Sharing works by using Bluetooth to detect nearby devices and share files. This allows AirDropping without needing WiFi or cellular connectivity.

This makes it perfect for quickly sharing in areas without internet access. Situations where Proximity Sharing will be useful include:

  • Sharing photos or videos at events where the WiFi is congested.
  • Quickly sending someone a file in a location without WiFi or cell service.
  • Transferring documents in an airplane, subway, or other places without connectivity.
  • Fast sharing at off-grid gatherings or locations with no networking infrastructure.

Proximity Sharing will change the way people interact and share in areas where internet access is limited. It removes the connectivity barrier for last-minute, proximity-based file sharing.

The feature works between any iPhone 11, iPad Pro 2nd gen or later, or Mac introduced in 2020 or later. Both devices need to have iOS 17, iPadOS 17, or macOS 13 or newer.

More Intuitive Interface

Besides the major new features, iOS 17 also introduces subtle interface tweaks to streamline the AirDrop experience.

When you open the AirDrop sharing menu, you’ll notice a redesigned visual interface:

  • Profile icons are bigger to clearly differentiate nearby recipients.
  • A new radial interface surfaces frequent and recent contacts.
  • Color-coding helps distinguish favorite and new recipients.

These small changes allow you to find and select the right AirDrop recipients much faster. The improved signal-to-noise ratio makes the sharing process more intuitive.


The AirDrop enhancements introduced in iOS 17 make a huge leap forward for proximity-based file sharing. NameDrop, SharePlay, and Proximity Sharing create new ways to exchange data that weren’t possible before.

The interface updates also bring needed refinements to simplify sharing. Overall, these updates position AirDrop as an even more essential part of the Apple ecosystem. They make the magic of wireless iOS file sharing even more seamless.

AirDrop has defined local data sharing between Apple devices since its introduction. The iOS 17 updates build on that foundation and expand what’s possible through AirDrop. These capabilities will quickly become integral to the daily workflow of millions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What devices are compatible with the new AirDrop features?

NameDrop requires an iPhone 14 model or later running iOS 17. SharePlay AirDrop works on iPhone 8 and later with iOS 17. Proximity Sharing requires iPhone 11 or later, or Macs and iPads from 2020 onward, with the latest OS versions.

Does NameDrop work on older iPhones without NFC?

No, NameDrop uses NFC technology which is only available on iPhone 14 models. Older iPhones don’t have the required hardware for NameDrop.

Can I AirDrop from iPhone to Mac?

Yes, you can AirDrop between a Mac and iPhone if both devices are on the same Apple ID and nearby each other. The Mac needs to be a 2020 model or later.

Does SharePlay require everyone be on FaceTime?

Yes, SharePlay AirDrop only works when all participants are on an active FaceTime call together. All users must be running iOS 17.

How is Proximity Sharing different from regular AirDrop?

Proximity Sharing uses Bluetooth only, so it works without WiFi or cellular. Regular AirDrop requires either WiFi or cellular connectivity between the devices.

Does AirDropping drain my phone’s battery?

AirDropping small files doesn’t consume much battery power. But sharing large files via AirDrop can drain the battery faster, as it uses WiFi, Bluetooth, and more processing power.

Key Takeaways

  • NameDrop allows easy contact sharing by bringing iPhones together.
  • SharePlay enables AirDropping files during a FaceTime call.
  • Proximity Sharing allows AirDropping without internet connectivity.
  • Refinements to the interface improve the AirDrop user experience.
  • iOS 17 AirDrop enhancements facilitate faster and more advanced wireless sharing.

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