Getting Started with Mac OS X Lion: AirDrop

August 18, 2011, By Christian Cawley

At the current rate of discovery, we’ll probably be finding new features in Mac OS X Lion when Apple finally releases Mac OS XI, but few can possibly be as cool as AirDrop, a great additional tool that allows you to easily find computers that can accept wireless file transfers. Once discovered, it is a simple case of a quick drag-and-drop and the files will be quickly copied across!

Think of it as a sort of mix of Dropbox and DropCopy – AirDrop is available via the Finder and will connect to any compatible device within 30 feet. Naturally the recipient will have to accept the file, and once they do so it will be stored in the Downloads file.

You might expect that some configuration is required to make this service work, but you would be quite wrong!

Get Started with Mac OS X Lion: AirDrop

Getting Ready to AirDrop

Once you have connected your Mac to your wireless network, AirDrop will be automatically configured to work. This means that you don’t have to mess around with any configuration settings – everything is done for you, and you can make use of AirDrop whenever Wi-Fi is enabled.

To access this feature, open a Finder window in Mac OS X Lion – you will find AirDrop listed in the Favorites view. In a few moments, the AirDrop tool should have found and connected to other Macs in the area, and it will list them in the main pane.

These will be organized depending on how many nearby computers are running Mac OS X Lion.

Copying Files via AirDrop

With the nearby computers discovered, you should then be ready to share your files. This is best done by opening a second Finder window and navigating to the file you wish to share. All you need to do then is drag the file to one of the AirDrop destinations and confirm that you wish to share it.

This of course is the stage where you should be checking that the file you’re sending is the correct one – if it is, then click Send to proceed.

The recipient will then receive a message asking them to confirm that they want to receive it, and AirDrop will display a choice between Save, Decline or Save and Open. A successfully shared file will find its way into the Mac OS X Downloads folder.

Are There Any Risks to AirDrop?

Naturally you should be aware that accepting any file that is sent to your Mac could lead you into trouble. While there are a small number of threats that can cause problems on the OS X platform, these are growing with the expanding use of the platform. Being able to wirelessly (and to some extent anonymously) share documents between computers might seem like a great feature, but unless it is done responsibly you could end up with problems.

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