Troubleshoot: AirDrop Not Receiving – Why Won’t AirDrop Work

AirDrop not receiving, how to troubleshoot? This article provides several solutions to this question and discusses why won’t AirDrop work.


By Lora / Updated on May 31, 2024

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“Why can't I receive airdrop?”

AirDrop is a wireless transfer service developed by Apple. Requiring a close-range distance, Bluetooth, WiFi network, it allows iOS and macOS users to transfer files among devices in 30 feet.


Though it has been regarded as a fairly stable and useful transfer utility among apple users, failure and errors occur from time to time.


Airdrop not working for receiving


My phone doesn't show up on other people's phones. I can send airdrops but I can't receive them. I have an iPhone 6S.


- Question from Apple Community


Some users are complaining about AirDrop not receiving, and are eager to know why won’t airdrop work.

When attempting to dig out the reason why AirDrop doesn’t work, we can find out these culprits.

♦ Poor network connection. AirDrop requires a WiFi network and Bluetooth to build temporary communication. When the network doesn’t work in good condition, you will probably meet the “AirDrop not received” error.

♦ Incompatibility. AirDrop only works on iOS 7 and later, macOS X Lion and later. If your iOS or macOS is lower than its requirements, then you cannot use it correctly.

♦ Incorrect settings. AirDrop settings, like Contacts Only, Personal Hotspot, etc., can influence its performance.

With a basic impression of the causes of the AirDrop not working issue, now we could move on to the solution part.

How to fix AirDrop not receiving?

When encountering an AirDrop not received issue, check these solutions to troubleshoot Airdrop.

First, make sure both the sender and the receiver have enabled AirDrop. Go to Settings > General > AirDrop > toggle Everyone.


Because the AirDrop will be set to accept files from Contacts Only by default, if you notice that AirDrop not receiving stuff, perhaps the sender isn’t in your contacts.

If the basic settings are alright, then check these fixes.

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Solution 1. Check if your iPhone is running low storage

Some users may find they can send files through AirDrop to others, but cannot receive files from other devices. If you are one of them, please, firstly, see if there is still enough storage space for accepting new data.


Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > check the storage space.

You cannot add more items to your iPhone when it is running low storage.

To settle this, you could free up some space to solve the iPhone storage full problem. 

Solution 2. Disable Personal Hotspot

For those who keep wondering why won’t AirDrop work, perhaps they should check whether they have enabled the Personal Hotspot.

AirDrop needs both WiFi and Bluetooth to be enabled to build a connection between devices. Meanwhile, the Personal Hotspot has to be turned off.

Both the sender and the receiver need to follow these steps.

  • Go to Settings > WLAN > connect to a stable network;
  • Then head over to Bluetooth to switch it on;
  • At last, go to Personal Hotspot > turn it off.


Solution 3. Reset the network settings

Since the AirDrop relies on the WiFi network to work, most of the time, the reason why AirDrop doesn’t work has something to do with the network condition.

At this time, resetting the network settings is a good fix. Go to Settings > General > Transfer and Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings.


Don’t worry, it will never wipe your precious data, like photos, videos, messages, etc., but just refresh the network and its settings. After that, reconnect to the WiFi you were using and try again.

Solution 4. Restart your iPhone

When any slight errors or failures occur, restarting will be a good idea. Though it may not be that helpful, it is worth trying. Follow the instructions here.

Hold the Assistive Touch (if you have enabled it) > Restart > wait for the Apple logo to show up. Or,

Long press the On/Off button to power off > hold the button again until you see the Apple logo.

Solution 5. Keep your iPhone up to date

Every year Apple releases an update to fix existing errors and bring multiple improvements. AirDrop may malfunction on a device with old software.

Therefore, if you are not using the latest iOS software, there is a chance that the “AirDrop not receiving” issue occurs. So, it is recommended to keep your iPhone up to date.

It is notable that, updating software can bring some errors as well. Plenty of users have complained about iOS update issues, like the iPhone screen not working, iPhone notes disappearing after updates, etc.

Thus, we suggest you back up your iPhone first to avoid any data loss, then update it.

When it comes to iPhone data backup software, the best choice for users will be Fonetool. It is a backup & transfer tool that stores and protects user data firmly.

Also, it allows users to back up data both fully and flexibly with its features “Photos Backup”, “Custom Backup”, “Full Backup”, etc.

Here the feature “Full Backup” is preferable because it can prevent you from losing any data. Now please install Fonetool to start backing up iPhone.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
When asked “Trust This Computer?”, please tap “Trust” on your iPhone.

Step 1. Run Fonetool > connect iPhone to PC > Phone BackupFull Backup.


Step 2. Choose Get Started.


Step 3. Choose a path you prefer to store the backup file > click Start Backup. Enable Backup Encryption to cover the private data.


Step 4. Then you could update the iOS software without any worries of data loss. Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Download and Install.

After that, check if the issue “AirDrop not received” has been solved yet.

Solution 6. Turn to a free AirDrop alternative - Fonetool

If all these fixes cannot help you out, don’t be frustrated, you could turn to a free alternative instead.

Fonetool app, a free & fast data transfer app for iOS devices, can transfer data from iPhone to iPhone without WiFi and cellular data. All users can selectively choose types of data to transfer to others, as well as send files to others in batch.

Don’t hesitate to scan the QR code to install this useful app!


It supports iOS 10.1 and later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Step 1. Run Fonetool  app on both devices > find your friends in Connect Device.

Step 2. Head over to File Transfer > select the files you need to send > click Send to transfer.


Thus you could send files to each other with your friends and won’t be bothered by the AirDrop not receiving issue.

Questions about AirDrop

In this article, all users can get a detailed guide to solve the issue “AirDrop not receiving”. To get more info about AirDrop issues, check these questions and answers.

♦ Why does AirDrop on iPhone say waiting? It stuck on waiting.

Software glitches, update errors, incorrect settings, etc., multiple factors can influence AirDrop performance.

  • Try to turn on the AirDrop restriction;
  •  Check if you have set the wrong settings;
  • Reset the network settings;
  • Restart your iPhone, etc.

Get more solutions in the tutorial and see if the AirDrop stuck on waiting has been fixed.

♦ Why does AirDrop allow me to be discovered by not showing on Mac?

Mac users can run into failures like “Allow me to be discovered by” not showing when using AirDrop. In general, it has something to do with the network conditions, Bluetooth, macOS software, etc.

  • You could try to restart the Mac;
  • Use iCloud by logging in to an iCloud account on both the Mac and iPhone;
  • Disable Do Not Disturb;
  • Restart WiFi and Bluetooth, etc.

Refer to the AirDrop Allow me to be discovered by not showing troubleshooting tutorial to get help.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.