Why Is AirDrop So Slow? A Comprehensive Look at File Transfer Speeds

Ever wondered why is airdrop so slow when you are in the middle of transferring files between two devices?

AirDrop has become one of the most popular and convenient ways to transfer files between iOS and macOS devices seamlessly. Despite its widespread use and positive reputation, some users have reported experiencing slow file transfer speeds when using AirDrop. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the slow transfer speeds and discuss potential solutions to optimize the performance of file sharing via AirDrop.

Why Does Airdrop Transfer Files So Slow Than Usual?

Large files are a common source of customer frustration with AirDrop’s transfer speeds. It can take a long time for a transfer to finish if the files to be transferred are too large.

Delays can also be caused by subpar wireless network performance, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Both the sender and the recipient must have a reliable and speedy internet connection for the fastest possible file transfer times.

Transferring files through AirDrop does not consume any cellular data. In order to safely exchange information, they pair over a peer-to-peer connection on an active Wi-Fi network.

When sharing files, AirDrop doesn’t consume your mobile data plan. It establishes a wireless link between the sending and receiving devices using peer-to-peer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Because of this, AirDrop can be used even if there is no Internet connection.

AirDrop’s encrypted connection and transmission protects the privacy and security of any files exchanged between devices[6]. Wi-Fi signal strength and file size are two factors that can affect the transfer rate.

Overall, AirDrop is an easy and safe way to share files between Apple devices without using any cellular data.

Slow Transfer Speeds: A Common Concern

One of the main reasons why users have complained about slow file transfer speeds with AirDrop is the large file size. When transferring files that are too big, it can take a considerable amount of time for the transfer to complete. Additionally, slow Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection speeds can contribute to the delay. It is important to note that both the sender and receiver need a stable and fast internet connection for optimal file transfer speeds.

Understanding How AirDrop Works:

Before diving into the reasons behind slow transfer speeds, let’s briefly explore how AirDrop works. AirDrop utilizes a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies to establish a peer-to-peer connection between two compatible devices. The transfer happens over a direct Wi-Fi connection, which doesn’t require an internet connection. This direct connection ensures fast and secure file transfers between iOS and macOS devices.

Comparing AirDroid and AirDrop

  • AirDroid is a popular alternative for Android users, offering similar file sharing capabilities to AirDrop on iOS devices. However, it relies on different technologies and protocols, which may result in varying transfer speeds.
  • AirDrop, on the other hand, is specifically designed for iOS and macOS devices, ensuring optimized performance.

Compatibility and Transfer Limitations:

  • AirDrop allows file transfers between iOS devices, as well as between iOS and macOS devices. However, it is not supported on Android devices, limiting its use for cross-platform transfers.
  • Users attempting to transfer files between an iPhone and a Samsung smartphone, for example, may encounter compatibility issues, resulting in slower transfer speeds.

Alternative File Transfer Methods:

  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth file transfers are generally slower compared to AirDrop due to the limit of the Bluetooth protocol.
  • Web-based File Sharing: Services such as Snapdrop offer web-based file sharing, allowing users to transfer files between devices using a web browser. However, compared to AirDrop, these methods often have limitations in terms of file size and can be more complex to set up.

Utilizing Nearby and Other Android Features:

  • Android devices offer a feature called “Nearby” which enables file sharing between compatible devices using a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. However, this method may not be as seamless and fast as AirDrop.
  • Users looking for alternatives to AirDrop on non-Apple devices may find that the transfer speeds are not as efficient as expected, especially when dealing with larger files.

Third-Party Apps and Software:

  • Some third-party apps, like Tenorshare iTransGo, offer file transfer solutions across various platforms. However, it is important to consider the privacy and security aspects of using such applications.
  • While these apps may provide additional features and compatibility, they may not be as tightly integrated and optimized as AirDrop, potentially leading to slower transfer speeds.

Optimizing AirDrop Performance:

To enhance the AirDrop performance and avoid slow file transfer speeds, consider the following tips:

Use a Strong Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Connection:

  • Ensure that both the sender and receiver have a stable and fast internet connection to maximize transfer speeds.
  • If using Bluetooth, make sure the devices are within close proximity to strengthen the connection.

Reduce File Size:

  • Compress or resize large files before transferring them through AirDrop. This can significantly improve transfer speeds.

Enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth:

  • Make sure that both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on and ready to establish a direct connection between devices for faster data transfer.

Keep Devices Updated:

  • Regularly update the iOS or macOS devices to benefit from the latest software optimizations and improvements, which may enhance AirDrop functionality and performance.

Adjust AirDrop Visibility Settings:

  • AirDrop offers three visibility options: “Off,” “Contacts Only,” and “Everyone.” Limiting visibility to “Contacts Only” can potentially improve transfer speeds by reducing interference from nearby devices.


AirDrop, while generally a reliable and efficient file-sharing method, can sometimes be slow when transferring large files or due to connectivity issues. By optimizing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, reducing file sizes, and making sure devices are up-to-date, users can enhance the performance and speed of AirDrop.

Exploring alternative file transfer methods may also be beneficial in certain situations. However, it is important to consider compatibility limitations and the security of third-party applications. With the right approach, users can enjoy the convenience and efficiency of AirDrop while minimizing any potential slowdowns.