Where Do Airdrop Files Go on iPhone?

AirDrop files sent to your iPhone will go to the app that corresponds with their file type, however, some may give you options for the app you use to open it with. If your phone is struggling to properly receive AirDrops at all, there are some fixes to try.

Using the AirDrop feature is a quick way to send and receive files to/from anyone nearby with an Apple device, including friends, family, and coworkers. I have used them to share family photos, notes, to-do lists, and more. It takes seconds and is a very simple feature to use.

But where do these AirDrop files go once you receive them on your device? Keep reading to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • When you are sent an AirDrop, it will go to the app that is associated with the file type. If a file type can be opened in multiple apps, the AirDrop popup may ask you which app you’d like to use in order to open the file.
  • Make sure that the AirDrop feature is turned on, or you won’t be able to send and receive files. Turning it on and adjusting it can be done in the Settings app.
  • If you are encountering problems with AirDrop, make sure to clear up some storage, try restarting your device, and make sure your phone is updated.

The Location Depends on the File Being Sent

In most cases, where an AirDropped file goes depends on what the file type is. For example, if your friend sends you a photo via AirDrop, once you accept it, you will be able to find it in your Photos app.

But if a coworker or your boss AirDrops you a to-do list from their Notes app, that will be found in your Notes app.

In some cases, files you are sent may be able to be used with different apps, so you may be given the option to open with the app of your choosing. Finding these files is as easy as navigating to the corresponding app you chose to open it with.

Things to Try if You are Experiencing Issues

If you are struggling to send or receive AirDrop files or photos at all, here are a few tips to help get to the bottom of the issue.

Make sure AirDrop is turned on

First of all, you need to make sure that the AirDrop feature is on in order to use it. To check, go to Settings > General > AirDrop.

There, you will see three different options:

  • Receiving Off means that you will not be able to be sent AirDrops at all.
  • Contacts Only means you can receive them from contacts, but not strangers.
  • Everyone for 10 Minutes means that you can get AirDrops from anyone, but this will only be for 10 minutes. 

This limit was likely added to prevent random strangers from sending unwanted AirDrops to other people around them all day.

Depending on your situation, make sure that either Contacts Only or Everyone for 10 Minutes is checked so you can properly receive the files you need.

Clear up some storage space

Depending on the size of the file you are receiving, being unable to get AirDropped delivered successfully could mean your phone is short on storage space. Some files, like videos or large documents, are bigger than you think.

As a result, if you want to accept a large file, make sure your device has the space for it beforehand.

Restart your device

If you are not able to accept AirDrops, and you have the necessary space and the feature turned on, one thing to try is to restart your iPhone. This can be done by pressing and holding down both the power button and the volume down button for a few seconds.

Once the power slider shows up, simply slide it to the right to shut down your device. After leaving it off for half a minute or so, you can turn it on by pressing and holding the power button on the right side of the phone for a few seconds.

The reason that restarting devices like phones and computers can often help deal with issues like this is because it clears out things like memory problems, background problems, and refreshes all the processes running behind the scenes. 

Restarting a device essentially lets it start from a fresh slate, which can instantly fix some strange issues that could be impacting your device. It won’t work for every problem, but only takes a few seconds and is definitely worth a try.

Ensure your iPhone is updated

In a similar vein to restarting your device, you can also make sure your phone is updated if you are struggling to use the AirDrop feature properly. New updates introduce a lot of bug and glitch fixes, and it could be one of these bugs that is hurting your ability to use AirDrops.

To update your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update. If you have an update, you will see information about the update, as well as an Install Now button. Simply click it and your device should begin to update to the newest version of iOS.

My iPhone shows it’s running the latest iOS, so there is no “Install Now” button

Final Thoughts

Airdropping is a great feature for quickly sharing files and information with those around you. Despite this, it can be a little confusing when trying to locate the files you have been sent.

I hope that this guide has helped you learn where AirDropped files go, how to find them, and what to do if you are struggling to receive AirDropped files.

Do you use the AirDrop feature? If so, what sorts of files do you normally find helpful for sending/receiving? Let me know in a comment below.

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