How to Use AirDrop Over Ethernet & With Unsupported Macs

This handy tip’s been around since OS X Lion, but it may be worth repeating.

AirDrop lets you easily share files between Macs and iOS devices, but some older Macs are locked out of this handy zero-config file-sharing tool.

Not only this, but if you want to use Ethernet rather than your Wi-Fi network to share your files, you’re out of luck.

But not with this tip

Fortunately, you can extend AirDrop support to older Macs (running Lion or later) and for use over an Ethernet connection with a few lines of code in OS X’s Terminal app.

(You may need to run this Terminal script on all the Macs you want to enable for the feature, including those that already support it).

  • Launch Terminal
  • Type:
defaults write BrowseAllInterfaces 1
  • Type Return
  • Now type the following in Terminal:
Killall Finder
  • Quit Terminal and you’ll find the AirDrop icon in a Finder window

From now on it will be possible to use AirDrop to share files with other Macs on your network over Ethernet, including older Macs.  (So long as they run OS X Lion or later).

NB: To disable this, launch Terminal, type the following and reboot the Mac:

defaults write BrowseAllInterfaces 0

I confess I’m a little uncertain this works across every combination of OS X/macOS systems, as I’ve not been able to test them all, so please let us know if you have problems with this in comments below.

Source: Macworld

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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1 Response

  1. DEE says:

    Works on my 2008 & 2010 iMacs and 2008 MacPro. Thanks!

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