AirDrop on iPhone FINALLY
We’ve all probably been in a situation where you captured a great picture/video with your iPhone, and someone with you asks you to send it to them. Maybe you caught the baby’s first smile or the game winning score. The fact remains that you have something to share. Up until now, you had to go about using some kind of “clunky” method. The popular ways of sharing include email, SMS text message, or a photo sharing site such as Flickr. It’s not really a big hassle to text it or email it but what happens when you don’t have the person’s email or phone number? Then you have to ask for their phone number or email (which you’ll probably mistype). You also might not want them to have your number or email. Pretty soon they’ll start sending you those emails with videos of cats playing the piano.
Apple has included a long overdue feature in iOS7. AirDrop allows you to use your Bluetooth combined with Wi-Fi to send certain files over the air to those around you. It’s already been on Mac for a while. As of right now, Apple’s website says you can send photos, video, websites, locations, contacts, and more. These options will likely expand over time. We’ve tested this out and it’s very easy to use. Particularly, we want to see how much distance you can put between yourself and the other person.
First, open up the new Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. You see a label for Airdrop, and once you tap that, you’ll see this.
This is an option you should pay attention to. Selecting everyone is fine for when you want to quickly share something with someone you don’t have in your phone already. However, if you leave this on, you could soon be getting offers from strangers on the bus to send you pictures. It makes you discoverable to anyone around you, but they can never access your phone or send things without you approving. It’s good practice to not walk around with the “Everyone” setting on.
Next, you can choose who and what to AirDrop . There will be little circles with pictures (if they have one) and names. As you can see, you must accept the file before it transfers. That’s it, the file has been shared.
So how far away can you be from someone with AirDrop? On Apple’s website description of iOS 7 features, it says that AirDrop uses “WiFi and Bluetooth”. We thought we’d try to see if we can increase the transfer area by being on the same WiFi network which covers a wider area than Bluetooth. It turns out that being on a WiFi network is not necessary and doesn’t help. What actually happens is that Bluetooth is turned on to scan for people around you to connect with. Once a person is chosen to AirDrop to, an ad-hoc WiFi network takes over. This means that the phone sets up a WiFi connection on the fly with the other person, which allows for a much faster transfer rate than Bluetooth. However, it also means that you will be limited to the coverage area of Bluetooth. Generally speaking, this is about 30 feet. Different factors will affect this, such as how many and the size of objects around you. We found the 30 feet to be about right.
Unfortunately, you can’t AirDrop between Mac and iOS at this point. However, this is definitely a step forward in the software area for iOS. It should have been added a while ago, but it’s welcomed now. If you haven’t checked it out, make sure you have iOS 7 and start sharing some files.
By Matt Plotner, Test Engineer – Olenick & Associates, Chicago
Credit: All images from Apple.com