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Where Do AirDrop Files Go On iPhone And Mac? [Answered]

When you start using AirDrop for the first time, it looks like a great feature to share your files on Mac and iOS devices. Apple has also done an exceptional job in allowing users to transfer their data wirelessly.

Earlier, we used to have external Hard Drives and USBs to do this job, but things have changed in recent years. Now, we don’t have to carry those big disks everywhere.

You can simply select the files and share them with preferred Apple device using AirDrop feature.

But if you’re new to these functionalities, you might want to know the location of downloaded files.

So, where do AirDrop files go?

Since AirDrop doesn’t ask you about where you want to save the files on iOS and Mac devices, it becomes difficult to locate specific files with different extensions.

Anyway, let’s find out how AirDrop saves files on iOS and Mac so that you don’t have to look into several files and folders next time.

Mac OS Platform –

When you send files to Mac OS from iPhone or Mac, all these files will be downloaded and stored inside ‘Downloads’ folder.

Try using this functionality once from your device to confirm the download location.

You may also use the Finder app or several useful filtering options in Downloads folder to find the appropriate file in no time.

iOS Platform –

Although the process of sending files to iOS devices over AirDrop is almost the same, there is a little difference in the later part of the process i.e. downloads’ location.

iOS is an entirely different operating system. It doesn’t display files and folders in Mac OS style, so it becomes difficult to find them especially when you’re dealing with large no. of photos or videos.

So, where does AirDrop save files on iOS devices?

Well, it uses a different technique to make your files available on individual apps.

For eg., Photos airdropped from Mac OS or other devices will be saved in Photos app of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Sounds confusing? Here’s a quick breakdown of how you should find the airdropped files on your devices –

  • Photos – Check the Photos app
  • Videos – Check the Videos app
  • Website Links – Check the Safari browser and find these links in ‘Reading List’
  • eBooks – Check the iBooks app
  • Notes – Check the Notes app
  • Calendar Data or Special Events – Check the Calendar app
  • Locations – Check the Maps app

Simple, isn’t it? Now, follow the same strategy to locate different AirDrop files.

For unidentified file formats, you will have these two options –

  • Download and install the supported app.
  • Save the file to iCloud Drive.

As you can see above, iPhone doesn’t support ZIP format on any of its preinstalled apps. You’ll have to download a compatible app from App Store so that these files can be downloaded and opened on the phone.

And if you choose iCloud Drive location to save the AirDrop file, it will be safely stored on their servers.

Note – This rule applies to all other unsupported file formats i.e. you can only use your iCloud Drive to save such files.

AirDrop Photos Not Found

Many users have been complaining about their missing airdropped photos from iPhone, though the feature shows a successful transfer of files.

Tip 1:

To address this issue, you will have to perform the following steps –

  1. Check if there is any date or year on the photos that you’ve just sent from iOS or Mac OS device.
  2. Open the ‘Photos’ app on iPhone and search for your photos as per the month/year.

Sometimes, the iOS system automatically saves backdated files according to their respective month and year data. So, please check those files accordingly.

Tip 2:

Send files in smaller sizes and numbers. That’s right!

It’s always easy to manage and track fewer files when you batch process them. And in case some photos go missing from Photos Library, you can airdrop them again.

Folder Not Found

The ‘Folder Not Found’ is another much talked about issue on the internet.

Many users send their Mac folders on iOS devices through AirDrop feature. Well, there is nothing wrong in it. You can share as many folders as you want on iOS devices.

However, these folders won’t be detected by iOS platform and will be stored on iCloud Drive as per your instructions.

If you’re thinking of opening and viewing content from such folders, there is no official way to do it. Hence, your folders’ content will remain in stealth mode without giving any access to you.

Things to know –

  • iOS file system can only open files that are associated with certain apps.
  • MP3 files can’t open in Music Player automatically. You will have to sync them via iTunes. Don’t use AirDrop to transfer such files.
  • If you don’t accept any suggested apps while airdropping them on iOS, the file transfer will not take place at all.
  • Spotlight feature won’t help much in searching lost/missing files.

Anyway, there are some limitations to AirDrop and iOS/Mac OS system at the moment. Let’s hope and wait for Apple team to resolve some of these issues in their next updates.

Have you managed to find your airdropped files? Do let us know in the comments below.

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