Can't Find AirDrop Files on iPhone: Troubleshooting and Solutions

AirDrop has become an essential feature for iPhone users when it comes to sharing files seamlessly and wirelessly. Whether you want to send photos, videos, documents, or even contacts, AirDrop offers a convenient way to transfer files between Apple devices with just a few taps. However, there are instances when you can't find AirDrop files on your iPhone, leaving you frustrated and clueless about where your shared files disappeared to. In this article, we will explore the common reasons behind this issue and provide proven solutions to help you locate your missing AirDrop files.

4 oct 2020

Understanding AirDrop

Before delving into troubleshooting, it's important to understand how AirDrop works and its significance in file sharing. AirDrop is a proprietary technology developed by Apple, allowing users to effortlessly share files between compatible Apple devices over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. This feature not only simplifies file sharing but also ensures secure and encrypted transfers, providing users with peace of mind.

AirDrop supports various file types, including photos, videos, documents, contacts, and more. With AirDrop, you can quickly send files to nearby devices without relying on internet connectivity or physical cables. It has become an integral part of daily life for iPhone users, whether they want to share memorable moments with family and friends or collaborate on projects with colleagues.

Common Reasons Why You Can't Find AirDrop Files on iPhone

Despite the convenience and reliability of AirDrop, there are situations when you can't find the files you received. Let's explore some common reasons behind this issue:

1. Wrong Destination

One possible reason for not finding AirDrop files on your iPhone could be selecting the wrong destination device while accepting the AirDrop transfer. Make sure to double-check the device name and confirm that you accepted the file on the desired device.

2. Hidden in Photos App

Sometimes, AirDrop files end up in the Photos app instead of the designated file storage location. This can lead to confusion when trying to locate the files. Therefore, it's worth checking the Photos app to see if the received files are there.

3. File Not Supported

Another reason you can't find AirDrop files on your iPhone is that the file you received is not supported by the device. For example, if you receive a file format that the iPhone cannot handle, it won't be visible in the respective app or folder.

4. Network Connectivity Issues

Inconsistent or unstable network connectivity can disrupt the AirDrop transfer process, resulting in missing files. Ensure that both the sending and receiving devices have a stable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection for successful file transfers.

5. Disabled AirDrop

If AirDrop is disabled on your iPhone, you won't be able to receive any files. Check the AirDrop settings on your device to ensure that it is enabled for both receiving and discovering.

6. Software or Firmware Issues

Occasionally, software or firmware issues can interfere with the AirDrop functionality, causing missing files. Keeping your iPhone's software up to date can help resolve any known bugs or issues that may affect AirDrop performance.

7. Storage Space Limitations

Insufficient storage space on your iPhone can prevent files from being saved, resulting in missing AirDrop files. Ensure that your device has enough available storage to accommodate the received files.

Proven Solutions for AirDrop Issues when You Can't Find Files

If you're unable to locate AirDrop files on your iPhone, don't panic. There are several proven solutions you can try to recover your missing files. Follow these step-by-step guidelines:

1. Check the Photos App

As mentioned earlier, AirDrop files may end up in the Photos app instead of the designated file storage location. Open the Photos app on your iPhone and navigate through the different albums to locate the received files.

2. Check the Files App

If you can't find your files in the Photos app, check the Files app, which serves as the central location for managing files on iOS devices. Launch the Files app and browse through the available folders to find the received files.

3. Verify File Compatibility

Sometimes, files received through AirDrop may not be compatible with your iPhone. Ensure that the received file format is supported by your device. If not, consider using third-party apps or software to view or convert the file to a compatible format.

4. Restart Your iPhone

A simple restart can solve various software-related issues. Restart your iPhone, and then check if the AirDrop files are visible in the Photos app or the Files app.

5. Enable AirDrop and Reconnect

If AirDrop is disabled, you won't receive any files. To enable AirDrop, swipe down or open the Control Center and long-press on the network settings card. Tap on AirDrop and select "Everyone" or "Contacts Only" to allow AirDrop file transfers. Then, reconnect your device to the sender's device and try receiving the file again.

6. Reset Network Settings

Network connectivity issues can disrupt the AirDrop transfer process. Resetting your network settings can help resolve any underlying network-related problems. To reset network settings, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Note that this will remove all saved Wi-Fi passwords, so make sure to have them handy for reconnection.

7. Update iOS Software

Keeping your iOS software up to date is crucial for optimal device performance and compatibility. Check for any available software updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update. If an update is available, download and install it on your iPhone to ensure that you have the latest bug fixes and improvements.

8. Free Up Storage Space

Insufficient storage space on your iPhone can prevent files from being saved, resulting in missing AirDrop files. Delete unnecessary files, apps, or media to free up storage space. You can also consider transferring files to cloud storage or external devices to create more room for incoming files.

Tips to Prevent AirDrop Files from Going Missing

While troubleshooting missing AirDrop files is helpful, it's better to prevent the issue altogether. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth AirDrop experience and minimize the chances of losing files:

  1. Enable AirDrop only when needed and disable it when not in use to avoid unauthorized file transfers.

  2. Double-check the destination device before accepting an AirDrop transfer to ensure that files are received on the intended device.

  3. Always keep your iPhone's software up to date to benefit from bug fixes and improvements related to AirDrop functionality.

  4. Maintain sufficient storage space on your iPhone by regularly deleting unnecessary files or moving them to external storage devices.

  5. When sharing large files, ensure that both the sending and receiving devices are connected to a stable Wi-Fi network to prevent interruptions during the transfer process.

Expert Advice for Dealing with Technical Issues on iPhone

Apart from troubleshooting AirDrop-specific issues, it's important to follow expert advice for maintaining your iPhone and preventing file loss. Here are some general tips:

  • Regularly back up your iPhone using iCloud or iTunes to safeguard your important files and data.

  • Install reputable security software and keep it up to date to protect your device from potential threats.

  • Secure your iPhone with a strong passcode or biometric authentication to prevent unauthorized access to your files.

  • Avoid downloading files from untrustworthy sources and be cautious while opening attachments in emails or messages.

  • If you encounter persistent technical issues or are unable to resolve the problem, consider seeking help from an authorized Apple service provider or contacting Apple Support.


AirDrop revolutionized the way we share files between Apple devices, providing a fast and effortless method without the need for cables or internet connectivity. However, sometimes you may encounter difficulties in locating AirDrop files on your iPhone. By understanding the possible reasons behind this issue and utilizing the proven solutions provided in this article, you can troubleshoot and resolve missing AirDrop file problems effectively.

AirDrop has become an indispensable tool for iOS users worldwide, enhancing productivity, collaboration, and sharing everyday moments. By following the suggestions and tips provided, you can maximize your AirDrop experience while minimizing the chances of losing files.

FAQs – Addressing Possible Queries

Q: Where can I find the AirDrop settings on my iPhone?

A: To access AirDrop settings on your iPhone, swipe down from the top-right corner (iPhone X or later) or up from the bottom of the screen (iPhone 8 or earlier) to open the Control Center. Long-press on the network settings card and tap on AirDrop. From here, you can adjust your AirDrop preferences.

Q: Are there any limitations on file size when using AirDrop?

A: AirDrop supports various file types and sizes, but there are certain limitations to keep in mind. For example, sending multiple files or large files may take longer to transfer. Additionally, if the destination device's storage is near capacity, it may not be able to accommodate large file transfers.

Q: Can I use AirDrop to transfer files between different Apple devices?

A: Yes, AirDrop allows you to transfer files between different Apple devices seamlessly. Whether you want to share files between iPhones, iPads, or Macs, AirDrop works across these devices as long as they are in proximity and connected to the same Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network.

Q: Are AirDrop transfers secure and private?

A: Yes, AirDrop transfers are secure and private. AirDrop uses encryption and authentication methods to ensure that only the intended recipient can access the received files. However, it's always advisable to exercise caution while accepting AirDrop transfers from unknown or untrusted sources.

Q: Can I transfer files between an iPhone and a non-Apple device using AirDrop?

A: Unfortunately, AirDrop is only available for Apple devices and cannot be used to transfer files between Apple devices and non-Apple devices. However, there are alternative methods such as email, messaging apps, or cloud storage services such as Slik Safe that can be utilized for cross-platform file transfers.

Latest articles

Latest articles

Browse all articles

Subscribe Now

Subscribe Now

Subscribe now to get the latest updates from Slik Safe

Subscribe now to get the latest updates from Slik Safe

Blazing Fast Search for your Files

Blazing Fast Search for your Files

Blazing Fast Search for your Files

Search any file in <100ms while your data is securely stored with end-to-end encryption

Search any file in <100ms while your data is securely stored with end-to-end encryption

Download Now