iOS 17: How to Use AirDrop Without Wi-Fi

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In iOS 17, Apple has enhanced iPhone AirDrop in many ways, and with the release of iOS 17.1, it’s about to getter, because you will no longer need to be in the same immediate location as someone to wirelessly transfer files to them over AirDrop.

Since its introduction in iOS 7, AirDrop has become the favored means for iPhone users to instantly share photos, videos, documents, and more to nearby Apple devices with relative ease. With the AirDrop screen open, if you’re near to another user with a supported Apple device, they will show up on your screen and you can share files with them.

Up until recently, AirDrop required you to stay within close proximity to the other person’s device for any transfer to complete. If you left AirDrop range, the transfer failed and the content wouldn’t be shared. This is particularly frustrating when you’re sending or receiving several large files like video content.

That’s set to change in iOS 17.1, currently in beta, which allows wireless AirDrop file transfers to continue over a cellular connection outside of AirDrop range, so long as both your ‌iPhone‌ and the recipient’s ‌iPhone‌ are signed in to an iCloud account.

With the new cellular data option enabled, you can continue to send and receive content via AirDrop over a cellular network when Wi-Fi is not available. This can prevent the file transfer from failing to send due to loss of Wi-Fi. Here’s how to make sure the new option is enabled on your device.

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Open Settings on your ‌iPhone‌ or iPad.

Tap General.

Tap AirDrop.

Under “Out of Range,” toggle on the switch next to Use Mobile/Cellular Data.

That’s all you need to do. iOS 17.1 is currently available in beta for developers and public beta testers. The software update is expected to be released in late October 2023. Check out our list of everything new in the first iOS 17.1 beta for more new features and changes.

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