Wednesday, 29 May 2024

7 Best Ways to Share Files Between iPhone, iPad and Mac

Living in a multi-gadget world means constantly moving between devices and having files scattered among them. There are times when you need certain files that exist on a different device. Fortunately, if you are part of the Apple ecosystem, there are several seamless ways to move files between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.


The first option you should try is Apple’s native solution for inter-device file transfer: AirDrop. The concept behind AirDrop is simple – sharing files between nearby devices should be as easy as dragging and dropping files to the people/devices on the AirDrop list.

To use AirDrop, make sure both devices support it. On your Mac, switch to Finder and open the Go menu. You will find the AirDrop (Command + Shift + R) option on supported devices. On your iOS devices, slide up to open the Control Center. The AirDrop icon will appear if your device supports it.

Move Files -bb- Finder Go

Please note that AirDrop is limited by your hardware model. Older Macs prior to 2012 might not be able to use AirDrop even though the software supports it. To send items from a Mac, drag and drop the files to one of the people/devices shown in the AirDrop window. On iOS devices, use the Share option to send files and choose your destination.

Move Files -bb- choose destination mac


Handoff is part of Apple’s Continuity feature, connecting all devices in the Apple ecosystem. Handoff allows you to work on a document, email, or message on one device and continue the work on another. Handoff works with Apple apps like Mail, Safari, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and some third-party apps.

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To use Handoff, all compatible devices must connect to the same WiFi network and have Bluetooth turned on. You can see if there’s work you can continue from another device by looking at the little Handoff logo on the app’s icon. Handoff is not exactly for moving files between Mac and iOS devices, but if your goal is to continue working on a file, then Handoff can be useful.

iTunes File Sharing

Another native way to share files between Mac and iOS is to use iTunes File Sharing. This method may be less convenient because it requires connecting the iOS device to the Mac using a cable. However, it is faster and more stable than wireless connections.

To use iTunes File Sharing, open iTunes and connect the iOS device using the cable that comes with it. Choose the connected device from the device list, select Apps from the sidebar, and scroll to the bottom of the main pane. Here, you can see all the compatible file-sharing apps and add or download files to your Mac’s local hard drive.

Moving Files -bb- iTunes File Sharing

Emails, Messages, and other IMs

If you’re looking for a less cutting-edge method, you can use emails to move files between devices. Attach the files to an email that you send to yourself from one device and download the attachments on another device. Alternatively, you can use Apple’s Messages or other Instant Messengers like WhatsApp and Telegram to send files to yourself. Modern IMs have evolved to become advanced messaging systems capable of sending various types of files.

Move Files -bb- Telegram

However, there are limitations to using IMs for file transfer. Most IMs limit the feature to media files like images, sounds, and videos. Additionally, file sizes are usually limited to under 100 MB.

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Team Communication Apps

Team communication systems like Slack, Quip, and Hipchat are considered the next evolution of communication methods. These services integrate other services into their platforms, allowing for customized and enhanced capabilities based on users’ needs. For example, you can easily integrate Dropbox to distribute files to team members, sharing links with a single upload click.

This setting is perfect for moving files between Mac and iPhone. You can send files using one of these team communication apps on your Mac and open them using the same app on iPhone, iPad, another Mac, or even other devices with different operating systems, as these apps work on multiple platforms.

Move files -bb- slack

Sharing Apps

There are also apps specifically built to bridge the gap between Macs and iOS devices. These sharing apps allow you to move files between devices by connecting them to the same WiFi/Bluetooth network. Users receive a local URL, open it in a browser, and use it to drag and drop files between the connected devices.

Examples of these apps include DeskConnect and Scribe. Both apps require installation on each device you want to connect. DeskConnect does not require devices to have a direct connection to the same network, and it works even if the devices are far apart. Scribe uses Bluetooth LE technology to connect devices, ensuring fast and low-power consumption connections. Check if your devices support this technology before using Scribe.

Move files -bb- Desk Connect

Cloud Storage Services

Cloud storage services are a well-known concept. Storing and sharing files on remote servers has become familiar to most people who use digital technology. To move files between devices using cloud storage, you simply store the files in the cloud on one device and download them on the other device(s).

While Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive are popular cloud storage options, Droplr is a service that offers a quick way to share files. Droplr allows you to drop files into the menubar, generating a shareable link. The free version keeps the files for a limited time, which can be useful for controlled distribution.

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Move Files -bb- Droplr

So, what’s your favorite way to move files between Mac and iOS devices? Share your opinion in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is AirDrop?
    AirDrop is Apple’s native solution for inter-device file transfer, allowing you to easily share files between nearby devices.

  2. How does Handoff work?
    Handoff is a feature that allows you to work on a document, email, or message on one device and continue the work on another device. It works with various Apple apps and some third-party apps.

  3. Can I use iTunes File Sharing to transfer files between Mac and iOS devices?
    Yes, iTunes File Sharing allows you to share files between Mac and iOS devices by connecting the iOS device to the Mac using a cable.

  4. What are some team communication apps I can use to share files between Mac and iPhone?
    Slack, Quip, and Hipchat are examples of team communication apps that offer the ability to share files between devices.

  5. Are there any apps specifically built for sharing files between Macs and iOS devices?
    Yes, apps like DeskConnect and Scribe are designed to bridge the gap between Macs and iOS devices, allowing users to share files easily.

  6. Can I use cloud storage services to move files between devices?
    Yes, cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive allow you to store and share files between devices.


With the multitude of options available, sharing files between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac has never been easier. Whether you prefer using native solutions like AirDrop and Handoff, or relying on third-party apps and cloud storage services, you can find the perfect method to suit your needs. Experiment with different approaches and find your favorite way to move files seamlessly between your devices.