AirDrop – How to enable on OS X Mavericks via Ethernet

AirDrop – How to enable on OS X Mavericks via Ethernet


AirDrop IconAirDrop is an ad-hoc service in Apple Inc.’s OS X and iOS operating systems, introduced in Mac OS X Lion (aka OS X 10.9) and iOS 7 that enables users to transfer files to another supported Mac computer and iOS mobile device without using email or a mass storage device. OS X Mavericks (version 10.9) and iOS 7 use different AirDrop protocols and are currently not interoperable. AirDrop in OS X or earlier operates over Wi-Fi, whereas the iOS implementation utilizes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Once OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8 are released however, users will be able to AirDrop between their computer and mobile device. OS X Yosemite AirDrop, like iOS before it, now uses Bluetooth LE for discovery and direct Wi-Fi for transfer. That’s really the best of both worlds, as you get the low-energy savings of BT LE for the connection and the race-to-sleep efficiency of Wi-Fi for the transfer.

There is currently no size restriction to how large a file can be sent over AirDrop, Apple users have reported movie files over 10GB being sent over AirDrop without any problems. A restriction on AirDrop is that the two computers have to be within 10 meters of each other for AirDrop to recognize the other party. To date only a small number of applications implement the AirDrop facility.

Ethernet Support
Currently, OS X Mavericks doesn’t officially allow you using AirDrop in-between computers using ethernet, but at the Marriott Library an other campus locations we administrate we have implemented a modification that allows this support. Currently, this feature only works in computers in the same subnet, due to the use of Bonjour (aka Zeroconf or Multicast DNS).

Enabling AirDrop over Ethernet

To enable AirDrop to run on OS X Mavericks via ethernet you can use the following command:

This will create or modify the following plist file:

With the following content:

Network Browser Property List

How to Use it?

On OS X, to use AirDrop in Finder choose Go>AirDrop, or press Shift-Command-R

Finder - AirDrop

Or using click on the AirDrop option under “FAVORITES” in the sidebar.

Finder - Sidebar AirDrop

The person you are attempting to share content with should also enter the AirDrop screen.

In a few seconds the images and computer names of those nearby users running AirDrop will appear in the AirDrop window.

For example, here at the University of Utah, we have two OS X computers in the 1110 classroom at the Marriott Library…

AirDrop Example

Drag-&-drop the item you wish to share to the other person’s icon and click the “Send” button.

For example, a user on 1110mac-45 wants to share a file with a user on 1110mac-44.

AirDrop Example - 1110mac-44

That user must then accept the transaction and the data will be transferred to their “Downloads” folder.

For example, the user on 1110mac-44 clicks the “Save” or “Save and Open” button to receive the file. If they do not want to accept the file they can click the “Decline” button.

AirDrop Example - 1110mac-45

AirDrop Example - Share FIle Target Documents Folder

Close the window once you’ve transferred the data.

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