How to fix AirDrop that is not working on Apple iPhone XR [Troubleshooting Guide]

Many people are now opting for wireless file sharing. Aside from the cloud, there are also other more ways to share files wirelessly among smart devices. If you own an Apple device, then you can make use of Apple’s extremely cool and useful feature called AirDrop. With AirDrop, you can transfer almost anything that you can share from your iPad or iPhone to other devices.

You can AirDrop text from Notes to your friend’s iOS device, AirDrop anything from a playlist to a location you’ve pinned in Apple Maps or even share your contact information to someone. AirDrop works by means of Bluetooth technology to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between devices.

For security purposes, a firewall is created by each device around the connection and the files are sent encrypted. Like Bluetooth feature in iOS, AirDrop will automatically detect nearby supported devices. The devices should also be close enough to establish a good Wi-Fi connection and share files across several devices without bumping into connection issues. Indeed it’s a cool feature to use on an iPhone. In case you run into some problems with AirDrop, I’ve mapped some potential solutions below.

Before anything else, if you have other issues with your device, try to browse through our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed several issues with this device. Odds are that we’ve already published a post that tackles similar problems. Try finding issues that have similar symptoms with what you currently have and feel free to use the solutions we’ve suggested. If they don’t work for you or if you still need our help, then fill up our questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

How to troubleshoot AirDrop that’s not working on iPhone XR

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that AirDrop is properly set up and enabled on your iPhone XR. The fastest way to check is through the control center. So open the Control Center to access the AirDrop settings. From the Control Center, tap the AirDrop icon to enable the feature, if needed. You can choose from three discoverable settings including ON, OFF, and Contacts Only (default). If you opt to use the default or Contacts Only, only people in your contacts list will be allowed to send you an AirDrop request.

Also make sure that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled. AirDrop relies on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It uses Bluetooth to detect devices within a 30-feet range and Wi-Fi to perform the actual data transfer. Thus, AirDrop will not function if either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is not enabled. AirDrop devices must also be turned on and not on sleep mode. This means that the display is active.

Read on to learn what to else to try if you can’t get AirDrop to work properly on your new iPhone XR handset.

First solution: Soft reset.

The simplest possible solution to minor software errors and glitches including those affecting wireless functions of an iPhone is a soft reset or device restart. It effectively fixes rogue apps, data corruption, and other software-related issues that are suddenly emerging on your phone. Performing a soft reset on iOS devices is also a way of clearing memory cache and corrupted files from the internal memory without affecting any critical data saved on the internal storage. If you haven’t already, then you should consider performing a soft reset as your first workaround. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears.
  3. Drag the power off slider to the right.
  4. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power button or Side button again until the phone reboots.

Allow your device to boot up completely then retry sharing files via AirDrop and see if it works now.

Second solution: Airplane Mode trick.

This old trick is also proven to work wonders when dealing with minor issues affecting an iPhone’s wireless functions. It works by giving a quick restart and refresh to wireless radios and features including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode, then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode ON. Doing so disables wireless radios of your iPhone.
  3. While Airplane mode is turned on, restart (soft reset) your iPhone XR.
  4. Then head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again.

Wait for your iPhone to re-establish Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, then retry using AirDrop to see if the problem is fixed.

Also check and ensure that Do Not Disturb is disabled on your iPhone and AirDrop devices. Do Not Disturb may disable AirDrop notifications from being delivered. As a result, you won’t be able to see or respond to any AirDrop request. Your device can also become undiscoverable but you still send information through AirDrop.

To access and manage Do Not Disturb settings on your iPhone XR, bring up the Control Center then tap the Do Not Disturb icon (quarter moon/crescent) to turn the feature OFF, if necessary.

Then try to send files via AirDrop and see if it’s already working as intended.

Third solution: Sign out and back into iCloud.

AirDrop problems can also be associated to random account issues particularly iCloud. To rule this out, try signing out of your iCloud account and then sign in again. Many people have found wonders from doing this trick so you may as well consider this an option. Here’s how it works:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap iCloud.
  3. Select the option to Sign out.
  4. After successfully signing out of iCloud, reboot/soft reset your iPhone XR.
  5. Then go back to Settings-> iCloud menu.
  6. Select the option to Sign In to iCloud again.

After signing back into your iCloud account, retry sharing files from your iPhone XR to any other compatible device nearby through AirDrop. If the file sharing is successful, then the problem is solved. If it’s not, then you need to further troubleshoot your device.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings.

Network-related errors are also among the things to rule out when dealing with AirDrop problems on an iPhone. Generally, random network issues are dealt with by performing a network reset on the phone. It works by clearing all network configurations and relevant settings including Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, APNs, and the like. Any errors associated with invalid network options and incorrect network configurations will likewise be removed. To reset network settings on your iPhone XR, simply refer to these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Your iPhone will restart by itself when the reset is finished and then loads the default network configurations. This means you need to enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, and other features that are disabled by default so that you can use them again on your device.

Fifth solution: Update iPhone software to the latest version.

Installing new updates like the latest version of iOS available for your iPhone XR can also help fix the problem if system bugs are to blame. Software updates typically contains fix patches to get rid of existing bugs and system errors. If you can connect to Wi-Fi internet on your iPhone XR, then follow these steps to check for new OTA updates:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap on Software Update.

If an update is available, you will see a notification containing the key details of the update along with the options to download and install. Before updating though, back up all critical files from your iPhone to iCloud for safekeeping. Also ensure that your device has ample of storage space and battery life to avoid any further interruptions. Then follow the onscreen instructions to commence iOS update download and installation.

Restart/soft reset your iPhone XR after installing new update to refresh its memory and to ensure all new system changes are properly implemented.

Seek more help

Contact Apple Support or your device carrier to report the problem if it persists after applying the previous solutions. There may be some more advanced settings or options that need to be configured on your iPhone XR or AirDrop device to make AirDrop file transfer work as expected.

I hope that this how-to post has helped you one way or another. Please help us spread the word by sharing this post to your friends or people who may also have similar problems. Thanks for reading!


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