How to Find AirDrop Files on iPhone: Where Do Airdropped Files Go?

If you’re wondering where to find AirDrop photos and files, read the post to know how to find AirDrop files on iPhone and the best AirDrop alternative for iPhone transfer when AirDrop transfer failed.


By Dylan / Updated on March 7, 2024

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User case: cannot locate airdropped files


I recently updated to the latest versions of my devices: iOS 13.5.1 on my iPad Pro and iOS 15 on my iPhone 11. Since updating, when I send a pdf file (as well as other types) from my iPad to my iPhone, I get a beep on the iPhone acknowledging that the file has been received, but the window asks which app I want to open the file no longer appears. As a result, I cannot locate the transferred file on my iPhone. It doesn't appear in any of my apps on the iPhone. How do I fix this?




What is AirDrop on iPhone?

Apple has added the AirDrop feature for all the devices with iOS 7/Mac OS X Lion and above. AirDrop allows iOS and Mac users to transfer all files, photos, documents, and others with other nearby iOS and Mac devices by means of close-range wireless communication. It’s not limited to the size of the file which AirDrop can transfer.


However, if you recently bought an Apple iPhone, you may wonder where the airdropped files go when using iPhone AirDrop. This post aims to solve the most frequently asked question about iOS AirDrop: where to find AirDrop photos and files on iPhone. Besides, a free AirDrop alternative is introduced to help you transfer data between iPhones and computers at a lightning speed without iTunes.

Where do your AirDrop photos go?

When using a MacBook, users have the option of choosing where their AirDrop files are saved. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for iPhone, the file types decide the location where the airdropped files are saved. If you know where to find AirDrop photos and files on iPhone, it’s easy to transfer iPhone data to Mac.

AirDrop photos on Mac

Airdrop photos and other files are saved in the “Downloads” folder. To access this folder, here are the steps.

Step 1. Click Go option

On your mac desktop, you can click "Go" from the top menu.

Step 2. Choose Downloads

Choose the download option from the drop-down menu. 

AirDrop photos on iPhone

Photos transferred via Airdrop are automatically saved in the iPhone's photos folder. When the transfer is finished, you could tap the Photos icon on your iPhone and check the airdropped photos in the photo library.

How to find AirDrop files on iPhone?

Except for photos, you could transfer contacts, eBooks, PDFs, documents, text, and other files via the AirDrop feature. For Mac users, these files will be also saved in the Download folder like airdropped photos. But for iPhone users, the location for Airdropped files could be different.

AirDrop files on iPhone will bring up a menu with different options for iPhone to open and save the files. Files sent via iPhone AirDrop are automatically saved in the app from which they were sent. If you don’t have the same app, you will be redirected to the App Store to download or you could try to open the files with other options.

Best AirDrop alternative: transfer files between iPhone

Airdrop is an efficient feature available for iPhone/Mac users to transfer iPhone files, but it has some disadvantages. For example, it takes too long for iPhone data transfer in case of large files. You could only transfer one file at a time. Moreover, if you transfer multiple photos at one time, AirDrop could have no reaction or interruption.

It’s recommended to use the free iPhone transfer app- FoneTool on iPhones to overcome those limitations. It’s the best AirDrop alternative without Bluetooth to transfer files between iPhones and iPads.

Step 1. Download and install the FoneTool app

Scan the QR code below or search FoneTool in the App Store to get one of the best freeware phone tools for transfer on your iPhone.


Step 2. Connect two devices

Place the two iPhones closely and enable Wi-Fi. Open FoneTool and then tap “Connect Device”. Tap the name of the iPhone you want to transfer files to.

Step 3. Select files and send

On the source iPhone, tap File Transfer in the lower-left corner. You could transfer photos, music, videos, and contacts directly. If you want to transfer more files, choose “Files” and tap the plus icon to browse the files you want to transfer on your iPhone or iCloud Drive. And then tap “Send” for iPhone file transfer.


iPhone data transfer will be completed in seconds. If you want to transfer data from iPhone to computers, you could download FoneTool software on your computer. Besides, it supports backup iPhone to computers.

Extend reading: FAQ about AirDrop iPhone

How to turn on AirDrop on iPhone?

Enabling AirDrop on iPhone is easy and requires only a few steps. Open the Control Center on your iPhone by swiping down from the top-right corner on an iPhone X or newer iPhone models or swiping up from the bottom on older models. And then tap and hold the WiFi module to set the AirDrop option.

How to change the AirDrop name on iPhone?

To change the AirDrop name, you could go to “Settings” > “General” > “About” > “Name”. And then you could type the name you want. Tap “Done” to confirm the change.


Why won't AirDrop work on my iPhone?

If AirDrop doesn’t work on your iPhone, you could check your device first. To use AirDrop, you need an iPhone 7 and later, iPad 4 or later, and a 5th-generation iPod Touch.

After that, you could go to “Settings” > “General” > “AirDrop” to set your iPhone could be discovered in AirDrop to receive from everyone or only contacts.

You could toggle WiFi and Bluetooth to fix this error. Or you could use FoneTool to transfer iPhone photos, music, videos, contacts, and files easily and quickly for free if the AirDrop transfer failed.


You can learn how to find AirDrop files on iPhone from the above content, and you will definitely be able to solve the problem. It is worth mentioning that if you want to know how to transfer data from one Apple ID to another without fail, we highly recommend you to use FoneTool, which is the best iOS data transfer software not to miss.