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Alternatives to AirDrop between iPhone and Mac


Like a lot of you, one of the first things I did when I had both OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 (in beta form) on my devices was to try AirDrop. I mean, it's been in OS X for a while and it was added to iOS 7, so of course you're going to be able to zap files back and forth between your iPhone and Mac, right?


Yeah, that was a major disappointment, and something we'll probably have to wait for Apple to add to the next versions of OS X and iOS. In the meantime, there are several third-party solutions you can use to give you the ability to "AirDrop" your files from a mobile device to your desktop.

DeskConnect (free)

Not only does it have a great price -- free -- but it also works very well. You'll need to create a free account with DeskConnect, so apparently they're using some sort of online caching of information being sent between your devices. On the iOS device, DeskConnect displays an easily understandable interface that has four buttons: send photo, send clipboard, send websites and send documents. Documents are stored for 30 days, so you'll always have recourse if you sent something between devices and then accidentally deleted it. The share clipboard feature must be turned on (it's not a default setting), but works great.

Instashare (US$2.99 for OS X, free iOS app with ads or $0.99 without ads)

This is a solution that both Shawn "Doc Rock" Boyd and I use, since he turned me onto this pair of apps a while back. Installing Instashare on your Mac adds an AirDrop-like icon to your menu bar. Click on that icon to bring up a blank window upon which you can drop files and folders, and they're immediately sent to your "Trusted Devices." However, the app was supposed to allow sending of clipped text between devices, and I could never get that to work... and the online help files are less than helpful.

Pastebot ($3.99 for iOS, free Mac companion app)

Pastebot's been out for a while, more as a "clipboard manager" for iOS than anything else. However, developer Tapbots created an OS X companion app called Pastebot Sync that runs in the background on your Mac and lets you send text and images back and forth between devices. Neither of the Pastebot apps has been updated lately, but they both still work with no issues.

Do you have any other suggestions for cross-platform AirDrop alternatives? If so, let us know in the comments.

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