Fix: Airdrop Stuck on Waiting on iPhone, iPad, Mac

Airdrop Stuck on Waiting? Here's what to do

Quick Glance
  • Airdrop stuck on Waiting is mainly caused by wrong settings, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth issues, and system temporary glitches.
  • Airdrop may not work even after previously sending files successfully.
  • To fix Airdrop stuck on waiting, check and change Airdrop settings accordingly, let the device be closer, restart your devices, turn off personal hotspots, and turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.
  • Resetting Network Settings to fix Airdrop stuck on waiting should be a last resort solution.
  • Contact the Apple Support team if the problem persists.

Airdrop stuck on waiting issue occurs while trying to transfer files on iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The error is caused by Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth connection issues. According to some users, the problem occurs even when they previously used Airdrop successfully.

AirDrop stuck on waiting
Airdrop stuck on waiting on iPhone, iPad and Mac

Sometimes, Airdrop says ‘Waiting’ but never connects to one user when trying to send files, but the same user can receive files from another. This is quite annoying, especially for individuals who depend on Airdrop for work-related file transfers. To fix the issue you need first to check possible causes until you narrow it down to one or two, then try to resolve the problem.

What Causes Airdrop Stuck on Waiting Error?

There are several reasons your Airdrop gets stuck on waiting. It’s good we look at these reasons before we head to how you can fix them. The main cause for this issue is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection hitches, but we cannot rule out a few other causes we believe can trigger the error.

  • Incorrect Airdrop configurations: There are several settings that need to be in check for Airdrop to successfully transfer files. For example, personal hotspots should be turned off on both devices, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth should be connected, and no restrictions should hinder Airdrop sharing content. 
  • System glitches: This is one of the major causes of Airdrop saying ‘Waiting’ and not connecting at all. Temporary technical issues are normal in nearly all electronic devices and can be fixed by simply restarting the devices and reconnecting them. 
  • Apple devices are not close: It is advisable that the devices sharing files on Airdrop be within the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range. If the distance is more than that, Airdrop will show a Waiting message on the screen. 
  • Outdated iOS or MacOS: If one of the devices has an outdated system, Airdrop may fail to work. Some users have successfully fixed the Waiting error by simply updating their Apple device systems. 
  • Locked Apple Device: If your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is locked, it won’t get a notification from Airdrop. The other device will keep saying ‘Waiting’ when trying to send files through Airdrop.

How Do I Fix Airdrop That is Stuck on Waiting?

A few workaround steps may fix Airdrop issues and share your files successfully. Airdrop may fail to work for older or new Apple devices. First, ensure that your iOS or MacOS is up-to-date, and turn Airplane Mode on and then off. After that, I will give you the working solutions below that are proven to work for many users. Try the following solutions:

  1. Perform preliminary solutions. Glitches or simple connection issues can trigger Airdrop to keep on waiting while sending files. You can resolve such issues by running simple workarounds. We will look at preliminary solutions you can try before moving ahead with more complex ones.
  2. Check Screen Time restrictions. If there is a wrong settings configuration for Airdrop, it might be stuck on waiting until the issue is fixed. Ensure that the content and privacy restrictions on your Apple device allow Airdrop to function and share files.
  3. Update your Apple ID. Sometimes, when you are using outdated details like email or phone number in the Apple ID. If the Apple ID has old emails or phone numbers, and you select Contacts Only on Airdrop, it might work properly and stuck on waiting. Ensure the receiver or sender updates your contact details on their devices. Once you confirm the credentials are updated, you can set Airdrop to Contacts Only if you share contacts with the receiver or sender. 
  4. Reset network settings. If nothing else works to resolve Airdrop being stuck on waiting, you may consider resetting network settings. After that, you can change the Airdrop name or maintain the previous one. Remember, this applies only to iPad and iPhones; the steps are pretty much the same in both.

1. Perform preliminary solutions

  1. Ensure that the person or device you want to transfer files to is near you or with a range of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If the distance is beyond 30 ft. or so, Airdop may show a waiting notification or even fail to work.
  2. Check whether the person you want to Airdrop files has turned on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Also, ensure that none of you has personal hotspots turned on. This is so for iPhones and iPad users. 
  3. Try restarting your devices. Sometimes, some bug may trigger Airdrop stuck on the waiting issue, and you can fix this by restarting your device. Devices fixes some issues automatically while rebooting. Consider restarting your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Also, restart your internet devices like routers, modems, etc. 

If no preliminary steps worked for you, try the following solutions and see if you will be able to send files using Airdrop successfully. 

2. Check Screen Time restrictions

2.1 On iPhone and iPad

  1. Tap the Settings app on your iPad or iPhone.
  2. Under the settings options, locate and select the Screen Time option. 
  3. Next, select Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Go to the second option and select Allowed apps. If it is disabled, toggle on the button next to Airdrop to turn it on.
    AirDrop stuck on waiting on iPhone, iPad and Mac
    Check Airdrop restrictions
  5. Try to use Airdrop again and see if the problem is now fixed. 

2.2 On Mac

  1. Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, search System Settings, and then hit Return
  2. On the left side menu, select Screen Time.
  3. Go to the App Restrictions and toggle on the button next to Allow Airdrop, if it’s disabled.
    AirDrop stuck on waiting on iPhone, iPad and Mac
    Check Airdrop restrictions on Mac
  4. Finally, click Done at the bottom to complete the process. 

3. Update your Apple ID

3.1 On iPhone and iPad

  1. Go to the iPhone or iPad and open the Settings app. 
  2. From the list of options, locate and tap the General option
  3. Select Airdrop and turn on the Receiving settings. Then, select Contacts Only if both share contacts, or Everyone if you wish so, or probably you don’t share personal contacts.
    AirDrop stuck on waiting on iPhone, iPad and Mac
    Update your Apple ID


  4. Close the app and try to use Airdrop again. 

3.2 On Mac

  1. Open Spotlight Search by pressing Command + Spacebar, type System Settings, and hit Return on the keyboard. 
  2. On the left side of the settings window, select General
  3. Next, locate and select Airdrop & Handoff.
  4. On the Airdrop drop-down menu, ensure that you select either Contacts Only or Everyone.
    AirDrop stuck on waiting on iPhone, iPad and Mac
    Update your Apple ID on Mac

4. Reset network settings

  1. Open Settings on your iPad or iPhone and locate General
  2. Towards the bottom, tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  3. Next, select Reset to start the resetting process. 
  4. You will see various options to reset; select Reset Network Settings.
    AirDrop stuck on waiting on iPhone, iPad and Mac
    Reset network settings
  5. Enter the passcode and tap Reset Network Settings to confirm your action.

Still Stuck?

If none of the solutions in this article resolved Airdrop stuck on waiting, we recommend users contact the Apple Support team for further guidance and customized solutions. Sometimes, the issue could be device-specific and needs specialized and personal support from the Apple team. You may also leave a comment below and our experts will look at the issue and respond accordingly. It’s our hope that you fix this error as soon as possible.

Airdrop stuck on waiting - FAQs

Why is Airdrop receiving taking so long?

The reasons for Airdrop taking so long to receive content or files are issues to do with internet connections, Bluetooth not working properly, or outdated versions of MacOS or iOS. To fix this ensure your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have no issues, and update the system software in your Apple devices.

How do I know if my Airdrop is going through?

If Airdrop is working properly, you will get a notification when receiving a file. You can decide to accept or decline the file sharing. To access the files, you can check the app they were sent from. For instance, if you received photos from the Photo app, you will get them in your Photo app.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.