Five Ways to Move Files Between Mac OS and iOS without AirDrop

If you have multiple Apple devices, you may need to copy items between them. If you can’t use AirDrop for some reason—for instance, because it doesn't always "just work"— there are a variety of alternatives available. Here are a few of them:

Email/Messages. First, and most convenient, you can email items to yourself. This requires nothing additional installed anyplace, and odds are good you already send and receive email in both places so you just have to send the message. In iOS 8 you can send yourself a message, and then it’ll show up for you on your other devices using the same account in Messages.

Sending an iMessage to yourselfWhat? Doesn't your iPhone call YOU Sweetie?

ITunes. You can use iTunes File Sharing to copy things between devices. This is slightly less convenient because it requires plugging your iPhone or iPad into your Mac and making sure there’s an app that uses iTunes file sharing in order to move things back and forth. Apps from Apple generally do, so you might be in good shape. As with all things iTunes, for every person who loves it, there’s a person who hates it with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. So. Y’know. There’s that.

DeskConnect. DeskConnect is a free iOS and Mac OS app that allows you to take virtually anything from one device and copy it to the other. Shoot video on your iPhone you want to move to your Mac for more editing? Piece of cake. Want to copy that photo out of iPhoto to your iPad? No problem. You do have to create an account, but both apps are free and easy to use. Since AirDrop between Mac OS and iOS is a more recent development, I have used DeskConnect to move files around for some time, and in a lot of case I still use it out of habit instead of AirDrop.

DeskConnect PreferencesBonus points if you catch the reference in my laptop's name...

Scribe. If you want to share your clipboard between devices, you can do so using Scribe. It requires Bluetooth LE to make its connection, so be sure you have the hardware for it. If you do, the iOS and Mac OS versions are both free and allow you to scoop up phone numbers, images, blocks of text. Even if you don’t have Wi-Fi or have your devices on different networks, using Bluetooth to make the connection makes it a piece of cake.

Dropbox. If you use Dropbox, you can set it up to have all your photos automatically upload to Dropbox which has the advantage of automatic backup copies, and they get synced to your computer as well. With the “Open In” extension in iOS 8, you can add many more files to Dropbox which will show up on your computer the next time Dropbox syncs. If you have your machine asleep or off a lot of the time, things won’t sync immediately (obviously), but it is another option for how to make sure you have all your stuff on all your stuff.