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Connecting Your iPhone to Other iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads

The iPhone (and other devices that run the iOS software, including Apple Watch, iPod touch, and iPad) supports peer-to-peer connectivity, which is the technical way of saying that these devices can communicate with one another directly via a Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth. This capability is used in a number of apps, especially multiplayer gaming, for information sharing, and for other collaborative purposes.

If the app you want to use communicates over a Wi-Fi network, all the devices with which you want to communicate must be on that same network. If the application uses Bluetooth, you must enable Bluetooth on each device and pair them (as described in the previous task) so they can communicate with one another.

The specific steps you use to connect to other iOS devices using a collaborative app depend on the specific app you are using. The general steps are typically as follows:

  • circle-01.jpg Ensure the devices can communicate with each other. If the app uses Wi-Fi, each device must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network (see “Using Wi-Fi Networks to Connect to the Internet” earlier in this chapter). If the app uses Bluetooth, the devices must be paired.
  • circle-02.jpg Each person opens the app on his device.
  • circle-03.jpg Use the app’s controls to select the devices with which you’ll be collaborating. Usually, this involves a confirmation process in which one person selects another person’s device and that person confirms that the connection should be allowed.
  • circle-04.jpg Use the app’s features to collaborate. For example, if the app is a game, each person can interact with the group members. Or, you can directly collaborate on a document with all parties providing input into the document.

Using AirDrop to Share Content with Other iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, or a Mac

You can use the iOS AirDrop feature to share content directly with people using a Mac running OS X Yosemite or later, or using a device running iOS 7 or later. For example, if you capture a great photo on your iPhone, you can use AirDrop to instantly share that photo with iOS devices and Mac users near you.

AirDrop can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to share, but the nice thing about AirDrop is that it manages the details for you. You simply open the Share menu—which is available in most apps—and in the AirDrop section of the menu tap the people with whom you want to share.

When you activate AirDrop, you can select Everyone, which means you will see anyone who has AirDrop enabled on a Mac running OS X Yosemite or later, or an iOS device running version iOS 7 or later. They also need to be on the same Wi-Fi network with you (or have a paired Bluetooth device). Or, you can select Contacts Only, which means only people who are in your Contacts app are able to use AirDrop to communicate with you. In most cases, you should choose the Contacts Only option so you have more control over who uses AirDrop with you.

When enabled, you can use AirDrop by opening the Share menu while using an app. Then, tap the people with whom you want to share content.

Enabling AirDrop

To use AirDrop, you must enable it on your iPhone.

  • circle-01.jpg Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center.

  • circle-02.jpg If AirDrop is not active—indicated by the text “AirDrop” being in black—tap AirDrop. If it is active, the “AirDrop” text is in white and you see its status (Everyone or Contacts Only); if it is already active, skip the next two steps.

  • circle-03.jpg Tap Contacts Only to allow only people in your Contacts app to communicate with you via AirDrop, or tap Everyone to allow anyone using a device running iOS 7 or later or a Mac running OS X Yosemite or later in your area to do so.

  • circle-04.jpg Swipe down from the top of the Control Center to close it. You’re ready to use AirDrop to share content such as photos and documents.

Using AirDrop to Share Your Content

To use AirDrop to share your content, do the following:

  • circle-01.jpg Open the content you want to share. This example shows sharing a photo using the Photos app. The steps to share content from any other app are quite similar.
  • circle-02.jpg Tap the Share button.

  • circle-03.jpg You see icons for each person in your area who has AirDrop enabled that you have permission to access (such as being in her Contacts app if she is using the Contacts Only option).

  • circle-04.jpg Swipe to the left or right to browse all the people with whom you can share.
  • circle-05.jpg Tap the people with whom you want to share the content. A sharing request is sent to those peoples’ devices. Under their icons, the Waiting status is displayed. When a recipient accepts your content, the status changes to Sent. If a recipient rejects your content, the status changes to Declined.

  • circle-06.jpg If the app supports it, browse and select more content to share.

  • circle-07.jpg Tap the people with whom you want to share the content.
  • circle-08.jpg When you’re done sharing, tap Done.

Using AirDrop to Work with Content Shared with You

When someone wants to share content with you, you receive an AirDrop sharing request; if you have previously accepted content from that person, you might not receive a sharing request because it is accepted by default. Respond to sharing requests by doing the following:

  • circle-01.jpg Make sure you know the person attempting to share with you.
  • circle-02.jpg Make sure the content being shared with you is something you want. In this case, a photo is being shared.
  • circle-03.jpg To accept the content on your iPhone, tap Accept. To reject it, tap Decline.

  • circle-04.jpg After you accept content, swipe up and down the screen to see the detail of what you are accepting, or use the app’s controls to edit it.
  • circle-05.jpg Use the app’s controls to work with the shared content. For example, the Photos app provides tools to edit and share photos that are shared with you. In some cases, such as saving a contact shared with you, you need to tap Save to save the content on your iPhone or Cancel to not save it. (Other apps provide different controls depending on the type of content and the app it opens in.)

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