Phones Review

iOS 7 Airdrop features on iPhone 5, not 4S/4

Under: Phone Software, Software
Date: June 12th, 2013

iphone-5-with-ios-7-airdrop

Over the last two days our in-house developer has been hands-on with the new iOS 7 features on both an iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, although not all features are the same on both generations of Apple smartphone.

When trying to share a photo between an iPhone 5 and 4S both running iOS 7, it became obvious this wasn’t possible. You can quickly swipe up into the control center from your iOS 7 lock screen when this feature is turned on, and on the iPhone 5 with iOS 7 you’ll see AirDrop clearly in view.

iOS 7 Airdrop features on iPhone 5 – the image below is a screenshot taken from an iPhone 5 with iOS 7 beta 1, which you can see the different options available within this area. Any nearby iPhone 5′s with iOS 7 will appear here, but you can change the AirDrop option to only show people in your contact list or even turn it off completely.

ios-7-airdrop-iphone-5

iOS 7 Airdrop on iPhone 4S – the next screenshot was taken with an iPhone 4S running iOS 7, which clearly shows the AirDrop features are missing with no option for AirDrop at all. We know there’s a few other missing settings and iOS 7 features missing from iPhone 4/4S, but for now we wanted to point out the lack of AirDrop considering this was a big selling point of iOS 7.

iphone-4s-airdrop

Another reason it is ridiculous that AirDrop is missing from the iPhone 4/4S is the fact that a lot of friends and family will be using slightly older iPhones. This will stop you sharing things with a lot of people, although we still have hope that iOS 7 beta 2, 3 or maybe a later version could activate AirDrop for iPhone 4S at least.

Thanks to AirDrop being peer-to-peer you’ll be able to share directly without the need for a Wi-Fi network, and even better is the fact that transfers are encrypted. Apple hasn’t clearly mentioned the feature only working with iPhone 5 on their website, but it’s in the small print towards the bottom, so again we hope that by the iOS 7 Gold Master we’ll see further support.

Apple make it clear that the iOS 7 features are “subject to change” and currently the small print states, “AirDrop is available on iPhone 5″ and no other iPhone. AirDrop will be on the iPad mini, 5th generation iPod touch and 4th generation iPad. If the situation changes on a future iOS 7 beta then Phones Review will update our readers.

iphone-5-with-ios-7-airdrop

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  • wky21

    just a single airdrop is not much of a convening reason for one that turn in their useful gadget like ipad 2 or 3.

    • Infernova

      AirDrop has got to be pretty much the only thing that is good about the new iOS. Sure, it has toggles (‘Control Centre’, as they call it), but that’s not a new feature at all. It’s something that should’ve been there seven years ago when iPhone was first launched. And the UI, please, it’s just a carbon copy of what you see on major competing mobile OSes.

  • Tim Knowles

    It is only possible on the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and fourth gen iPad as it requires specific wifi direct compatible chips. These were not present in the 4 or 4S so the feature is not technically possible.

    • Jeremy

      Biggest load of bull I’ve heard (with all due respect)!! The iPhone 4S is more than capable of using Airdrop. Of course it’s possible! they have Airblue Sharing for jailbroken iDevices so how are you supposed to tell me that it requires “wifi direct compatible chips”? Airblue Sharing has been around for awhile and it uses wifi & bluetooth to be able to do file transfers. Now sure on the iPhone 4S it won’t be AS fast as the iPhone 5′s but that’s an obvious fact because it has more wifi capabilities and the processor. If they don’t enable it in the GM release it’ll give me another reason to jailbreak my iPhone again.

      • David

        IMHO I don’t think it has anything to do about what it physically supports.

        In order to support quote unquote “Airdrop” you need a additional 802.11A physical HARDWARE band.
        That is separate from the existing 802.11n band.

        Apple did this so that the connection to both wifi and airdrop are consistent.

        I’m pretty sure that is why “Airdrop” (not “wifi-direct”) isn’t supported on the 4s.

        So yes while the 4s can indeed make the connection.
        Apple seems to have decided to make it simple stupid for the user to understand and keep the connections consistent.

    • Pasha

      What a bullshit? Do you know about WiFi? Think you know nothing.

    • MBoorman

      He’s taking that directly from the Apple Keynote. While the statement may be suspicious he is not the source. Your arguments do nothing here as it was stated by Apple. Pasha your comment was useless so maybe think about not contributing next time. Jeremy, while your supporting evidence was good I had to laugh at calling bull and using “with all due respect” in the same sentence. I really wish there was a way to counteract ODE.

    • Arif Ullah

      Yes, the feature is technically possible on the iPhone 4S/4. A WiFI Direct chip is not necessary, if such thing exists. As long as a device possesses WiFi; WiFi direct also exists. WiFi Direct is essentially an ad-hoc network, the same technology adopted in AirDrop.

      Ad-hoc networks can currently be received on iPhones, alongside being created (via AirBlue Sharing). Software is the issue, not the hardware of the devices. Even the iPhone 3GS, or any other WiFi device can create an ad-hoc network (I did on my Nokia E63 using JoikuSpot) – thus AirDrop being excluded from the elder iPhones is to promote and persuade customers to buy the new iPhone’s.

      • David

        Actually technically this is incorrect. In order to support quote unquote “Airdrop” you need a additional 802.11A physical HARDWARE band.
        That is separate from the existing 802.11n band.

        Apple did this so that the connection to both wifi and airdrop are consistent.

        I’m pretty sure that is why “Airdrop” (not “wifi-direct”) isn’t supported on the 4s.

        So yes while the 4s can indeed make the connection.
        Apple seems to have decided to make it simple stupid for the user to understand and keep the connections consistent.

  • steve

    this should be able at least on the iphone 4s that make no sence update to ios 7 and not getting this cool feature

  • As

    Good marketing move (or just ‘dumb’ customers): make users feel the need to buy the latest Apple devices.

  • samp1800

    apple is being a total dumb prick here… the ipad 3 is barely over a year old and its not getting all of the new features of ios 7. goddammit apple.

  • Hudson

    Your wrong I had a online chat with an apple worker who helps design the ios software he told me that air drop will be for iPhone 4S but in one of the late betas because they are still editing it so it will work with the a5 and a4 chip

    • Peter Malík

      on apple’s site is information that airdrop will not included for iphone 4/4s

  • rabo

    We’ll always have Jailbreaking, is like they want you to do it…

  • Varaprasad Mudigonda

    Looks like its the issue with the Bluetooth version, hopefully it will support all the iphones with bluetooth version4.0.

  • David

    People…

    Actually technically this is incorrect. In order to support quote unquote “Airdrop” you need a additional 802.11A physical HARDWARE band.
    That is separate from the existing 802.11n band.

    Apple did this so that the connection to both wifi and airdrop are consistent.

    I’m pretty sure that is why “Airdrop” (not “wifi-direct”) isn’t supported on the 4s.

    So YES while the 4s can indeed make the connection.
    Apple seems to have decided to make it simple stupid for the user to understand and keep the connections consistent.

    ps: It however remains to be seen if the two bands can indeed actually work that way. (and if you can indeed download a file from the internet while still uploading or downloading to a friend via quote/unquote “airdrop”)
    In theory only a single wifi data stream can remain constant to one kernel.
    Then again i have no idea if apple uses any kind of kernel emulation with its new 64bit chips.

  • Sandra

    My husband can airdrop to me but I can’t to him.
    We both have iPhone 5 and iOS7. We can’t figure it out!

  • Makayla Champion

    Sandra I’m having the same problem we both have iphone 5

  • hate apple

    thats why android system still the best ahahha , iphone freaks tim cook is just trying to suck u guys in just like Steve Job. If apple not ready to sell there product then why sell stupid apple

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