AirDrop Needs Work

by Christopher Paul on May 14, 2012

I’m back from a nearly weeklong trip across the country for my brother’s wedding. Between my wife and I, we took a bunch of photos while we toured the area, went to several pre-wedding celebration events, and the actual ceremony. We don’t have a good workflow to combine our photo libraries (if anyone has one that can handle multiple Macs, iPhones, Cameras, etc., please let me know… it would be appreciated). Occasionally, we use AirDrop to send files like pictures back and forth but it’s not a very good system.

Before, we used DropCopy from 10base-T. It works very well and I highly recommend it if you don’t have a Mac that supports AirDrop. Hell, given my issues with AirDrop, I’d recommend it regardless of what version of OS X you have.

AirDrop has so many limitations that it really doesn’t serve me much purpose. The first and biggest is that it doesn’t run all the time. You can only find other people if both computers have a Finder window open to the AirDrop section. It would be better if it was always broadcasting it’s presence with some way to tweak security settings to prevent any unwanted actions or disclosure. It would also be nice if there was an option to show a menubar icon so you can send files to a list of discovered users that drops down when you drag something to it.

Another limitation is the lack of customization of the destination. Everything goes into the Downloads folder. I could probably come up with an AppleScript or other Automator action to organize everything but why should I have to? Perhaps, it’s because Apple likes to keep things simple but it can’t be that hard to set a default directory in the System Preferences. I also hate how you have to accept every incoming transfer. Sure, the sender can send everything at once and you’d only have to accept one time. But can we have some setting where some networks/senders are trusted?

There are options that DropCopy has which I don’t believe AirDrop needs so I’m not saying that Apple should copy the app outright. But it would be nice to see some of the features included in their own way. It certainly can improved and I’m sure Apple can make it “just work” even better.

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