Enable AirDrop Over Ethernet & AirDrop On Unsupported Macs Running OS X
AirDrop is the extremely easy local peer-to-peer file transfer tool that is built into OS X 10.7 and 10.8 and beyond, it allows you to easily send and receive files wirelessly over a network just by dragging and dropping. It’s a great addition to Lion, but it’s not supported on all Macs (some 2008 model MacBook, MacBook Pros, some Mac Pro’s and Mini’s, etc), and most Hackintosh setups also can’t access it… and you can’t use it over Ethernet… until now.
You can enable AirDrop with Ethernet and enable AirDrop Wi-Fi support on technically unsupported Macs running OS X 10.7 Lion, Mountain Lion, or later by using a simple defaults write command in the Terminal. It’s a fairly easy procedure, and we’ll walk you through it.
Enable AirDrop Over Ethernet & Wi-Fi for Old Unsupported Macs
- Launch Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/
- Paste in the following defaults command:
- Hit Return, then on a new line in the Terminal type the following command to relaunch the Finder:
- Exit out of Terminal if you want, and launch any Finder window to discover the AirDrop icon
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces 1
You can also reboot the Mac for changes to take effect.
What’s really interesting is that this enables AirDrop over both Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet connections, which basically means any machine running Lion or later can use it whether or not it has a wireless card. As long as it’s connected to the same network you will be able to see the Mac in the AirDrop list of another Mac running 10.7, 10.8, or 10.9. This trick also works to enable AirDrop on many Hackintosh Macs for those who built their own…
Keep in mind that you will need at least one other Mac in the same region in order to use AirDrop. If you’re totally new to the feature, check out our quick guide that covers how to quickly and easily share files with the AirDrop protocol, it’s really one of the fastest ways to share files between Macs and is well worth using.
If you ever want to disable this for some reason, you can just use the following defaults command instead:
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces 0
Same as before, you will need to relaunch Finder for the changes to take effect and have AirDrop disabled again.
With how easy this is to enable, it makes you wonder why it was left off of some older Mac models to begin with, and why it’s not enabled for Ethernet connections either.
This tip comes from a user submission to MacWorld, and attached is a note that you may need to use this command on all Macs that intend to interact with the unsupported Mac, although that doesn’t seem to be the case on all machines.
Don’t forget that you can also change the AirDrop sound effect too.