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Does Airdrop use up my data allowance?

It doesn't, you can share your photos and files without worries!

· 3 min read

Airdrop has been a seamless and efficient method for iPhone users to share files with each other. If you are traveling in groups and looking to share your photos and videos with your friends at the end of the day, many iPhone users will turn to using Airdrop so as to not compress the image quality. But before you start sharing your photos and videos, you might be wondering is whether Airdrop will use a lot of cellular data and eat into your data allowance.


What is Airdrop?

Airdrop is a proprietary feature developed by Apple that enables users to share files wirelessly between Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. It utilizes a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi technology to establish a peer-to-peer connection between devices, allowing for fast and secure file transfers.

Airdrop primarily works by establishing a peer-to-peer connection through Bluetooth and WiFi, and files are transmitted directly through this peer-to-peer connection. This is unlike file sharing via messaging apps where your file would first need to be uploaded to the app server and then downloaded on your friend’s app.

Does Airdrop use data?

Airdrop creates a direct, peer-to-peer connection between the sender's and recipient's devices using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This means that files are transferred directly between the two devices without passing through an intermediary server or utilizing the internet. As a result, Airdrop transfers do not rely on mobile data, making them completely independent of your data plan.

This means that even if you do not have a data plan, you can also make use of Airdrop to transfer files. It also means that any file transfer that you carry out through Airdrop doesn’t eat into your data allowance - so you can transfer files to your friends without any worries.

And in case you were wondering, being connected to the same WiFi network will speed up the file transfer, but it isn’t a requirement for Airdrop to work. So you will be able to utilise Airdrop and transfer files to your friends even if you are not connected to WiFi.

That said, if you are transferring files between an Apple and Android device, you wouldn’t be able to use Airdrop. If you will be sending the files to your friends through other channels like WhatsApp or Telegram, then mobile data will be required, and you might want to wait till you are on WiFi before doing so!

Other apps that might unknowingly use up your data

While Airdrop doesn't use mobile data for file transfers, there are a few other apps that might be using up your data allowance in the background. Let’s take a look at what some of these apps are, and how you might be able to avoid unknowingly using too much data:

  1. Automatic data back-ups and syncing: If you are automatically syncing your data on your phone to iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive, this might result in a high amount of data usage. Data will be used for uploading and downloading the files to your cloud storage server. To prevent data usage due to syncing of data, check your device settings and make sure that auto-sync is turned off.
  2. Automatic app updates: Automatic app updates could also result in background use of data. When an app is being updated, a new installation package is actually downloaded from the App Store, which requires the use of data. To prevent this, you can turn off automatic app updates from your device settings, or switch it to automatic update only on WiFi.
  3. Automatic content downloads: Some apps and services may automatically download content in the background, which could consume mobile data. For example, WhatsApp may automatically download media content that your friends have sent to you, which results in additional data consumption. You can disable such automatic updates from your app.

Get a Nomad eSIM to help you stay connected when you travel

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.10/GB.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.

In the event where you run out of data, Nomad also allows you to purchase add-ons for your data pack. With a purchased add-on, you will be able to seamlessly stay connected with the same eSIM.