How to Share Files via Bluetooth on iPhone

Modified Nov. 18, 2023, 6:07 p.m.


Have you ever wanted to share a photo, video, or a document with a friend, but you didn't have Wi-Fi or cellular data available? That's where Bluetooth is needed, unfortunately that’s not that simple on iPhones.

If Bluetooth is an important technology in the Apple Ecosystem, Apple did not introduce it to share files with your friends, we need to agree that Bluetooth file transfer is not the fastest way to share files.

To share files via Bluetooth on iPhone, to a non-Apple device, you will have to download a third-party application. Apple do not authorize to share files natively on iPhones using Bluetooth. Third-party application are using Wi-Fi to share files, but it still works as Bluetooth would.

Why can’t you share files via Bluetooth on iPhone?

When Apple introduced Bluetooth with the first iPhone, in 2007, they used it to connect Bluetooth devices such as headphones or other wireless audio systems, but not to share files.

Apple always chose Wi-Fi as the main protocol used to share files. AirDrop, introduced in 2011, has been specifically to share files between Apple devices and is using the Wi-Fi protocol for data transfer. Since then, they never considered adding a feature for iPhone users to share files using Bluetooth, despite user feedback. 

Bluetooth is great to maintain a connection between two devices, to send music to your AirPods, or to synchronize the notifications with your Apple Watch, as it’s very low power consumption. Otherwise, it’s not the best way to transfer data, that’s why all Bluetooth Back Camera for iPhones are actually using Wi-Fi.

There are still a few applications of Bluetooth in data transfer, printing via Bluetooth using a Bluetooth printers is very common on iPhones.

Bluetooth transfer speed for the latest version, Bluetooth 5.0, has a maximum of 50 Mbit/s. While Wi-Fi on 5Ghz band can transfer files with a speed of 1300 Mbit/s, way faster than Bluetooth. It does make a lot of sense to use Wi-Fi over Bluetooth for file transfer.

But if you can’t use Bluetooth with your friends with an Android smartphone, how can you transfer them files? Using an application.

Share files without using Bluetooth on iPhone

Without being connected to the internet, how can you share a file without using Bluetooth? Well there are still multiple ways, most of them are using the Wi-Fi protocol instead of the Bluetooth one.

  • If your friend has an iPhone, then there is only one good answer to this. You need to use AirDrop. It’s the best way you could ever find to share a file to another Apple device, AirDrop is using the Wi-Fi protocol but you won’t even notice it.
  • If you are not connected to the internet, but your friend does, then you can still try to send him an iCloud link. To achieve this, the photo that you want to share needs to be synchronized on your iCloud account already. Select the photo and tap on the share button, select « Copy iCloud Link ». Once you copied the link, you can send it to your friend through SMS, but you can’t use this feature without other files unfortunately.
  • The last option you have is to use a third-party application to share files. You can search directly on the AppStore for one of these application, there are plenty, such as SHAREit.



Maxime Levesque is a technical engineer with more than 5 years of professional experience. He is an expert in computer and phones, mostly on Apple products. Maxime is also the founder of TechBrowser.

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