Disable AirDrop in Mac OS X Lion

AirDrop allows you to share files with other computers which also have AirDrop installed using Wi-Fi (uses ad-hoc if not connected) or wired network.

AirDrop only is active and shares files when you have the option selected in the Finder window and will stop sharing as soon as you deselect it or close the Finder windows.

AirDrop Inactive

AirDrop Active

As you can see from the image the AirDrop Icon will change and give you visual feedback if it is running or not. The active icon is animated with a circular sweeping motion which reminds me of a sonar display.

AirDrop can be considered a security risk and can be completely disabled. If you wish to disable (or enable) open the Terminal Application (located under Applications/Utilities) and type in the following commands.

To disable:

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser DisableAirDrop -boolean YES

To enable:

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser DisableAirDrop -boolean NO

You will need to Restart, Log out and back in or relaunch the Finder from the Force Quit application (from the Apple menu or Opt+Cmd+Esc). Once disabled the option will be removed from the Finder side bar.

6 thoughts on “Disable AirDrop in Mac OS X Lion

  1. IT

    This doesn’t completely disable AirDrop on Mountain Lion. Tested on Mac OS X 10.8.2, if you right click on a file you can still choose Share > AirDrop.

    Reply
    1. Robert Wallace Post author

      I tried it on my iMac (Mountain Lion) and it does show the option Share>AirDrop, but the Send button in the confirmation prompt when you click on AirDrop is disabled.

      I’ll update the post and add a screenshot.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply
  2. IT

    Hi Robert,

    Still works for me. Did you click on the receiving computer? Until I click on the listed computer the send button is disabled. Once I click on the computer to select it, the send button then is enabled and I can set the file across.

    I tried applying the command to both the local user account and via sudo and restarted Finder to no avail–can still send via this method.

    Reply
  3. Myron

    This may be an old thread, but I will reiterate what IT says: the airdrop icon disappears from the Finder, but if you select a file and share>airdrop while the receiving computer has airdrop activated, then it will deliver the file via airdrop.

    I am looking at disabling airdrop in 800 student computers; if no one has the airdrop icon in their Finder, I believe this will prevent the receiving computer from being visible on the source computer, since they cannot activate AirDrop. Does this sound reasonable?

    Reply
    1. Robert Wallace Post author

      I’ve researched on and off since IT’s last comment and haven’t found a solution yet. The issue I have is that I’m down to my iMac (my MacBook died).

      I’ll post a solution once I find it.

      Reply
  4. Alan

    It would be helpful if you would at least put some edges around the scope of the “security risk” here. Everything is a “security risk” from some perspective; the only “secure” computer is one in a locked vault, with the power cord cut… and some people will even argue about that. Unqualified statements like that just feed the trolls.

    Reply

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