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[Tutorial] Enable AirDrop on Macs without supported wireless hardware

AirDrop is a handy way to share files between Macs. Unfortunately, it is only supported on newer models which have the hardware necessary to support a certain type of point-to-point WiFi connection. There is, however, a hidden setting to enable AirDrop on older Macs. Just type:

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces 1

into a Terminal window, hit enter, and relaunch the Finder.
Note that:

  • You must do this on both the sending and receiving macs, even if one of them already has the correct WiFi hardware (I think).
  • You will be able to see other macs on the same network, and they will be able to see your Mac (when AirDrop is open), even if they are not physically nearby. On a larger network with many Macs, this could potentially cause some confusion, although it shouldn’t be a real security issue. This may be why Apple decided not to enable this feature by default.
  • Both macs must be connected to the same network somehow (ethernet, existing WiFi network, etc.)
[adds: So here I sit, with only one Lion machine, so I can’t fully test this. However, when using the command, it did enable the AirDrop icon in the Finder’s Sidebar and said it had become available, so it will likely work, given the caveats mentioned above. To reverse this, just change the 1 in the command to a 0. This will be a great boon to those of us with some older (but still Lion-capable) machines still around.]
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