There are five ways to connect your iPhone to a Mac without USB: AirDrop, Network File Sharing, iCloud, AirPlay, and Apple ecosystem features like Text Message Forwarding and Handoff.
Hi, I’m Devansh. As a long-time Apple user, I’ve often found myself in situations where I need to connect my iPhone to my iMac or MacBook Air but don’t have a USB cable. So, I’ve learned how to connect my iPhone to a Mac wirelessly.
In this article, I’ll share the five best methods to connect your iPhone to your Mac without a USB cable. I’ll also show you how to enable the “Show this iPhone When On WiFi” feature and answer some common questions.
If you want to connect your iPhone to a Mac for transferring files or mirroring your screen but don’t have a USB cable, keep reading!
- Different Ways to Connect iPhone to Mac Wirelessly
- How to Sync iPhone Over WiFi Using USB Cable?
Different Ways to Connect iPhone to Mac Wirelessly
For these five methods to work, your iPhone and Mac must be signed in to the same Apple ID and connected to the same WiFi network. In addition, it also helps to have the latest version of iOS and macOS.
On your iPhone, open Settings, go to General, and Software Update. On your Mac, open System Preferences (or System Settings), go to General, and Software Update. If any updates are available, download and install them. Now, let’s dive in.
Method #1: AirDrop
AirDrop is the best way to transfer files (like photos, videos, and documents) between your iPhone and Mac wirelessly. Both devices need to have Bluetooth and WiFi enabled and be in close range for AirDrop to work.
Now, open any file you want to share on your iPhone and tap the sharing icon. Tap the AirDrop icon. Under Devices, select your Mac, and sharing will begin.
There is no file size limit with AirDrop. If it isn’t working, ensure your iPhone and Mac have the required AirDrop receiving settings (Contacts Only or Everyone). Feel free to view more details on how to set up AirPlay on your iPhone and Mac.
Method #2: Network File Sharing
How about turning your Mac into a file server on your WiFi network? On your Mac, open System Preferences, go to General, Sharing, and enable File Sharing.
On your iPhone, open Files, tap the More button at the top-right corner and select Connect to Server. Now, type in the address displayed on your Mac and log in with your credentials.
Once connected, you can access your Mac’s contents in the Shared tab in the Files app on your iPhone!
Method #3: iCloud Drive
You can also use iCloud Drive to share files between your Mac and iPhone. On your iPhone, open Settings, tap your Apple ID name, iCloud, and iCloud Drive. Toggle on Sync this iPhone.
Now, you can access the latest versions of your files across all devices. You get 5GB storage with a free account. Alternatively, you can opt for Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.
Method #4: AirPlay (For Screen Mirroring)
You may also want to connect your iPhone to a Mac for screen mirroring. It can be useful for viewing your photos or documents on a larger screen. To do this, open System Preferences on your Mac, go to General, and AirDrop & Handoff. Here, toggle on AirPlay Receiver.
On your iPhone, open Control Center, tap the Screen Mirroring button and select your Mac in the list. Once connected, your iPhone’s screen will be mirrored on your Mac.
Method #5: Apple Ecosystem Features
Since your iPhone and Mac are part of the Apple ecosystem, some features connect them to make your workflow seamless. Here are three such features.
- Handoff: Switch from your iPhone to your Mac without breaking your workflow. It works with Apple apps like Safari, Pages, and Keynote.
- Text Message Forwarding: Forward text messages from your iPhone to your Mac.
- Universal Clipboard: Copy content on your iPhone and paste it on your Mac, and vice versa.
If you have an iPad, you can also use Sidecar, which extends your Mac screen to your iPad. Altogether, these features make using your Apple devices a more cohesive experience.
How to Sync iPhone Over WiFi Using USB Cable?
The five above methods can connect your iPhone to a Mac wirelessly. But if you have a USB cable, you can do this one-time procedure instead. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB or USB-C cable and open Finder.
Step 2: Click on your iPhone title under Locations in the sidebar.
Step 3: In the button bar, you’ll see tabs for Music, Photos, Files, and more. In the General tab, enable Show this iPhone When On WiFi and click Apply. You can also enable Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected.
Step 4: Before disconnecting your iPhone from your Mac, click the Eject button in the Finder sidebar.
Now, whenever your iPhone connects to your Mac over WiFi, your iPhone will appear in the Finder sidebar. Isn’t this a convenient way to sync data between your devices without a USB cable?
Here are three common questions about connecting an iPhone to a Mac without USB.
How to Sync iMessages from iPhone to Mac?
First, use the same Apple ID on your Mac and iPhone. Then, enable ‘Text Message Forwarding’ on your Mac. Check out this article for further steps to sync your iMessages between your iPhone and Mac.
What is the Best Third-Party Tool to Mirror iPhone to Mac?
You can try out Reflector 4. It’s a paid app but offers many handy features. If you’re okay with using a USB cable for the best responsiveness, you can also opt for QuickTime Player. See this article to learn how to mirror your iPhone to your Mac.
What if Data Stops Transferring?
One of the disadvantages of wireless data transfer is that it is less reliable than a cable. Check your WiFi network and Apple ID if any of the above methods don’t work. In addition, you can also check if Bluetooth is enabled on both devices.
All in all, there are five ways to connect your iPhone to a Mac without a USB cable: AirDrop, Network File Sharing, iCloud, AirPlay, and Apple ecosystem features like Text Message Forwarding and Handoff.
If you’re willing to use a USB cable once, you can enable “Show this iPhone When On WiFi” to make file sharing between your iPhone and Mac easier. I hope this article helped you transfer files between your iPhone and Mac without USB!
Do you have further questions about connecting your iPhone to a Mac without USB? Let me know in the comments!