AirDrop Failed to Save Item Error Solved 2023

AirDrop “Failed to Save Item” Error: Solved 2023

Last week, my friend bugged me because his iPhone wasn’t connecting with his MacBook. Unfortunately, he keeps getting an error where AirDrop fails to save his item while transferring some files.

Being the helpful friend that I am, I strove to resolve the pesky issue even when it was late at night. So, I rolled up my sleeves and immediately began working on finding timely workarounds.

Thus, count yourself lucky if you suffer from a similarly faulty AirDrop feature. In this post, we’ll share nine tested solutions to stop your iPhone or Mac’s AirDrop from failing to save your items during a file transfer, so we recommend you read up.

Why do my AirDrops keep failing to save correctly?

When AirDrop fails to save your items during a transfer, it’s usually because of an incompatible file format. AirDrop might also malfunction due to minor bugs, terrible network settings, faulty network services, or outdated software.

But breathe easy; you can address the root cause of your problematic AirDrop feature using the list of solutions in the following section.

How to Fix AirDrop Failing To Save Items

Here are several tested solutions for addressing AirDrop’s “Failed to save items” error on your iPhone or Mac. The solutions below involve fixing the AirDrop feature or using alternative methods to transfer files between your Apple devices.

FIX 1. Don’t send multiple files simultaneously

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps9
Time to Perform Fix50 seconds
Things NeededAn iPhone or any compatible Apple device

Unfortunately, transferring multiple files between your Apple devices doesn’t work correctly sometimes. As a result, you can receive an error message regarding your iPhone or Mac’s AirDrop failing to save the item you’re trying to transfer.

One straightforward solution for this problem is to reduce the number of files you send through your Apple device’s AirDrop feature. Selecting one file at a time is ideal because it allows your iPhone or Mac to focus on a single target during the transfer.

In particular, individually transferring your files works best when each has a big file size. This way, the file transfer takes less time, leaving no room for errors and malfunctions while it’s in progress.

Since images typically have smaller file sizes, you can get away with transferring them in packs. But we don’t recommend this method for videos because they often have large file sizes, which results in slow transfer times and other device errors.

Step 1: Swipe down to expand your iPhone’s control center panel.

Step 2: Hold the network services tile to expand it.

Step 3: Turn on AirDrop for contacts or everyone and enable WiFi or Bluetooth.

Step 4: Go to Photos.

Step 5: Select only one file and click the share button in the bottom-left corner.

Step 6: Click AirDrop.

Step 7: Select your target device.

Step 8: Click Done once the selected file is sent via AirDrop.

Step 9: Repeat the previous steps to send your other files separately.

If you’re using a Mac, sending a file via AirDrop is similar and different at the same time. Of course, the process is practically the same if you ignore the differences between an iPhone and Mac’s menu layout and control options.

One of the solutions below includes steps for file transferring using a Mac or Win. You can refer to the instructions in this guide once you reach the specific parts, discussing it in more detail.

FIX 2. Convert the file

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps11
Time to Perform Fix1 minute and 10 seconds
Things NeededAny smartphone or PC
A working internet connection

Speaking of errors, another likely culprit you can link to your iPhone or Mac’s transfer failure is the target file’s format. After all, the AirDrop feature can struggle to transfer specific file types because of compatibility issues and lack of support.

Sometimes, selecting the appropriate file formats is essential to successfully transferring between your Apple devices. For instance, AirDrop works best on videos that are in mp4 format instead of mkv, primarily if they use the H.264 compression.

Meanwhile, we recommend converting images to JPEG since they retain more details upon compression, making them easier to deal with. 

Most online platforms and websites prefer this image file format over PNG or GIF because it’s more efficient for sharing.

Once you consider the format of the files you send through AirDrop, “failed to save item” errors will become less likely. More importantly, the transfer speed will be noticeably faster for file formats with excellent compatibility with the AirDrop feature.

Step 1: Open your internet browser.

Note: These picture examples are from a Windows PC, but the steps should be similar whether you’re using an iPhone or Mac.
Step 2: Search for a file converter.

Step 3: Select the top search result.

Note: Feel free to select other file-converter websites of your choosing.
Step 4: Select the file type you want to convert for AirDrop.

Step 5: Select your desired file format.

Step 6: Click Choose File.

Step 7: Double-click the file you want to AirDrop to upload it for conversion.

Step 8: Wait for the selected file to finish uploading.

Step 9: Click Start to convert the selected file to your desired format.

Step 10: Click Download to get your copy of the converted file.

Step 11: Follow the previous method to send the converted file via AirDrop.

If you’re using an iPhone, you can install file conversion apps from the Apple App Store instead. However, they usually only cater to a specific file type, so you might need to download multiple apps to convert your image, video, and PDF files.

Using a file conversion website, like our example, allows you to convert all file types without installing a dedicated app. Doing so will save your iPhone valuable storage space, which is always good.

FIX 3. Restart your iPhone

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps5
Time to Perform Fix40 seconds
Things NeededAn iPhone or any compatible Apple device

Restarting your iPhone is essential to ensure the device is always in optimal condition, even without any errors. This action allows it to refresh its system memory and delete temporary data that can cause some features to fail.

Additionally, a restart sequence helps deal with possible minor bugs and errors behind AirDrop failing to save your item during file transfers. Generally, not leaving a stone unturned during troubleshooting is best for pinpointing the problem’s culprit.

Therefore, even if restarting your iPhone doesn’t help fix your iPhone or Mac’s problematic AirDrop feature, your effort wouldn’t be in vain. After all, restarting the device has various benefits simply because it refreshes the system memory.

For example, this can result in faster and more efficient performance, which is beneficial for performing other methods in this guide. We’ve listed some solutions that require restarting your iPhone or Mac to ensure they can work correctly.

Step 1: Hold your iPhone’s side button alongside one of its volume buttons.

Step 2: Swipe your iPhone’s power slider to the right to shut it down.

Step 3: Hold the side button to turn your iPhone back on.

Step 4: Release your iPhone’s side button once Apple’s logo appears, and wait for it to finish booting up.

Step 5: Try sending your file via AirDrop again using our previous instructions.

FIX 4. Refresh your network services

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps4
Time to Perform Fix15 seconds
Things NeededAn iPhone or any compatible Apple device

AirDrop is a fast and convenient file transfer feature for Apple devices because it doesn’t require an internet connection. However, you must enable WiFi or Bluetooth to use it because that’s how it can communicate with the other device.

This peer-to-peer communication is practical because it simplifies the file transfer between compatible devices. However, that doesn’t mean the AirDrop feature isn’t prone to network connectivity issues.

After all, AirDrop may still fail to save items during a transfer when your iPhone or Mac’s WiFi or Bluetooth services malfunction. Thankfully, turning these network services off and on is often enough to refresh them and fix their problems.

Step 1: Swipe down to expand your iPhone’s control center panel.

Step 2: Turn off your iPhone’s WiFi and Bluetooth.

Step 3: Turn on your iPhone’s WiFi and Bluetooth again.

Step 4: Try sending your file via AirDrop again using our previous instructions.

FIX 5. Switch to WiFi

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix5 seconds
Things NeededAn iPhone or any compatible Apple device

As mentioned, the AirDrop feature requires active WiFi and Bluetooth services, even though it works without an internet connection. It’s important to note that this transfer feature only uses one network service to establish a peer-to-peer connection.

For instance, AirDrop will work if you turn off WiFi while Bluetooth is turned on and vice versa. Unfortunately, Bluetooth isn’t the best option since it provides a considerably slower transfer speed.

As such, we suggest switching to WiFi whenever AirDrop fails to save your items when transferring using only the Bluetooth service. This way, you can speed up the transfer process and avoid errors while it progresses.

FIX 6. Reset your iPhone’s network settings

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix40 seconds
Things NeededAn iPhone or any compatible Apple device

Changes to your iPhone or Mac’s network settings can also make AirDrop malfunction, causing the “failed to save item” error. Fortunately, dealing with this problem is simple because you only need to undo the changes you’ve made.

It only becomes tricky when you forget the specific network settings you changed on your device. In such cases, resetting your network settings is convenient because it reverts all of them to their default configuration.

With this, you don’t have to worry about the specific network settings behind your faulty AirDrop feature. Therefore, this action will stop you from spending considerable time and unnecessary effort.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Go to General.

Step 3: Select “Transfer or Reset iPhone.”

Step 4: Go to Reset.

Step 5: Click “Reset Network Settings.”

Step 6: Enter your passcode to continue.

Step 7: Click “Reset Network Settings” to restore your iPhone’s default network configuration.

Note: Restart your iPhone after the network reset so that you can apply the changes without issues.

FIX 7. Update your iPhone

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps9
Time to Perform Fix5 minutes
Things NeededAn iPhone or any compatible Apple device
A working internet connection

Compatibility issues don’t only occur with the files you transfer through AirDrop. After all, this feature can also malfunction if you don’t update your iPhone or Mac to the latest iOS versions.

Software updates are essential because they ensure your device is in optimal condition by providing quality-of-life upgrades to improve its performance. More importantly, they include specific fixes for recurring problems when using your Apple device.

If you’re lucky, the update could have a bug fix for your “failed to save item” error on AirDrop.

It’s not a guaranteed fix, but the prospect of improving your device’s performance and compatibility with its features is reassuring whether or not it solves the problem.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Go to General.

Step 3: Go to Software Update.

Step 4: Wait while your iPhone checks for a software update.

Step 5: Select an update and click “Download and Install.”

Step 6: Enter your passcode to continue.

Step 7: Read Apple’s terms and conditions and click Agree.

Step 8: Click Agree again.

Step 9: Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading and installing the new update.

Note: Plug your iPhone into a power outlet if the update process is taking long to ensure it doesn’t run out of juice and cause a technical problem.

FIX 8. Export your file using Quicktime Player

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps14
Time to Perform Fix1 minute and 30 seconds
Things NeededA Mac or any compatible Apple device

Before transferring your target file via AirDrop, we suggest exporting it through the Quicktime Player app on Mac beforehand. However, because Quicktime is a media player, you can only use this for video and clip recordings you want to transfer.

Exporting your target file using Quicktime Player will help make it compatible with the AirDrop feature. As a result, you can overcome the “failed to save item” error once you complete exporting your selected video or clip recording.

Step 1: Open Quicktime Player on your Mac and play the video you want to transfer via AirDrop.

Step 2: Go to File.

Note: In this example, the video playing is a screen recording.
Step 3: Click Export As to open a drop-down menu and select your desired resolution.

Step 4: Change the file’s name and save location.

Note: Don’t forget to set it to Greater Compatibility (H.264).
Step 5: Click Save to apply the changes and export the video file to the selection location.

Step 6: Go to System Settings.

Step 7: Go to your WiFi and Bluetooth settings to enable these network services.

Step 8: Go to Finder.

Step 9: Select AirDrop.

Step 10: Enable AirDrop for your contacts or everyone.

Step 11: Right-click the file you want to AirDrop and go to Share.

Note: You might need to hold your Mac’s control key to right-click a file using a one-button mouse or trackpad.
Step 12: Select AirDrop as your transfer option.

Step 13: Select the recipient.

Step 14: Click Done once the selected file is sent via AirDrop.

FIX 9. Use alternative transfer tools for Apple devices

Ultimately, AirDrop isn’t the only transfer tool available for Apple devices. You can use alternative tools like iTunes or the third-party iCareFone from Tenorshare, which works as an iOS file manager.

Since these are alternative transfer tools, they help you send files between your Apple devices whenever the AirDrop feature is malfunctioning or unavailable. 

This way, you don’t have to worry about AirDrop failing to save your items during file transfers. Here are the steps for using iTunes and iCareFone to transfer your files between your iPhones or Macs:


Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps8
Time to Perform Fix50 to 60 seconds
Things NeededAny PC
A working internet connection
Step 1: Go to iTunes.

Step 2: Plug your iPhone into your PC or laptop.

Note: After plugging in your iPhone, you must allow file access if a prompt appears.
Step 3: Click the iPhone icon on the iTunes app.

Step 4: Click File Sharing.

Step 5: Select Documents.

Step 6: Click Add File.

Step 7: Select your target files and click Open.

Step 8: Click Done once the file transfer is complete.


Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix35 seconds
Things NeededAny PC
A working internet connection
Step 1: Open the iCareFone app.

Note: Download iCareFone from the Tenorshare website. This transfer tool is compatible with Windows 7/8/10/11 and macOS 14.
Step 2: Plug your iPhone into your PC or laptop.

Step 3: Go to Manage once iCareFone detects your iPhone.

Step 4: Select the files to transfer and click Export.

Step 5: Select a location in your iPhone’s directory and click Save to store the selected file.

Step 6: Wait for iCareFone to finish exporting the selected file(s).

Step 7: Unplug your iPhone and find the exported files in the desired save location.

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