How To Connect iPhone To Mac Without USB Title Image

You love to play with your iPhone.

You love to use it for your business.

You love to transfer data from your iPhone to your mac.

But you don’t want to have to use a cable to do it. In this article you’ll find a few ways you can connect to your mac from your iPhone. Without USB.

How To Connect iPhone To Mac Without USB

In a Finder window.

When your iPhone appears under Location on your Mac click on it. Open your iPhone to its home screen. Wait for it to appear in your Finder window. Click the Backup Now button. Or the Sync button.

Read on to find out how to set it all up.

How To Connect iPhone To Macbook Without USB?

I need to know how to connect iPhone to MacBook Air without USB cable. Because I want to sync my iPhone with my MacBook and I don’t want to have to use a cable every time.

Mactakeawaydata Reader Question

And here’s another very similar question.

Can you tell me. how to connect iPhone to MacBook Pro without USB. It’s such a pain using a cable all the time. Can’t I backup my iPhone over WIFI?

Forum Question

Whether you’re on a MacBook Pro, M1 Mac. Or MacBook Air or iMac the way you go about it is the same.  But before you toss out your USB cable. You’re going to need it to set everything up on your Mac computer first.

You use the Finder app to set up on MacOS Catalina or later. And the iTunes app for MacOS Mojave or earlier.

And sign into both your Mac and your iPhone with the same Apple id.

Oh, and by the way, this way works for your iPad as well.

With the Finder App

1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac. And open a Finder window.

2. Click your iPhone in the Finder window under Locations.

iPhone In Finder Window
iPhone In Finder Window

Open your iPhone screen, using your passcode, Touch id or Face id.

3. Click on General in the button bar.

IPhone Backup General Heading

4. Scroll down. To the Options heading.

There you’ll find a check box.

Connect iPhone To Setup WIFI Sync

5. Click to check the ‘Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi’.

You can optionally check the box ‘Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected’. This option lets your Mac automatically backup. And Wi Fi sync your iPhone when certain conditions are met.  More on that later.

6. Click Apply.

To apply your changes to your iPhone. 

7. Eject your iPhone.

You’ve done your setup. You’ve set your iPhone to connect your computer without USB. So you can backup and sync your iPhone.

In the iTunes App

It’s largely the same as under Finder. You’ll need a cable to set it all up the first time.

1. With your iPhone connected by cable open iTunes.

2. Click on your iPhone.

iTunes IPhone Backup Window

3. Scroll down to the option to Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi check box.

Put a check in the box.

And optionally check the box Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected.

Then Click Apply.

4. Eject your iPhone. You’re done. You can now iTunes Wi FI sync.

Result Of Connecting iPhone To Mac Or MacBook Without USB Cable

There are a few things that came up in my testing of this on a modern MacBook. And a fairly modern iPhone.

1. When you sync iPhone over the air and minus your USB cable.

You’ll notice that a WIFI sync is slower than direct connect with a cable to your Mac.

WIFI is just slower. It’s about 200 Mbits/s per second at the top level 802.11ac speed. And that speed assumes you’ve nothing in the way of your Wi-Fi.

Typically, in the standard home you’ve electrical equipment. Perhaps the walls your home block WIFI. Other neighbor’s WI-FI and many other things interfere with the speed of your home WIFI. But let’s assume that figure 200 Mbit/s.

Compared to the top level USB device speed of a USB 2.0 lightning cable at 480 Mbits/s.

You can clearly see cabling up is faster. But not as convenient.

2. iPhone appearing on Wi-Fi was a bit hit and miss.

So don’t assume it’s not working just because it doesn’t appear right away. It took some time in my testing… The next day.

3. When your iPhone does appear on Wi-Fi.

You click on your iPhone where it appears under location. You’ll likely need to open up your iPhone. Just like connecting over USB so it shows up in the Finder window.

And it could take a while before you see your iPhone in your Finder window.  Far longer than you might expect.

iPhone Connected On Wifi

This screen is how you would expect to see your iPhone on your Mac. You’ll see a message letting you know that you’ll need to connect using USB to software update your iPhone.

You can either click the Backup Now button to back up your iPhone. Or sync button to backup and WIFI sync your iPhone.

I tested this on my iPad and the set up and findings were the same.

4. When you’ve set to automatically sync when this iPhone is connected.

Without USB on Wi-Fi you’ll need to have your iPhone plugged into external power. For the automatic backup and sync to take place.

AirDrop Connect iPhone To Mac Without USB

AirDrop is another way you can connect your iPhone to your Mac. Or your MacBook and not use USB.

You’ll need both your Mac and your iPhone on the same WIFI network. And you’ll need Bluetooth turned on. Both on your computer and on your iPhone.

On your iPhone you turn on Bluetooth in your Settings. Scroll down your iPhone screen and tap Bluetooth. Then tap to turn it on.

How to connect your iPhone to your Mac without USB with AirDrop

1. Open a Finder Window on your Mac. And click AirDrop.

Set Up Airdrop For Sending Files Wirelessly

Then in your AirDrop window click on the drop down menu to set up how you’d like your Mac discoverable.

Either Contacts Only, or Everyone.

2. On your iPhone pick what you want to send to your Mac.

You can Airdrop iPhone photos from your device’s Photos app. Tap on the photo or photos you want to send. Then tap on the Share icon. Then tap to AirDrop to your Mac.

To AirDrop Contact information from your Contacts.

Go to the contact you want to AirDrop. Scroll down and tap on Share Contact. Tap on your Mac computer on your iPhone’s share screen to AirDrop.

File transfer your Notes. And all sorts of files from your iPhone.  Navigate to what you want to send. And as long as you have a share option you can AirDrop without using USB.

Bluetooth Connect iPhone To MacBook Without USB

You can use Bluetooth when your iPhone and Mac. Or MacBook are close by.

Bluetooth only works within 33 feet.

Personally, I’ve found it a bit hit and miss as a connection method. But when it works between your iPhone and your MacBook it’s pretty effective. Or your iPad and MacBook. And a godsend when you’re in a bind with no access to USB or WIFI.

Bluetooth on your iPhone doesn’t only allow you to connect to accessories with your Phone.

You can use Bluetooth to file transfer to your Mac with no USB cable. And to allow your Mac to use your iPhone as a WIFI hotspot for your Mac.

How to Connect iPhone to MacBook without USB cable on Bluetooth

Or connect your Mac on Bluetooth.

Remember over Bluetooth you can only pair one iOS device with your Mac at a time. Either your iPhone or your iPad.

Switch on Bluetooth on your Mac then.

1. Tap Settings on your iPhone. Then scroll down and tap to toggle on Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Connect iPhone to Mac No USB

You’ll see from the image above that the iPhone has no Wi-Fi or Cellular. But Bluetooth is toggled on.

2. Wait for your Mac to come up under Other Devices.

It could take a while before your Mac appears. When it does.

3. Then tap connect to connect with Bluetooth to your MacBook.

Bluetooth On iPhone Tap On Mac

4. Your Mac will ask you to confirm the connection request from your iPhone.

You’ll need to confirm you want to connect the first time you connect.

Bluetooth iPhone Connect Request

You may need to type in a code to pair your iOS device and your Mac.

5. Select the photo, contact information, or Note you want to share.

Click on the share icon.

iPhone Share Icon

Or share contact in the case of a contact.

Then you tap AirDrop. 

Yes, I know it seems strange. But AirDrop is the mechanism to send files to your Mac when you’ve no USB. No Wifi. And only Bluetooth. And as long as you’re close enough to your Mac.

In my testing the sent file appeared pretty fast.

6. Use your iPhone as an Internet Hotspot over Bluetooth.

Plus, when you’ve only your Phone as your iOS device. But you do have access to data on your iPhone cellular plan. You can use your phone as your personal hotspot over Bluetooth.

And connect your Mac to the internet over Bluetooth.

Go to your iPhone settings, Personal Hotspot and tap to toggle the switch on.

How To Connect iPhone To Mac Without USB Port

When you’ve damaged your USB port. Or ports on your Mac. And you can’t use them to even setup connecting your iPhone in finder. Even with a borrowed USB cable.

Then you can connect over WIFI or Bluetooth.

Check how to, in the sections all about that in this article.

You can even set up your iPhone as a remote to control Apple TV on your Mac. Click the linked text to find out about that.

In Closing

In this article you discovered ways you can connect to your Mac from your iPhone. And without USB. You can backup, sync, send iPhone photos, music downloaded to your iPhone. All to your Mac.

Anything with a share icon by it or share option.

Check out our site for more iPhone tips, tricks and tutorials.

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