AirDrop is one of Mac OS X Lion’s star attractions. It’s a breakthrough in speed, simplicity, and efficiency. There’s no setup, no passwords involved. It lets you copy files to someone else’s Mac up to 30 feet away, instantly and wirelessly; you don’t need an Internet connection or even a WiFi network. It works on a flight, a beach, or a sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic. It also works if you are on a WiFi network, doing other things online.

To give someone a file, you and your lucky recipient must each open your respective AirDrop window. To do that, you can click the AirDrop icon (at the top of the Sidebar in any Finder window), choose Go→AirDrop, or press Shift--R.

The window shown in Figure 14-3 appears. After a moment, it fills up with icons for everyone nearby who’s running a wireless Lion Mac (and who’s opened their AirDrop windows). They don’t have to do anything else; their icons show up automatically.

All you have to do is drag a file or folder icon, or several, onto the icon of the intended recipient. When the Mac asks if you’re sure, click Send or press Return. Now the message says, “Waiting for [the other Mac’s name] to accept.”

The recipient now sees a message that says, “[Other guy’s Mac] wants to send you [the file’s name].” And there are three options: Save and Open, Decline, and Save.

If the lucky winner clicks one of the Save buttons, the file transfer proceeds ...

Get Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Lion Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.