Instashare: Free AirDrop-like File Sharing for iPads and Macs


Instashare is a new app for iOS and OS X devices that lets you share files wirelessly for free over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. I’ve been playing with it on and off for the last week, and I have to say I have been impressed with its capabilities. More importantly, it could have some great uses for a tech savvy teacher in the classroom.

How does it work? Simple really. The Instashare app acts like a bridge between your devices. You send files from your device to Instashare, and Instashare sends it to a device within Bluetooth range, or on the same Wi-Fi network. Best of all, it works with almost any file on your iPad via the sharing menu. Simply select to open your file in another app, and then send it to Instashare.

It works with Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and anything you can put in your Camera Roll. It works with Google Drive, Notability and just about any other app that lets you open your final product into another app. Notable exclusions include the likes of Garageband and Educreations.

Free iPad Files Sharing with Instashare

In the classroom, this could certainly add flexibility to the use of the iPad. Imagine a collaborative writing project where each student writes a part of the story and then sends it to the next student via Instashare. The same could be done with a collaborative video project. If all students need access to a video shot on one iPad, the owner could share it with others so that they can work on the media in iMovie or other video apps.

Videos taking up too much storage? Students can share their iMovie or ExplainEverything projects with the teacher’s Mac, and then have them saved to a flash drive or burned to a DVD. Want to add a video from your Mac to a Keynote presentation on your iPad? No problem. Send it to your Camera Roll via Instashare. It could even be a useful way for students to hand in assignments to their teacher, although currently it does not support more than one transfer at the same time. Still, it does mean no printing, no email, no fuss.

The iOS app is free, and so is the Mac app (currently listed as BETA). A Windows app is in the works, and so is an Android version. It is unclear right now as to whether they will all communicate with each other, but I am sure that would be the plan. Transferring files from iPad to iPad was almost flawless for me and worked almost every time. Going from my Mac to an iPad was a little more inconsistent at times and occasionally produced an error message, but it is a BETA app so it will surely become more reliable in time as they continue to develop it.

So, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to transfer files between iOS devices, or to and from a Mac, take a look at Instashare. The free version of the iOS app is ad supported, but these can be removed for a 99c in-app purchase.


17 thoughts on “Instashare: Free AirDrop-like File Sharing for iPads and Macs”

  1. Hi Jonathan.
    Thanks for your article.
    The app looks quite nice and works without errors. But there is a great disadvantage:
    If an app like Keynote provides a PDF Instashare does not appear in the app list of the ‘Open in’ command.

    1. Yes and no. You can share files between devices with Dropbox, either by sharing a link or by sharing the file or folder. Instashare does this without any email account so could be used by students under 13 or to share files with those who do not have an email address.

  2. Should it be taking a ridiculously long time to find my Mac from my ipad. I would love to use this app with my class as I’m looking for a file share solution which does not require an email account. However it’s been 10 minutes and my ipad is still trying to find my mac. I have both my wifi and bluetooth connected. Is there something I can do to speed up the process?

    Many thanks.

    1. No, as long as your Mac and iPad are on the same Wi-Fi network, it should pick it up right away. Maybe try it on another network to see if it is a network issues. So, if you are trying it at school, try it at home and see if it works there. If it does work at home, you might need to talk to your Tech people about that. Else, you can email Instashare for support via this contact form : – Good luck!

  3. I really like the concept of this app, so I can view documents over my devices. Have managed to successfully send a word document from my mac to my iPad, but I cannot open it. Do I need a preview app on my iPad to open these documents?

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