OpenDrop, the open source analog of Apple's AirDrop


Seemoo Lab, a research laboratory specialized in secure mobile networks, hhas developed OpenDrop, an open source implementation of Apple's AirDrop feature. AirDrop is a feature developed by Apple to exchange content with another nearby Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch via the Finder from File Manager on Mac OS systems or Control Center on iOS systems.

The AirDrop feature appeared in Mac OS X v10.7 Lion, but swaps were only possible between Mac. AirDrop has appeared on iOS since the seventh release. It was not until iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite that the exchange between Mac OS and iOS could be made.

AirDrop allows users to instantly share photos, videos, documents and others files with nearby Apple devices via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

About OpenDrop

OpenDrop is a command line tool that allows file sharing between devices directly via Wi-Fi. Its characteristic The only thing is that it supports the Apple AirDrop protocol, which allows you to share files with Apple devices with iOS and macOS.

To ensure compatibility with Apple AirDrop, OpenDrop requires the target platform to support a specific Wi-Fi link layer.

Also, it requires Python 3.6 or later, as well as various other libraries. AirDrop runs exclusively on Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL), but OpenDrop is only supported on Mac OS or Linux systems running an open source re-implementation of AWDL such as OWL.

Its peculiarity is that it is compatible with the protocols used by AirDrop, which allows sharing files with Apple devices with iOS and Mac OS.

So it is only compatible with Apple devices that are in unlimited definition by other users, since the selective definition of devices and the sending through the address book require the certification of the Apple digital signature.

At the protocol level, the implementation is fully compatible with Apple devices, allowing you to organize the interaction of Linux-based systems with iOS and macOS devices.

Although OpenDrop is an option, it still has quite a few limitations, of which we can mention the following:

  • Mac OS and iOS receivers enabled via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): Apple devices start their AWDL interface and AirDrop server only after receiving a custom post via BLE. This means that Apple AirDrop receivers may not be discovered even if everyone can discover them;
  • Sender / Recipient Authentication and Connection Status: Currently, there is no peer-to-peer authentication as in AirDrop.
  • OpenDrop does not verify that the TLS certificate is signed by Apple root and that the Apple ID validation record is correct. Also, OpenDrop automatically accepts all files it receives due to a missing connection status;
  • send multiple files: AirDrop supports simultaneous sending of multiple files, unlike OpenDrop.

As a result, we can see that it is not yet compatible with all AirDrop features or it may be incompatible with future AirDrop versions.

OpenDrop is fully developed in Python and published by Seemoo Lab under the GNU General Public License v3.0.

How to install OpenDrop on Linux?

For those who are interested in being able to install OpenDrop on their Linux distribution pYou can do it by following the instructions we share below.

OpenDrop can be installed with the help of the Python package manager (PIP), the installation by this means can be done by opening a terminal on your system and typing the following command on it:

pip3 install opendrop

Another method to install this package is by downloading the code of this and installing the package with the downloaded.

We do this from the terminal by typing:

git clone

pip3 install ./opendrop

And voila, to learn about the options for use you can execute the command:

opendrop -h

Or you can visit the following link to learn more about it.

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