For a long time now, Android didn’t have an integrated alternative to Apple’s AirDrop feature. Users could download third-party options from the Play Store, but it still wasn’t as convenient as Apple’s solution. Today that changes with the new Nearby Share feature on Android.
Google teased Nearby Share back in June, a feature that Android users have been waiting for years. Similar to AirDrop, it allows you to share files with other Android users without going through extra steps. It uses a combination of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and Wi-Fi to create a peer-to-peer connection between the devices, allowing Android users to share files even when not connected to the internet.
Nearby Share is slowly rolling out to all devices running Android 6.0 and later, and the feature also works with Chromebooks. However, it still is in beta testing, which is why you might haven’t seen it on your device yet.
If you are trying to get your hands on Android’s Nearby Share, then you can follow this guide to enable and use this feature on your device.
If you have a Google Pixel, OnePlus, or a Samsung Galaxy device, then you probably already have the Nearby Share feature. Just make sure to check for updates in the Play Store.
On other Android devices, you will have to opt-in for the beta of Google Play services. Here’s how to do it:
- First, click here to go to the Google Play services app page on the Play Store.
- If you don’t get redirected to the Play Store app, then tap Open in Play Store App below the page.
- Tap Join under “Join the beta” section on the Google Play service app page.
- Tap Join again to confirm joining the beta program.
After a few minutes, go to My apps & games section of the Play Store. You should see an update pending for Google Play services. Tap Update next to it and wait for the app to get updated.
Once you have the beta version of Google Play services installed on your Android device, you can enable Nearby Share and use it.
The following steps will show you how to enable Nearby Share on your Android device:
- First, go to Settings and scroll down to the Google option.
- On the following page, tap Device connections, then select Nearby Share from the options.
- After that, toggle the slider and tap Turn on. Nearby Share will be enabled on your Android device.
From the Nearby Share menu, you can also change your Device name when sharing files, as well as select a different Google account. You will also be able to change your Device visibility and choose who you want to share files with. Furthermore, tapping Data usage will let you decide whether you wish to share files over Wi-Fi, data, or without internet.
To use Nearby Share on your Android device and share something with other Android users, you will have to add the user to your contacts first. Once you do that, sharing media files and links through Nearby Share is a straightforward process.
- Tap the Share icon in your preferred app to open up the Android Share menu.
- Now swipe up to expand the Share menu and select Nearby Share from the apps list.
- Tap Turn on to enable Nearby Share if asked. After that, it will scan for the contact nearby you.
- Select the device from the list that you want to share your file or link with.
Once your contact accepts the sharing request, a temporary connection will establish between the devices for the file/link sharing to work.
If someone’s trying to share a file or link with you over Nearby Share, then you will be prompted on your device about it. The whole process goes as follows:
- A notification from Nearby Share should pop-up above the screen. Tap it, then tap Turn on to enable Nearby Share.
- Your Android device should begin scanning for the sender. Tap Accept to accept the share from your contact.
That’s how you can accept Nearby Share requests on Android. It’s relatively simple and intuitive compared to third-party alternatives, and the software integration is seamless.
In this guide, we have shown you the workaround to enable Nearby Share on your Android device and use it to share files and links with others. If you don’t want your device to be visible around your contacts, then you can hide it from the Device visibility option in the Nearby Share menu.
Since the Google Play services app controls all other Google apps on your Android device, updating to the beta version might cause instability. However, you can opt-out of the beta program and revert back to the stable version whenever you want.
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