AirDrop for Android: How to Use Android Nearby Share

android sharing nearby

Nearby Sharing is the answer to Apple’s AirDrop that Android users have been waiting for: a universal method of sharing links, photos, and files between devices. Here’s how to set it up and start sharing.

There are many apps you can use to share things on Android. The problem is that the recipient must use the same app. Sharing nearby is like AirDrop on iPhone, iPad and Mac. It’s built into (almost) all Android devices, and there’s no need to download a separate app.

RELATED: What is close to Android sharing and does it work like AirDrop?

Nearby sharing is compatible with all Android 6.0+ devices. Google Pixel and Samsung devices are the first to get it. The functionality is integrated into the phones via Google play services, a component of Android devices supplied with the Google Play Store. To get started, let’s make sure Play Services are up to date.

Check if you have a share nearby

Open Google on your Android device and search for “Google Play Services”. Tap the “Google Play Services” result in the “Applications” section.

search for google play services

This will take you to the app Play Store sheet. Hit the “Update” button if you see it.

google play services
Your app’s listing may not say “Beta”

Then open the “Settings” menu on your Android phone. You can either swipe up from the top of the screen and tap the “Gear” icon, or open the apps list from the home screen and locate the “Settings” app. From there, select the “Google” option.

google settings

Scroll down, select “Device Connections,” then search for “Nearby Sharing.”

google device connections

If “Nearby Sharing” is listed, we can move on to its configuration.

nearby device connections share

Set up nearby Android sharing

Open the Settings menu on your Android phone. You can swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the “Gear” icon, or find the Settings app in your app drawer after swiping your finger on the Home screen . From there, tap on the “Google” option.

google settings

Go to Device connections> Nearby sharing.

nearby device connections share

Toggle the switch at the top of the screen to enable Nearby Sharing (if you haven’t already).

enable sharing nearby

Tap “Device Name” to give your Android phone a new name.

rename device

You can now select “Device visibility” to adjust the privacy settings.

device visibility

There are three visibility options to choose from:

  • All contacts: All your contacts with Share nearby will be able to see your device. You will be able to see all nearby devices with nearby sharing open.
  • Some contacts: You choose which contacts will be able to see your device. You will be able to see all nearby devices with nearby sharing open.
  • Hidden: No one can see your device. You will be able to see all nearby devices with nearby sharing open.

device visibility options

“All Contacts” and “Hidden” do not require additional configuration.

If you are using “Certain contacts”, you will need to select the contacts individually. Scroll down and tap the toggle next to a contact to allow them to see your device.

choose some contacts

Return to the previous screen where your aircraft visibility choices were made.

Tap “Data” and select the data usage option that matches your needs. After making a selection, press “Update” or “Cancel”.

data usage options

Use Android Nearby Sharing

You are now ready to share something with Share Nearby. First, you’ll need to find a receiving device that also has nearby sharing, the screen on, and Bluetooth and location services turned on.

Nearby Sharing can be started from a number of different places. For this example, we’ll try to share a link.

Open any web browser, such as Chrome, on your Android phone and tap the three-dot “Menu” icon.

browser menu icon

Then select the “Share” button.

browser sharing

This will bring up the apps / shortcuts you can use to share. Find “Share nearby” in the list and tap it.

nearby share icon in share sheet

Depending on your device and the item you are sharing, nearby sharing may also appear as a shortcut, as shown below.

close share shortcut

Nearby Sharing will start to search for nearby devices.

analysis of nearby shares

The receiving device will receive a notification stating “The nearby device is sharing”. The recipient can then press the notification to become visible to the sender.

nearby sharing notification
Notification on the receiving device.

Once the receiving device is visible, it will appear on the sending device. Select it from the list.

nearby share select a device

The receiving device will now be prompted to “Accept” or “Decline” the incoming item, which in this case is a link as it appears at the top of the screen.

sharing nearby accept sharing
Confirmation on the receiving device.

That’s all! The link has been sent.

close sharing complete

Links are an example, but the process is exactly the same for sharing photos and files. Just search for “Share Nearby” in the share menu to use the feature. Upon receipt, you will still be asked to become visible and confirm receipt of the content.

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