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What Is Nearby Sharing on Android?

Android Nearby Share is a convenient file sharing option for Android devices. Nearby Share is a relatively new Android add-on coming in mid-2020 on a limited number of devices. As the number of devices capable of using Nearby Share grows, here’s your handy guide on how it works.

What is Android Share Nearby?

Android Nearby Share is Android’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop feature. IOS devices have long been able to transfer files wirelessly. Just hold the phones close to each other, turn on AirDrop and start transferring files. Android users have long been asking Google to hurry up and implement a similar feature – in fact, the best part of a decade.

Google is now rolling out Nearby Share to Android devices running Android 6.0 and up. Deployment of Nearby Share started with Google Pixel and Samsung devices and is already starting to appear on other devices. In addition, Android operating systems such as LineageOS are implementing Nearby Share in their latest updates.

Android actually had an earlier answer to Apple’s AirDrop. It was known as Android Beam and used NFC to transfer files, contacts, and other data. However, it did not become as popular as AirDrop, and in 2019 Google made the decision to change this process, which led us to Nearby Share.

In case you’re wondering, Windows has a file sharing option.

How does the Android Close Share feature work?

Nearby Share allows you to transfer files between Android devices in close proximity. But how does Sharing work?

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Android Nearby Share creates a temporary connection between devices. The process chooses the best protocol automatically, choosing from Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or Wi-Fi peer-to-peer. The variety of sharing options means you don’t need an active network connection to complete the transfer.

You open the Nearby Sharing app on your device and make it visible to other users. You can then share with them (or vice versa), requiring a couple of extra taps to accept or reject the incoming file. As you will see in the guide below, the whole process is simple.

While Android Nearby Share is useful for small files, you’ll have to try other options for large files or multiple folders. Learn how to transfer data to your new Android phone to learn more about transferring data from Android.

How to use Android Close Share

Let’s see how you can use the Nearby Share feature. You will need an Android device running Android 6.0 or later. As mentioned above, Nearby Share was originally available for Google Pixel and Samsung devices. You may not have Nearby Share on your Android device yet, but it’s coming soon!

To check if your device can use Nearby Share, open the Android settings menu (usually the gear icon) and search for the nearest resource. If this option is displayed, your device should be able to use this feature. Otherwise, you will have to wait for future updates.

The next Android Nearby Share transfer was between a Nexus 6 running LineageOS 17.1 and a Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 9.0.

  1. Open Nearby Share, then select Enable.
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    1. Find the file you want to share, then tap the Share icon. Select Share Nearby.

    1. Then a little switching between devices starts. The recipient device will receive a notification that a nearby Device is sharing and that you must click on the notification to make it visible.
    2. After switching to Visible mode, you can accept (or reject) the incoming file. If you agree, the file will be transferred fairly quickly, depending on the size of the file. Once the transfer is complete, your own file manager will open displaying the new file.

    Android Nearby Share selects the best transfer protocol automatically, but you can change it. For example, you can turn on Bluetooth connection to request the Share function to use this option.

    Android Nearby Share on Chromebooks

    Google is also adding Android Nearby Share to your Chromebook. Within the Google ecosystem, you will be able to quickly and easily share files between Chromebooks and Android devices. However, this feature has not yet been fully implemented in Chromebooks.

    Nearby Share is currently available for the Chrome OS Beta channel hidden behind some experimental Chrome flags. However, after enabling various flags and updating to the latest beta version of Chrome OS, I was still unable to connect my devices using Nearby Share.

    Chromebook and Android Nearby Share are not working at this time. But everything is ready to go, as evidenced by the flags and the appearance of the Nearby Share option in the Chrome OS settings.

    Nearby sharing comes to your Android device

    It won’t take long before you can use Nearby Share on your Android devices and even Chromebooks. Wireless file transfer between similar devices is so important that it begs the question why Google hasn’t launched Android Beam. However, the Nearby Share implementation is finally a boon for Android users.

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