How to Share Files and Apps on Android with Nearby Share

How To Use Nearby Share Connection Featured

Last year Google unveiled a new feature for Android devices called Nearby Share. Initially made available on a handful of models, the functionality is currently widely available on Android devices. Here we show you what Nearby Share can do and how you can use it to share files and apps on your Android device.

What Is Nearby Share?

Nearby Share is Google’s answer to Apple’s well-established AirDrop service, which allows iOS users to quickly share data with other nearby Apple devices. It’s an incredibly helpful addition since, until recently, Android lacked a simple and effective way to share files between Android devices. The closest thing Google had was Android Beam, but that feature required actual physical touch between the devices and never proved to be as popular as AirDrop.

With the introduction of Nearby Share, Google finally made sharing between Android devices a seamless affair.

How to Turn on Nearby Share on Your Device

To use Nearby Share, you’ll need a phone running Android 6.0 or higher. The feature should be on by default. In case you’re not seeing it, go to “Settings -> Google -> Device & sharing -> Nearby Share” and toggle it on.

How To Use Nearby Share Enable Option

On the same page, you can change your Device Name and Device Visibility. Google has designed this feature with privacy in mind, so it allows you to send or receive files anonymously. (Name the phone whatever you want.) You can also select which contacts (all, some, or none) will be able to see your device when you turn Nearby Share on.

How To Use Nearby Share Panel

The first option means your phone will be visible to all your contacts (those you have saved in your phone’s address book) who also have Nearby Share turned on. But there’s a caveat here – for this to actually work, you’ll need to have the email addresses for all your contacts (those that are linked to their Google accounts, to be more specific).

How To Use Nearby Device Visibility

Moreover, in the Nearby Share settings, there’s also the option to choose whether you want to send stuff using Data, Wi-Fi Only, or Without Internet (Bluetooth). Naturally, if you’re planning to send larger files, you should opt for one of the two latter options.

How to Share Files with Someone

You can use Nearby Share to send things like photos, documents, links, and more. As we mentioned above, the person you’re sharing with also has to have Nearby Share turned on.

How To Use Nearby Share Send Image

1. Open the content you want to share, like a picture or a video.

2. Tap “Share” and search for “Nearby Share.” (You may need to expand the Share option and look for it there.)

3. Your phone will start searching for devices in its vicinity it can share to.

4. Once a device (or more) becomes visible, tap on the name of the device you want to share to and wait a few seconds.

5. The other party needs to accept your request, and once they do, the picture or video will be quickly transferred to their phone.

How To Use Nearby Share Accept Sharing

Note: the two devices will need to be relatively close for Nearby Share to function properly. The two gadgets also have to have Bluetooth and location services enabled.

How to Share an App with Nearby Share

Nearby Share now also lets you share apps between devices through the Google Play Store. In this section, you’ll learn how to use this recently-added feature.

1. Open the Google Play app on the phone which has the app you want to share.

2. Tap on your profile picture in the upper-right corner.

How To Use Nearby Device Profile Icon

3. Select “My apps & games” at the top.

How To Use Nearby Device My Apps And Games Option

4. Find the Share tab and click on it.

How To Use Nearby Device Share Tab

5. Select “Send” and then Continue.

How To Use Nearby Device Send Apps

6. From the sender’s phone, select the apps you wish to send. Once you’ve done that, click on the green send arrow.

How To Use Nearby Share Select Apps

7. On the receiver’s phone, follow the same steps 1 through 4. When you get to step 5, select “Receive” instead of “Send.”

How To Use Nearby Device Recieve Apps

8. The receiver will need to confirm a pairing code by pressing on the “Receive” button.

How To Use Nearby Share Confirm Sharing Code

9. Back on the sender’s phone, choose the device you wish to send the app(s) to.

How To Use Nearby Share Select Receiver

10. The apps should start making their way to the receiver’s phone. The feature works over Wi-Fi and cellular network, as well as Bluetooth.

How To Use Nearby Share Reciever Phone Sent Apps

11. The receiver can now select which apps they want to install on their device.

12. When you wish to end the session, tap on the Disconnect button at the top.

How To Use Nearby Share Disconnect

Nearby Share is extremely useful if you’re looking to share files between two Android devices. But if you have to send large files from your Android phone to a desktop or laptop instead, you can learn here how to do that.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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