Google has recently unveiled a new feature for Android devices called Nearby Share. The functionality was initially made available for a handful of devices, but Google has now started a larger rollout. Because the feature is baked into Google Play Services, users don’t even have to wait for an OTA update from the manufacturer or carrier to get it. This also means the majority of Android devices will have Nearby Share at some point.
What Is Nearby Share?
Nearby Share is Google’s answer to Apple’s well-established AirDrop service, which allows users of iOS devices to quickly share data with other nearby Apple devices. This is great news since, so far, Android lacked a simple and effective way to share files between 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 makes sharing between Android devices a seamless affair. If we’ve piqued your curiosity, why don’t you go ahead and give it a try yourself? The instructions are listed below.
Does Your Android Support Nearby Share?
To use Nearby Share, you’ll need a phone running Android 6.0 or higher. If you have a phone that was released after 2015, you should be good to go. Nevertheless, if you want to make absolutely sure that’s indeed the case, you can check your Android version by going to “Settings -> About Phone -> Android version.” Depending on your phone model, you may need to access an alternative route, like “Settings -> System -> About Phone -> Android version.”
However, just because your phone runs the right Android version doesn’t necessarily mean you can use Nearby Share. For the time being, the feature is only available on selected Google, Samsung, LG, ASUS, Xiaomi, and OnePlus phones. Since the rollout of the feature is still ongoing, the best thing to do is to check yourself if your device has it or not.
Turn on Nearby Share on Your Device
To turn on Nearby Share on your handset, you need to open “Settings -> Google -> Device Connections -> Nearby Share.” If the feature is not there, it means you still have some waiting to do before it makes its way to your Android.
You could try to force Google Play Services to update in the hopes of unlocking the feature this way. Go to “Settings -> Apps & Notification -> See all apps -> Google Play Services -> Advanced -> App Details.” From there tap Update (if it’s available) or Install if you don’t have the service on your phone (but it’s unlikely).
If you do see Nearby Share listed here, tap on it and toggle it on. In the same menu, 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.
The first option means that your phone will be visible to all your contacts (those you have saved in your phone’s address book) that 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).
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 Content 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.
1. Open the content you want to share, like a picture or a video.
2. Tap “Share” and search for the “Nearby Share” option. (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.
Note: the two devices will need to relatively close for Nearby Share to function properly. The two gadgets also have to have Bluetooth and locations services enabled.
Nearby Share is extremely useful is you’re looking to share files in-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.