How to use Nearby Share on Android

How to use Nearby Share on Android

Thanks to the introduction of Nearby Share, it's now easier than ever to transfer photos, videos and even apps between Android devices. Google's answer to Apple's AirDrop, Nearby Share makes it possible to send media to your contacts in mere seconds.

Learn how to setup, activate and use this feature with our handy guide below.

Can my Android use Nearby Share?

Nearby Share is available for phones running on Android 6.0 or higher. If you're not sure if your device can use it, simply follow the steps below to find out:

  1. Open Settings and scroll down until you reach Google.
  2. Select Google and tap Device Connections.
  3. If your device can use Nearby Share, you should see it listed here.
  4. Tap on Nearby Share if you'd like to customise settings. From this screen you can turn it on or off, adjust device visibility, adjust data usage and link your handset to your Google account.

How does Nearby Share work?

Nearby Share can use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or NFC to transfer files between two devices. If it's possible to transfer files in numerous ways (e.g. both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), Nearby Share will intelligently select the most suitable option. Large files, for example, are best sent via a reliable Wi-Fi connection.

You can also edit your preferred sharing options. If you'd like to allow it to use your mobile data, or disable all internet transfers, it's possible to do so. Just head to Settings > Google > Device Connections > Nearby Share > Data Usage and you can choose from the following three options:

Data: Best for small files
Wi-Fi only: Prevents data from being used
Without internet: Files will always be shared offline

You can also edit your visibility settings from the main Nearby Share menu. Choose from:

All Contacts: All of your current contacts with Nearby Share open will be able to see your device.
Some Contacts: You can pick and choose contacts that can see your device.
Hidden: Nobody can see your device - you'll need to change this if you want to receive a file.


How to use Nearby Share

Using Nearby Share is really easy - just make sure you've turned the feature on in Settings before you begin. You'll also need to double check that the device you're sending a file to is compatible, Bluetooth and their location services are enabled, and their screen switched on.

To send something with Nearby Share, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Open the file, link or other form of media you'd like to send and locate the Share button. This may be hidden under a Menu (the three-dot icon) if it's not immediately visible.
  2. From here, tap Nearby Share.
  3. Select Turn On if Nearby Share if it's currently disabled.
  4. The feature will begin searching for contacts.
  5. Select your preferred contact from the list, and the transfer will begin.

To ensure it is successful, the receiver must make their device visible and accept the transfer of files every single time. This makes it impossible to suddenly receive files - even if it's from someone you've shared with before - without consenting first.


What devices can I use Nearby Share with?

Nearby Share will work with any Android phone also running Android 6.0 or higher, and Chromebooks with Chrome OS 87.

However, Nearby Share currently cannot be used with any iOS device (such as an iPhone, iPad or MacBook), or a Windows computer.

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