Sharing photos and other files from device to device has always been a struggle. Many Android users have been envious of Apple’s Airdrop feature, but Google created its own version of this feature called Nearby Share. Nearby Share lets you share all kinds of information between our favorite Android devices and the best Chromebooks. Let’s look at what Nearby Share is and how to use it.

What is Nearby Share?

So what exactly is Nearby Share? Nearby Share is a feature that allows you to share all kinds of things wirelessly between Android devices. This feature allows you to share files, links, apps, photos, and more. Nearby Share chooses the optimal protocol from Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to share your data safely and efficiently. Both the person sharing the data and the person receiving the data must accept the request, which makes the feature fairly secure.


Now that you know a bit more about Nearby Share, let’s look at how to set it up.

How to enable Nearby Share

Nearby Share’s visibility in Android’s Settings menu varies based on your phone’s manufacturer. Here’s how you find the feature On Samsung (and some other) phones.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Connected devices in the settings menu.

  3. Tap Connection Preferences.
  4. Tap Nearby Share near the bottom of the screen.
  5. Turn on the Use Nearby Share toggle.

These instructions work for most Android phones, but depending on your phone manufacturer, these instructions may vary slightly.

If you’re having trouble finding Nearby Share in the Settings app, you can enable the feature through the Files app.

  1. Open the Files by Google app. If the app isn’t preinstalled on your device, download the Files by Google app from the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap the hamburger menu in the upper-left corner.

  3. Select Settings.
  4. Scroll down and tap Nearby Share in the Share section of the Settings menu.
  5. Turn on the Use Nearby Share toggle.

No matter how you’ve enabled it, you can now share files using Nearby Share.

How to change your Nearby Share visibility

Now that you’ve enabled Nearby Share, make sure you’re only sharing with the people you want to.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Connected devices from the menu.

  3. Tap Connection preferences.
  4. Tap Nearby Share.

  5. In the Nearby Share settings, tap the words Device visibility.
  6. Select your visibility settings.
    • Everyone – Any Android device can share with you.
    • Contacts – Anyone in your contacts with an Android device can share with you.
    • Your devices – Only devices that are signed in with your Google account can share with you.

Now that you have chosen who you want to share with, it’s time to get sharing.

How to use Nearby Share to share something

Now that you’ve enabled Nearby Share and changed your visibility, it’s time to start sharing. To share something with Nearby Share, share anything on your phone. A photo, a link, an app, anything. Just tap the Share button.

  1. Select the item you’d like to share.
  2. Tap the Share button. You may have to tap a More or equivalent button depending on the app you’re sharing from.

  3. Tap the Nearby Share button.
  4. Choose a device to share with.
  5. When the user of the device you’re sharing with accepts the request, your item is shared with them.
  6. Once you’re done sharing the item, tap the Done button.

Nearby Share makes it easy to share anything with a couple of taps.

How to accept an item shared through Nearby Share

What if you’re on the receiving end of a Nearby Share? Accepting a shared item is even easier than sharing one.

  1. Wait for a Nearby Share notification to pop up.

  2. Tap the Accept button.

You have now received an item from someone else with Nearby Share.

How to share an app with Nearby Share

In addition to sharing links, photos, and other files, Nearby Share can share apps.

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select Manage apps & device.

  4. Tap the Send button next to the Share apps section.
  5. Choose the apps you want to share.

  6. Tap the Send button (the paper airplane in the upper-right corner).
  7. Select the device to send the apps to.

  8. When the other person confirms the pairing code, they must accept the sharing request before your apps can be shared with them.

How to receive an app through Nearby Share

Sharing apps is great, but how about receiving that cool app your friend discovered?

  1. Launch the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
  3. From the list of options, tap Manage apps & device.

  4. Next to Share apps, select Receive.
  5. Once the other person has selected your device, confirm their pairing code matches the one on your screen and tap Receive.
  6. When the apps are sent to you, tap Install next to the apps you want to install and then tap the Disconnect button.

Share with some guy nearby

Nearby Share makes sharing anything across your Android and Chromebook devices easy. Luckily, using Nearby Share on Chromebooks is just as easy as on an Android device. Give it a go!

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