HomeTechnologyNewsHow to use Android Nearby Sharing

How to use Android Nearby Sharing

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Justin Duino / Instruction Geek

Open the content you would like to share with a nearby device and tap the share icon. Choose “Nearby” from the menu and select a device with “Nearby Sharing” enabled. You can set how nearby sharing works by going to Settings > Google > Devices and sharing > Nearby sharing.

iPhones and Macs have a useful feature called “AirDrop” that makes it very easy to share content between devices. The Google equivalent is called “Nearby Share” and it’s something you should know how to use. Let’s use AirDrop for Android.

What is Near Share on Android?

Near Share uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or NFC to send content between Android devices, Windows PCs, and Chromebooks wirelessly. It’s natively integrated into Android and Chrome OS (Windows users need to download an app), making it the closest thing Google’s ecosystem has to Apple’s AirDrop.

Note: Google Near Share only works between Android devices, Chromebooks, and Windows PCs. It doesn’t work with iPhone, iPad, or Mac. We call it AirDrop for Android here because it’s the closest thing Android has to AirDrop, but unfortunately, it doesn’t support AirDrop on Apple devices.

To use Near Share, you simply need to find a device that is nearby, has an unlocked screen, and has Bluetooth and location services turned on. A notification will appear on the receiving device requesting that it become visible to the sender. The sender then selects the receiving device and that’s it.

Near Share also has a number of privacy options. You can choose who you want to be able to see your device to receive content. Since it’s tied to your Google account, you can choose individual people to allow or block, or limit it to just their devices.

How to “AirDrop” on Android with Near Share

Near Share can be accessed from the share menu on Android devices, just like you would with another app or a contact. Before we start sending things, let’s make sure Near Share is enabled and set to your liking.

Open the Settings app on your Android phone or tablet and select the “Google” section.

select "Google".

Go to “Devices and sharing.”

go to "Devices and sharing".

Select “Nearby Sharing”.

select "Share nearby".

First, make sure the “Use Nearby Sharing” option is turned on at the top of the screen.

active "Use nearby shares".

Next, select “Device visibility” and choose who you want to see your device.

Go to "device visibility" and choose.

Now select the section under “Device visibility” (it will be called “Data”, “Wi-Fi only” or “No Internet”, depending on the selection) and choose how you want the content to be sent.

Choose a data usage option.

Ok, we’re ready to use Near Share now. The process will look the same no matter what you’re sharing. Open the content you would like to share (photo, document, video, link, etc.) and tap the share icon.

Select “Nearby” in the sharing menu. It may be anchored at the top of the menu.

select "Nearly".

Now tap on the device you would like to send the content to.

Choose a device to share with.

The circle around the device will turn green when the share is successful. Tap “Done” to finish.

Share full, tap "Ready".

It’s really that simple. Once you’ve set up all your devices, and other people have set up their devices, it’s a pretty straightforward process. Transfers usually happen very quickly.

How to change device visibility for nearby sharing

You can customize who can see your Android device when you use Near Share by going to Settings > Google > Devices and sharing > Near Share. This is what it looks like.

Open the Settings app on your Android phone or tablet and select the “Google” section.

select "Google".

Go to “Devices and sharing.”

go to "Devices and sharing".

Select “Nearby Sharing”.

select "Share nearby".

First, make sure the “Use Nearby Sharing” option is turned on at the top of the screen.

active "Use nearby shares".

Then select “Device visibility”.

select "device visibility".

You have three options here:

  • All: Anyone close to you can share with you, but you’ll be asked to approve transfers.
  • Contacts: You can choose which contacts will be able to see your device.
  • your devices– Only devices associated with your Google account can share with you

Device visibility options.

If you select “All”, you can also choose to use the mode temporarily, which will revert to the previous mode after a few minutes, or keep it on all the time.

Device visibility options "All".

If you select “Contacts”, you can choose to be “Visible to all contacts” or select individuals.

Device visibility options "Contacts".

That’s all there is to device visibility. It’s great to have so much control over who can and can’t see your devices.


There are many different ways to transfer content between devices. Windows has a similar feature with a very similar name, eg. Google’s solution with Near Share is one of the best options because it doesn’t require any third-party apps. If you have an Android device, you have Near Share, and that goes for anyone you want to share things with. So can you AirDrop on Android? A bit.

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