How to use nearby sharing in Windows 11

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If you love the ease of sharing files wirelessly on a Mac with AirDrop, you’ll be glad to know you can do something similar on Windows 11 with Near Sharing, which comes built-in. Here’s how to use it.

Requirements

As of July 2022, to use Nearby Sharing in Windows 11, both Windows devices between which you want to transfer files must support Bluetooth 4.0 or later with Bluetooth LE support. As long as both PCs have Bluetooth, you can also share files between Windows 10 and Windows 11.

If you don’t have Bluetooth on your PC, there’s good news on the horizon: Microsoft is experimenting with versions of Windows 11 that can use Wi-Fi instead, or even a standard wired network connection over UDP. We suspect that this update could arrive later in 2022 with the 22H2 update or even earlier.

Nearby Sharing currently only supports individual file transfers, not folders. But as a workaround, you can zip the folder before sharing and then unzip it on the receiving machine.

RELATED: What is Bluetooth?

First, enable nearby sharing

To use Nearby Sharing in Windows 11, you first need to make sure it’s enabled. To do so, press Windows + i to open the Settings app. Or you can right click on the Start menu and select “Settings”.

In Settings, select “System”, then click “Nearby Sharing”.

In the Nearby Sharing settings, locate the “Nearby Sharing” section and expand it if necessary. Then click a radio button next to “Only my devices” or “All nearby.” If you choose “Only my devices,” you can only transfer files between devices that are signed in to the same Microsoft account. “Everyone Nearby” refers to any nearby Windows computers.

Note: The Settings app will remind you if you don’t have Bluetooth enabled with a little notification message. If that’s the case, follow the link to enable Bluetooth, then go back to System > Nearby Sharing.

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After that, you can configure where the Nearby Sharing files are saved by clicking “Change”, or you can follow a link to rename your device in System > About, which is how your Windows PC will appear to others. people who can share files with you. .

If you change your mind and want to disable Nearby Sharing later, you can click the “Nearby Sharing” button in Quick Settings, or you can navigate to Settings > System > Nearby Sharing and select the “Off” option.

RELATED: How to activate Bluetooth in Windows 11

How to share files with nearby sharing

Now that nearby sharing is enabled, sharing a file is pretty easy. First, locate the file in File Explorer or on your desktop. Right-click the file and select the Share icon (a square with an arrow pointing to the right) from the menu that appears.

A special sharing window will open and you will see the “Nearby Sharing” section. Windows will discover any nearby Windows PCs (can be Windows 10 or 11) that also have nearby sharing enabled and match the restrictions set in Settings (your devices vs. all devices). Click the name of the PC you want to share the file with.

In a pop-up window in the bottom right corner of the screen, you’ll see a notice that you’re sharing with that PC and waiting for the device to accept. On the receiving PC, you will also see a pop-up window. Select “Save.”

Windows will wirelessly transfer the file to the other PC and you will see a confirmation message that the transfer was successful. You can open the file instantly by clicking “Open”, select “Open Folder” to view its location or dismiss the notification.

Advice: By default, Nearby Sharing saves files to your Downloads folder, but that can be changed in Settings > System > Nearby Sharing. (See the previous section for more information.)

When nearby sharing is complete, you'll see a confirmation message.

And that is! From now on, you can share files with any nearby Windows PC that also has nearby sharing enabled, including Windows 10 PCs. Happy relocations!

RELATED: How to use nearby sharing in Windows 10