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What is Nearby Sharing & How it works

What is Nearby Sharing & How it works

I think it's great that you like Android. It's okay, friends? Friends! Let's take a selfie to celebrate. Sure, I'll do it with my phone! Alright, great man, send it to me. Okay.

What is Nearby Sharing & How it works

What is Nearby Sharing & how it works and how to do file sharing?

One thing that just about works every time in the Apple ecosystem is a drop the file-sharing solution and file-sharing has been always messy in Android and trust me, we all wanted a solution for that! Now, not to discourage anyone there has been a feature called "Android Beam" which works based on NFC that was being developed by Google. But that feature has been deprecated in Android Q.

Now, this has prompted other manufacturers like Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi to come up with their own solutions for file-sharing and there are third-party apps that we'll discuss in this article itself for file-sharing.

But now Google is introducing another feature called "fast share" which is now being rebranded as "Nearby share". Google claims that when this feature will be introduced in Android, it will work better than AirDrop.

How you can do file transfer pretty similar to how AirDrop works?

Files by Google

For this, you need to have an app called "Files" which is developed by Google itself which was supposed to be meant for cleaning up and optimizing your storage, but it turns out that it can be used for file transfer as well!

What is Nearby Sharing & How it works

1. To use it, head to the Play Store and search for "Files by Google". 2. Install it, open it up, and there you can find options to optimize your storage.

3. At the bottom of the app, you can find the share option. Tap that and hit "send". Now, the receiving device also should have a "files by google" app so install it if you have not already done that.

4. Once you hit the send or receive button, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will automatically turn on and the app will ask your device's name. The phones will use BlueTooth to find each other and then use Wi-Fi to share files, which would mean that the sharing would be very faster than Android Beam or any other normal Bluetooth transfers.

5. Check whatever files you want to send and hit the send button. Once it is received on the other phone it will show up in the received folder. You can hit disconnect on either of the devices to disconnect. This is pretty similar to AirDrop as you can even use it in the share options on photos. For example, use the share button on photos and hit the "share with Files app" option.

Other Alternatives

Now, there are other apps like 'Xender,' 'Share it' or 'Airdroid' which you can use for Android file transfer but all of them have some of the other flaws, unlike AirDrop does.


First up, AirDrop is not just for photos or file-sharing but can be used in a much more convenient way. You can use airdrop for the transfer of almost anything that you need to share. For example, you can AirDrop a website from your iPad to your friend's phone or you can airdrop text from notes on an iPad or iPhone. This feature can even handle playlist contacts and locations that you've pinned in Apple maps, all of which none of the apps that I mentioned for Android could do or at least not as seamlessly as AirDrop does.

Secondly, a drop comes default in every iOS device. The apps that have mentioned until now for Android require you to install them in both of those devices, make sure that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on then accept the connection in the other device and you say it is basically not seamless.

What is Nearby Sharing & how it works?

Now, this is where the new feature being developed by Google called "Nearby Sharing" comes into play. "Nearby sharing" or "Fast sharing" uses BlueTooth to initiate the handshake between these devices and then subsequently transfer files over a direct Wi-Fi connection.

This will allow larger files to be transferred much more quickly than Android Beam. Google is yet to announce or release this feature but it has been in development for quite some time now. After it was spotted for the first time, this feature has received a revamp to its share-sheet and its position within the settings menu was spotted in September of 2019.

Then, in November of 2019, it was found out that this feature received some UI changes along with a new icon! And now the Google Play services v20.1.0.3, the "Fast share" service has been rebranded to "Nearby sharing". One small thing to keep in mind while using this feature is that both the devices have to be placed within one foot of each other in order to share something. 

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