When hanging out with friends who use iPhones, they always throw AirDropping stuff left, right and center. “One of the benefits of owning an iPhone,” they tell me, “is that you can run things through AirDrop.”
Recently, however, I was surprised when a friend using Android told me exactly the same thing when they wanted to send something. Then I realized that many users of Android phones do not know that they have an alternative to AirDrop, easily accessible at your fingertips.
I used to be in the same boat until I found a way to easily send files between Android phones and I think anyone who uses such a device should know about Nearby Share.
Meet Android Be- no, wait …
Android phones had a feature called Android Beam that uses NFC to transfer files between devices.
To use this, you tried to share a file in the normal way, then hold your phone right next to the one you are trying to share the file with.
This was not exactly an alternative to AirDrop, as you have to rub the phones together like two dolls trying to kiss. And even that was a little-known feature that most Android owners have never used.
But Google is getting rid of Android Beam in 2020 for something much more convenient.
Meet Sharing Nearby
Nearby sharing works the same way as AirDrop – you can share files, photos and connections with people nearby, as long as it’s on another Android device (although apparently the Chromebook will also be supported soon).
This means you don’t have to rub your phones against each other or use another application to send files. Easy!
I’ve never heard of Nearby Share – I assumed Android Beam was removed because people just used email, cloud storage or messaging apps to send things, and I usually use WhatsApp for that kind of thing. But no, Nearby Sharing is here and easy to use.
I got to know Nearby Share in a way that really expanded its use – someone whose contact information I didn’t want to send me. Instead of having to give them my email or phone number, they could just share them with me nearby. Quite simple.
How to use Sharing nearby
Using Nearby Sharing is pretty easy, but I have to admit that when I realized how prominent the button was for it, I felt stupid for missing it.
Its usage is a little different depending on which Android plug your phone is plugged in, but you usually press the “Share” button (you know, the one that looks like this: <) and then press "Share Nearby."
Phones will appear nearby with this feature, and you can easily send files to them.
Of course, this feels a little slower than AirDrop, but given how Android is used by a lot more people than iOS, I’m just glad I have the option to easily send files to so many more people.