Android’s AirDrop-like Nearby Share feature is rolling out in beta

Android’s AirDrop-like Nearby Share feature is rolling out in beta

Google has been working on a sharing feature similar to Apple’s AirDrop for a while now. Originally discovered over a year ago as “Fast Share,” it was eventually renamed to “Nearby Sharing” and finally just “Nearby Share.” The feature is getting very close to a public release as Google has confirmed it’s rolling out through Play Services beta.

So what exactly is Nearby Share? Basically, think of it as a sharing mechanism for nearly all Android devices. The magic of Apple’s AirDrop is it’s present on all Apple products, from iPhone to iPad to Mac. Apple users can easily share things with each other without any setup or thought. Nearby Share would work in the same way since it’s available through Play Services, which the overwhelming majority of Android phones have. There’s also evidence to believe it will work through the Chrome browser.

To get Nearby Share up and running, you’ll need to sign up to be a beta tester for Google Play Services. You can do that by simply visiting the Play Store listing and opting into the beta. After that, you’ll need to wait for a bit until an update appears. Once you have the beta installed, you should see “Nearby Share” in the share sheet when sharing from apps.

Nearby Share will show up differently depending on what you’re sharing. You will always see “Nearby Share” in the list of available apps to share with, but sometimes there will be a shortcut at the top of the sheet next to the “Copy” button. The first time you select Nearby Share you will be asked to turn it on.

Once you have it all set up, Nearby Share will look for other devices nearby that have it enabled as well. You can share files such as photos and videos, links, and other stuff as well. When a device nearby wants to share with you, a notification will appear and you can tap it to make your device visible. Both parties need to confirm before the sharing occurs. The Nearby Share settings allow you to adjust who can see your device and how things are shared (data, Wi-Fi only, without internet).

As mentioned, Nearby Share is currently rolling out via Google Play Services beta. On the three devices I tested, I was able to get it set up on one, so it’s not immediately available to everyone. If you do get it, you should see it in the share sheet immediately after installing the beta. It’s still early, but Nearby Share is shaping up to be a great feature.

Google Play services
Google Play services
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Via: Android Police

About author

Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa

Former Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Lover of all things with displays.