Android’s Nearby Share can now alert you when someone wants to share – even if you’ve turned it off
It’s been a long time coming for Google to come up with an alternative to Apple’s AirDrop for Android devices, but finally, last year, they did it: Google launched Nearby Share. It’s a feature that’s present on both Android smartphones and Chrome OS computers and allows data to be transferred via Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi—it decides whatever is the best method of transfer on the fly. It allows for quickly exchanging and sending images, videos, text, contacts, directions, YouTube videos, and other data, from one phone directly to the other without much hassle involved. Nearby Share now has the ability to alert you when someone wants to share something with you if you’ve turned it off.
A new toggle has quietly appeared in the Settings menu within Nearby Share on many of our devices: “Show notification.” According to the description at the bottom:
“If ‘Show notification’ is turned on, Bluetooth scanning is used to notify you if someone wants to share with you, even when Nearby Share is turned off.”
Without this setting, you won’t be notified when someone nearby is sharing a file with you until you actually turn on the feature on your device, after which you’ll see a “Device nearby is sharing. Tap to become visible” notification.
This change wasn’t announced during Google I/O 2021, and Google has not formally announced it anywhere just yet. We had this toggle show up on several of our smartphones, hinting that, if it hasn’t yet, it should become available very soon for most users. Nearby Share is a boon for sharing files between Android devices on a whim without having to resort to using Wi-Fi or mobile data, it’s backwards compatible with several versions of Android… So it’s always good news to see it get new features, no matter how small they are.