Tip: You can tap two phones together to quickly start file transfers in Nearby Share
The patience of Android users was finally rewarded last year when Google, at last, decided to add a functionality that its rival OS had had for years: a simple, fast, and universally accessible file sharing service. Google’s Nearby Share feature is available on any device (with Google Play Services installed) running Android 6.0 and above and it lets users share images, videos, and other files with nearby Android devices. The process is very straightforward: All you have to do is select the content you want to share, choose the Nearby Share icon from the Android Sharesheet menu, and tap on the device you want to share content with on the next screen.
But it turns out there’s a more convenient and faster way to share files with Nearby Share. As spotted by Reddit user 40percentreddit, when you initiate a file share with Nearby and tap two phones together using NFC, both devices will be automatically connected and a prompt will show up on the recipient device to accept the file. As pointed out by other Redditors in the thread, you don’t even have to enable Nearby Share on the second device; tapping the device together will automatically turn on the feature and establish a connection with the sender device. Here’s a quick demo showing the Nearby Share tap to share functionality in action:
This is much better than having to stare at the “Looking for nearby devices” screen and patiently wait for the recipient device to show up. As already mentioned, tap-to-share will only work if both devices have NFC.
This is by no means a thing of novelty. Long-time users will probably recall Android Beam offered similar functionality, allowing two Android users to share files by tapping their phones together. Android Beam relied on NFC to initiate a handshake with the recipient device and then used either Wi-Fi Direct or Bluetooth to send your file. It was, however, slower and clunkier and was finally deprecated in 2019 to make room for Nearby Share.