Technology has evolved to such an extent that most of us take certain features for granted. It is not uncommon for smartphone users to unlock their devices and ask others to “Switch on Airdrop” and send GB’s worth of data in a matter of minutes. A decade ago I vividly remember aligning my Sony phones so that I can transfer a wallpaper that was a couple of KBs via the Infrared. While most of us might laugh at this today, the problem was very real back then.
Since we are talking about data transfer a decade ago, it also makes sense to mention the PenDrive. These pen drives or the thumb drives were our only source of entertainment in an age without Netflix, Amazon Prime and very less of YouTube. Then we also had the literally notorious Limewire P2P tool, one that always managed to infect our PC’s with deadly viruses and other unwanted programs. Thankfully, the days of Bluetooth, USB, and mobile cables are coming to an end.
What is Airdrop?
For the uninitiated Airdrop is Apple’s very own file sharing feature that allows you to share stuff between Apple devices in a jiffy. To be honest I never had a problem using this feature on my MacBook and the iPhone. That being said AirDrop comes with a rather glaring downside, i.e, it works only with Apple devices. In this segment, we will help you settle with a WiFi transfer service of your choice, yes the one that works across different platforms.
Best Airdrop Alternative
Thankfully we do have a fair share of alternatives for Airdrops and these work across all the platforms including Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. Most of these wireless file transfer tools work by making use of the WiFi direct feature. All of this is possible since WiFi direct will allow connecting directly without the need for an access point. The best part is the WiFi Direct is platform agnostic which means that it can connect with a variety of devices.
SHAREit has been the defacto choice for wireless file sharing. In fact, many of the users are unaware of the technology and they often confuse it with a feature like Bluetooth. The application is pretty popular, some of that credit goes to the fact that the app comes pre-installed on many of Lenovo’s Android devices.
SHAREit works by creating an invisible hotspot (WiFi direct) and then transfers the file by using the same. The users have to search for the receivers WiFi network and it also offers a QR scanning method that can be used to send files to PC.
Availability– Windows, iOS, Android, macOS
Price-Free, contain ads
Verdict– I have used Shareit a gazillion times and it has worked fine. However, since the last few updates, the app has gone haywire and it has become pretty difficult to connect devices and transfer the files. That being said the Shareit still scores on the utilitarian front and is perhaps the most widely used wireless file transfer tool.
Zapya is also a quite famous file transfer app among mobile users. The app is apparently known for its seamless connectivity and the ease with which it can be used. Zapya works by creating a WiFi hotspot and allows users to share files without bothering about the internet connection. The app was initially launched for the Chinese market but it has now got some good traction in countries like Myanmar, Pakistan and India.
Availability – Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
Price – Free, contain ads
Verdict – After having used Zapya a couple of times, I do find it a compelling AirDrop alternative. The ease of use coupled with the fast speed help Zapya gain some brownie points. The best part is that users can create a group and transfer files across the entire group in a single go.
Xender is quite similar to the previous 2 apps i.e. SHAREit and Zapya. All 3 of them boast of over 100 million downloads and claim to be 200 times faster than the conventional Bluetooth connection.
The first time I used Xender was when it was bundled with Asus phone a couple of years ago. While the initial releases were full of bugs the app seems to have finally gained some pace and earned a place for itself. It supports data transfer between Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Xender also offers a group sharing feature that is pretty much similar to the one offered by Zapya and SHAREit.
Availability– Xender has a dedicated app for Android and iOS. For PC and macOS, you can use Xender Web.
Price – Free, contain ads
Verdict – Xender is easy to use and has a better UI compare to Zapya and SHAREit. Another cool thing (or should I say creepy?) about Xender is that both the sender and receiver can see the apps, videos and music files on the other phone.
4. Send Anywhere
While most apps in the list use WiFi for file transfer, Send Anywhere is bit different. It uses P2P file transfer protocol, meaning your files are sent over the Internet but without saving them on any server. So, you can send files not only to people connected to your WiFi but also to your friends in a different city. Though, this also means, Send Anywhere requires an internet connection to transfer files. Between Android devices, however, you can transfer files without an internet connection using Wi-Fi Direct mode.
Like most apps, both parties first need to install Send Anywhere app on their respective devices (or you can also use their website). Next, open the app, and drag and drop or locate the file, you want to be sent. Once the file is ready to share, Send Anywhere will generate a 6 code. Share that code with the recipient of the file. Now, the recipient has to open the app, click the Receive button, enter the six-digit code, and the file will start downloading.
Available – Send Anywhere app is available for all platform — Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome Extension. If the sender or recipient doesn’t want to install the app, they can still send and receive the files using the Send Anywhere website.
Price – Send Anywhere is completely free and supports unlimited file transfer.
Verdict – Send Anywhere is a good alternative to Airdrop, that not only offers some privacy but is also completely cross-platform. The app is completely free with no file transfer limit.
5. Snap Share
Snap Share is a relatively lesser known wireless file transfer app. However, this app is published by Cheetah Mobile, the same folks who have developed apps like Clean Master. Similar to the other apps, Snap Share can transfer photos, music, ringtones, apps, e-books, docs and other file types across various devices. It doesn’t require an internet connection as the app creates its own hotspot. The publishers claim that Snap Share is 150x times faster than Bluetooth.
Availability – Windows, macOS, Android and iOS
Price – Free
Verdict– Everything worked fine with Snap Share with no snags whatsoever. Sharing files is a breeze thanks to the drag and drop feature. The main highlight of Snap Share is that it can be used even when the devices are more than 500 ft apart and this is something that other file transfer apps struggle to achieve.
6. File Pizza
Let us just agree no one likes to share their Pizzas but what if there is a Pizza that helps you share stuff! Confused? Don’t be. File Pizza is an open source application that works by using WebRTC. The tool eliminates the need for initial upload step that is usually used by other web-based file transferring services.
Availability – File Pizza doesn’t have a dedicated app, but as long as you have a web browser you can use it on any system whether if it’s Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS etc.
Pricing – Free
Verdict – That being said this service is web-based and a “tempalink” will be created for recipients. I personally prefer File Pizza since it doesn’t store data on an intermediary server and is pretty fast, safe and reliable as well.
Instashare is yet another file transferring service that works sans the need for internet. The UI is pretty straightforward and Instashare can be used to share any type of files without any restrictions whatsoever. Thankfully, the app also works without the need to punch in the individual password and without any pairing.
Pricing – Free
Availability – Windows, macOS, Android and iOS
Verdict – Instashare works flawlessly well while transferring files from my MacBook to Android smartphone. Why this needs a mention is that some of the file transfer apps struggle when it comes to devices of the different operating system.
Wrapping it up
The apps we have mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to check out some of the other apps like Dukto R6, Nitro Share, Feem, File drop and Share drop. I would personally recommend using each app for a considerable amount of time before deciding on “the one”!