Google recently launched Nearby Share for Android smartphones running Android 6.0 or above. Similar to Airdrop, Nearby Share allows Android users to share content with other Android user in close proximity. But unlike Airdrop, Near-by share requires you to turn on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Location to search for devices and send it.
As of now, this feature is only available on Pixel phones and few Samsung phones, followed by more smartphones in the Android ecosystem (even Chromebooks) over the next few weeks. Alternatively, you can enable nearby share on any Android phone by updating the Play Services app to the beta version.
Here are some tips, tricks, and hidden features to make the most out of Nearby Share on Android.
1. Use the “Wi-Fi only” Mode for Fast Sharing
Near-by Share has 3 modes to share content – Mobile Data, Wi-Fi Only, and Without Internet. The “Data” option uses your mobile data to fastly connect and share small files, and the “Wi-Fi Only” option uses only Wi-Fi direct all the time. Whereas there is no explanation of what “Without Internet” option is, but it is actually slow compared to the other two modes and it is almost similar to Bluetooth transfer speeds.
The data option is definitely faster to share small files, but it uses your mobile data. So using the Wi-Fi only option is the best setting and it has similar speeds. To change that, open System settings > Google > Device Connections > Near-by Share and you can see the option below Device Visibility. Click on it and change the settings to Wi-Fi Only.
2. Transfer Text & Location
Not just the files, with Near-by Share, you can also send a selected text. All you need to do is select the text on your phone and click share in the pop-up menu. You can see an option called Nearby Share in the share sheet. Tap on it and share it like you normally do. The receiver will get an option to copy the text. Additionally sending location addresses will also give you an option to open Google Maps along with the copy option.
3. Sharing web links to open apps
Sharing links works a bit differently compared to sharing text. Instead of giving a copy option to the link, it opens the web page instantly. And if you have installed the app, it opens the respective app. For example, you can share a tweet using Near-by Share and it will instantly open the Twitter app showing the specific tweet for the ones you share. You can also use this to share songs on YouTube Music, share videos on YouTube, a post on Reddit, or even share games on Stadia.
4. Use your Phone Number instead of Email account
To Share using Near-by Share, both parties need to save each other email IDs in contacts. This is meant for security, so strangers can’t send files when you are in public. But most people use phone numbers as a preferred contact than email. This can limit the functionality of this feature.
To bypass this restriction, you can verify your phone number by opening Google Account Settings > Personal Info and select the Phone option under “Contact info”. Now provide your phone number and verify it with an OTP. Once done, even people with your Phone number saved in their contact list can instantly share with you.
5. Share without saving their contact
Sometimes sharing phone numbers or even email ID is a bit of hassle for one-time file sharing. Turns out, you can even transfer the files without any of that contact info. To do that, tap on Nearby sharing toggle in the quick settings on a receiving device, it will open the receiving mode and now it will be visible to all phones. The contact info is only used to show the device even when the receiver hasn’t opened the receiving mode.
6. Share Contacts
Similar to files, text, and links you can also share contacts. To do that just open the contacts app and select the contacts you want to share and click on Share. In the share sheet, you can see the near-by share option. Just click on it to transfer like you normally do. It will transfer the file as a vcf file and the one who received it will get an option to save the contact just like importing contacts.
7. Use the “Send a copy” option to share from Drive
The ‘Share’ option found inside the Google Drive app, share files within Google Drive. But to share them with people nearby, you can use the “Send a copy” option. Just click on the three-dot menu beside the file and tap on ‘Send a Copy’ option. Now select the ‘Nearby share’ option and select the contact just like you normally do. You can even send multiple files through this method.
Apart from just Android, Near-by Share is also meant to work on the Chrome browser. So you can transfer not just between Android phones, but it also works on Windows, Chrome OS, Mac, and Linux. Anyhow, it is not available as of now, I will update the article with more tricks when that is available.