android nearby share

Nearby Share is the answer to Apple’s AirDrop that Android users have been waiting for: a universal method for sharing links, photos, and files between devices. Here’s how to set it up and start sharing.

There are plenty of apps that you can use to share things on Android. The problem is the recipient needs to be using the same app. Nearby Share is like AirDrop on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s built-in to (almost) all Android devices, and there’s no need to download a separate app.

RELATED: What Is Android Nearby Share, and Does It Work Like AirDrop?

Nearby Share is compatible with all Android 6.0+ devices. Google Pixel and Samsung devices are the first to get it. The feature is baked into phones through Google Play Services, a component of Android devices that ships with the Google Play Store. To begin, let’s make sure Play Services is up to date.

Check if You Have Nearby Share

Open Google on your Android device, and search for “Google Play Services.” Tap on the “Google Play Services” result in the “Apps” section.

google play services search

This will take you to the app’s Play Store listing. Tap the “Update” button if you see it.

google play services
Your app listing may not say “Beta”

Next, open the “Settings” menu on your Android phone. You can either swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the “Gear” icon, or open the list of apps from the home screen and locate the “Settings” app. From there, select the “Google” option.

google settings

Scroll down, select “Device Connections,” then look for “Nearby Share.”

google device connections

If “Nearby Share” is listed, we can move on to setting it up.

device connections nearby share

Set Up Android Nearby Share

Open the Settings menu on your Android phone. You can swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the “Gear” icon, or find the Settings app in your app drawer after swiping up on the home screen. From there, tap the “Google” option.

google settings

Go to Device Connections > Nearby Share.

device connections nearby share

Toggle the switch at the top of the screen to enable Nearby Share (if it’s not already).

enable nearby share

Tap “Device Name” to give your Android handset a new name.

rename device

You can now select “Device Visibility” to adjust the privacy settings.

device visibility

There are three visibility options to choose from:

  • All Contacts: All of your contacts with Nearby Share will be able to see your device. You will be able to see all devices nearby with Nearby Share open.
  • Some Contacts: You choose which contacts will be able to see your device. You will be able to see all devices nearby with Nearby Share open.
  • Hidden: No one can see your device. You will be able to see all devices nearby with Nearby Share open.


device visibility options

“All Contacts” and “Hidden” do not require further setup.

If using “Some Contacts,” you will need to individually select contacts. Scroll down and tap the toggle next to a contact to allow them to see your device.

choose some contacts

Go back to the previous screen where your Device Visibility choices have been made.

Tap “Data” and select the data usage option that fits your needs. After making a selection, tap “Update” or “Cancel.”

data usage options

Use Android Nearby Share

Now you’re ready to share something with Nearby Share. First, you will need to find a receiving device that also has Nearby Share, has the screen on, and has Bluetooth and location services enabled.

Nearby Share can be initiated from a number of different places. For this example, we’ll try sharing a link.

Open any web browser, such as Chrome, on your Android phone and tap the three-dot “Menu” icon.

Next, select the “Share” button.

browser share

This will bring up the apps/shortcuts you can use to share. Find “Nearby Share” in the list and tap it.

Depending on your device and the item you are sharing, Nearby Share may also appear as a shortcut as pictured below.

nearby share shortcut

Nearby Share will begin looking for nearby devices.

nearby share scanning

The receiving device will get a notification that says “Device Nearby Is Sharing.” The recipient can then tap the notification to become visible to the sender.

nearby share notification
Notification on receiving device.

Once the receiving device is visible, it will show up on the sending device. Select it from the list.

nearby share select device

The receiving device will now be asked to “Accept” or “Decline” the incoming item, which, in this case, is a link as seen at the top of the screen.

nearby share accept sharing
Confirmation on receiving device.

That’s it! The link has been sent.

nearby share complete

Links are one example, but the process is exactly the same for sharing photos and files as well. Simply find “Nearby Share” in the sharing menu to use the feature. On the receiving end, you will always be asked to become visible and confirm receiving content.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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