A graphic showing a "Nearby" share device's visibility.

Nearby Share is Android’s version of Apple’s AirDrop. It’s a universal method for sharing links, photos, and files between devices. Here’s how to control who can see and send things to your device.

Nearby Share is compatible with all Android 6.0+ devices, starting with Google Pixel and Samsung devices. Be sure to read our guide on setting up and using Nearby Share before diving into the device visibility controls, though.

RELATED: AirDrop for Android: How to Use Android Nearby Share

To get started, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Gear icon to open the “Settings” menu on your Android phone. Alternatively, you can open the app drawer from the Home screen and open “Settings.”

Here, tap “Google.”

Tap "Google."

Scroll down and tap “Device connections.”

Tap "Device connections."

Select “Nearby Share” from the list.

Select "Nearby Share."

To decide who can see your Android device, tap “Device Visibility.”

 Tap "Device Visibility."

These options only adjust who can see your device, not the devices you can see. There are three visibility options:

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

Tap "All Contacts," "Some Contacts," or "Hidden."

If you select “All Contacts” or “Hidden,” no further setup is required—you’ll simply be visible to everyone or no one.

If you select “Some Contacts,” you decide who will be able to see your device. The “Recommendations” section will list people you contact frequently. Below that, you’ll see your full list of contacts; scroll through and toggle-On the switch next to anyone you want to see your device.

Toggle-On the switch next to the contacts you want to see your device.

When you’ve finished selecting contacts, tap the Back arrow at the top left to finish.

Tap the Back arrow.

That’s it! You can adjust these settings any time by tapping your profile picture in “Nearby Share.”

Tap your profile image in "Nearby Share" to change your sharing settings.

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.
Read Full Bio »