android and chromebook nearby share

Nearby Share” is Android’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop. It’s a universal method for sharing between devices, with no Wi-Fi required. Nearby Share works with Chromebooks, too. We’ll show you how to set it up and start sharing.

Nearby Share is available on Chromebooks running Chrome OS 89 and newer and on devices running Android 6.0 and higher. You likely have it already on your phone or tablet and just need to set it up. You’ll want to do that before we get started with the Chromebook.

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

Set up Nearby Share on a Chromebook

First, open the Settings on your Chromebook. To do this, click the clock on your Chromebook’s task bar (known as the “Shelf”) to bring up the Quick Settings panel. Select the gear icon to open the Settings menu.

open Quick Settings and tap the gear

In the Settings menu, go to the “Connected Devices” tab in the sidebar.

connected devices in settings

Next, if the feature is available on your Chromebook, you’ll see “Nearby Share” listed here. Click “Set Up” to get started.

First, give your device a name and click “Next.” This is what you and others will see when looking for nearby devices.

The next step is to decide who will be able to share with you. You have three visibility preferences 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.

If you choose “All Contacts” or “Hidden,” no further setup is required.

device visibility

Choosing “Some Contacts” will allow you to go through your contact list and individually select people. Scroll through the list and toggle on anyone who you want to be able to see your device.

select people

Click “Confirm” after you’ve made your visibility choices.

confirm choices

We’re done with the initial setup! Now, let’s get sharing.

How to Use Nearby Share on a Chromebook

Nearby Share works in two ways—sending and receiving. First, we’ll cover how to send something with Nearby Share. This can be done from the File Manager.

Click the App Launcher icon in the bottom-left corner to see all of the apps on your Chromebook or Chromebox. From there, open the “Files” app.

chromebook file manager app

Find the file that you want to share and right-click on it.

Select “Share” from the context menu.

select share

“Nearby Share” will be one of the options. Select it.

select nearby share

Nearby discoverable devices will appear here. Choose your Android phone or tablet—or Chromebook—and click “Next.”

Once you “Accept” on the receiving device, the transfer will begin and the file will be downloaded to your other device.

transfer in progress

Receiving with Nearby Share on a Chromebook is easy. You just need to make sure that your Chromebook is unlocked and that other devices will be able to see it. When a device is trying to share with you, a notification will ask whether you want to “Recieve” or “Decline.”

receive nearby share on chromebook

If your Chromebook doesn’t seem to be showing up on other devices, you can manually toggle on visibility for five minutes from the Quick Settings panel.

toggle on visibility

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

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 »