Windows 10 introduced Nearby Share, which allows you to scan for PCs in close proximity and send them files. The feature is still present on Windows 11, and it’s about to get a lot better.
Nearby Share can be helpful, much like AirDrop on Apple devices and Android’s Nearby Share, but it requires each PC to have Bluetooth 4.0 or later with Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) support for discovery. Many computers don’t have Bluetooth, and even if they do, your PCs could be out of Bluetooth’s limited range or have Bluetooth turned off in the settings.
Windows 11 Preview Build 22621.436 is now rolling out to Windows Insiders, which updates Nearby Share to detect computers on your local network using UDP, in addition to Bluetooth. Windows will only scan for PCs on your network if the connection is set to private, like how accessing printers and file sharing already works, so you shouldn’t have to worry about requests to receive files on public Wi-Fi networks.
Nearby Share is available from the share window in File Explorer, Photos, Snipping Tool, Xbox, and a few other apps. Many popular Windows apps still don’t integrate with the share window, but if you can save the file, you can right-click on it in Explorer and select the share option.
Microsoft is also adding OneDrive to the share window. If you’re logged into a Microsoft account on your PC, you’ll be able to click OneDrive when sharing a file to quickly upload the file to your cloud storage.
The new features are currently in testing with Windows Insiders, and they will be rolled out to everyone once any bugs are fixed. They could arrive as part of the massive Windows 11 22H2 update scheduled for later this year, or Microsoft might decide to push them out early.
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