My personal computers are mostly Windows, my phones Android and my iPhones Android. However, I do use a Mac at work and have always been impressed by the ease with which Apple ecosystem members can transfer files using AirDrop. Nearby Share was introduced by Google in 2020. However, it shared only files between Google products. Windows finally launched its Nearby Share version, which allows you to move files easily between Android and Windows systems.
Nearby Share beta was installed to my Windows 11 system. I used it to transfer photos from that to my Pixel 6. It worked flawlessly. Below are the steps to setup Nearby Share on Windows. The feature is only available for Windows 10 and higher, but it is not available on ARM-powered Windows laptops.
Allow Nearby Sharing on your Android device
You should make sure that Nearby Share can be used with your Android phone or tablet before you install it on Windows. Although Nearby Share is a feature offered by Google in the Files from Google app, which comes pre-installed on most Android phones, you can also use the Files app to receive files (we’ll get into that in a second). There are two ways to find out if the feature is enabled. You can access the Files app by clicking here
- Open the Files app, and tap the three line icon at the top left.
- Select Settings > Nearby Sharing
- If it isn’t, toggle on Use Nearby Sharing.
Select Nearby Share in Settings.Toggle Nearby Share for it to work.
You don’t need the Files app, but you still want to use Nearby Share for files.
- Go to your Android’s Settings.
- Select Connected devices > Preferences > nearby share (or Google > Devices and sharing > Nearby share) to toggle it on.
Nearby Share can be enabled or disabled by you using a button in your Quick Settings menu. This button is located at the top of your screen. To locate the Nearby Share icon on your Quick Settings menu, swipe down twice and tap the pencil symbol at the button corner. Next, move the Nearby Share to your active Quick Settings Menu by holding and moving it upward.
Install Nearby Share on Windows PC
Although the app is still in beta, it is now publicly available and, as far as I can tell, works well.
- You can download Nearby Share’s beta here. To get started , click
- You will download a file (it will be named something like BetterTogetherSetup). To start the installation, click on it.
- After the app has been installed, you will be prompted to sign in to your Google Account or to use the app without one. To satisfy my curiosity, I clicked Use without an Account.
After the app has been installed, a pop up window will ask you to sign in to your Google Account or to use the app without one.
- No matter whether you sign up or not, the next window will be Set Up Nearby Share. This is where you can give your computer a name and decide who can share it with you. This is under the heading Receiving. You can uncheck the box to send usage information and crash reports directly to Google at this point.
- The Receiving setting will appear when you first open the setup window. This means that you will not be able to share your device with anyone else and will not be visible on any other devices. You will likely want to modify this as you have installed it to share files.
Nearby Shares allows you to name your computer and choose who will receive your shares.
- To access the Device visibility drop-down menu, click on the box below Receiving. You can choose to share files or folders with all your contacts, your devices or none. I chose Your devices and was told that I had to sign in to Google. So I signed in. You will need to sign in if you select Contacts.
You have the option to make your device visible to others.
- You can choose Everyone to have both the option to allow everyone to access your files all the time and to disable it for a short period of time.
- After you have signed in to your Google Account (either at this stage or earlier), you will be asked to verify your identity and check your phone. Then, you can return to your Windows PC or the Nearby Share app.
- You’ll see a message under Receive if you choose to allow sharing with your contacts and devices. It will inform you that your contacts are now able to share with you, provided you approve the requests. However, you won’t need approval to share with devices signed into your Google account.
- After you are satisfied with your choices, click Done.
After you have signed in to Google, you can share your Google account with friends and other devices.
Nearby Share is now ready to go. Nearby Share will display an animated blue image that shows it’s ready for you to receive. There is also an open space where folders and files can be dropped (or selected) to share with others.You can drop files and folders into the Nearby Share window to send them to an Android phone.
How to Use Nearby Share
You can now easily share files between your Android phone and Windows PC. Send a file to an Android phone
- Navigate to the files app and select a file. Then, tap the share icon.
- A button called Nearbybelow the selected file will now show it. Click on the button.
- A NearbyShare window with one or more shareable device (such as your Windows PC) will open. Click on the one that you wish to share.
- The file has been shared by marking it with a checkmark. The file will be located in your Downloads directory.
To share the file with another device, tap the Nearby icon.You can find a device that you can share in the middle. Tap this to open the file.
Send a file to your phone from your computer:
- Select a file in the NearbyShare app. A notification may appear on your phone indicating that a nearby device is trying to share.
- Tap the button at the bottom of the Nearby Share app to list the device to which you wish to send the file. You should receive a notification when the file is successfully sent within a few seconds.
- You will receive a notification on your phone if you have sent the file to a mobile phone. It will be saved in your Downloads folder.
Click on the name of your device to which you want to send the file.
Although it may seem complicated, Nearby Share will allow you to share files between your Windows PC, Android phone, and Google Drive without the need to use email, Google Drive, or any other methods.