Google’s take on Apple AirDrop, called Nearby Share, lets you share files wirelessly across Chromebooks and Android phones. It works with all types of files regardless of their size and without requiring you to go through a tedious pairing process. Nearby Share can also stream files locally, which means you don’t necessarily need an active internet connection to use it.
Before you can start exchanging files between your Android phone and your Chromebook, you need to turn on nearby sharing on each of your devices. Here’s how to do it.
Set up nearby sharing on Chromebooks
Nearby Sharing is available for Chromebooks running Chrome OS 91 or higher. So first, make sure you are on the latest update. You can check for updates on your Chromebook by going to Settings> About Chrome OS.
To get started with Nearby Share, open the “Settings” app on your Chromebook and visit the “Connected devices” section.
Select the ‘Configure’ button next to ‘Nearby Sharing’. In the pop-up window that appears, enter the name you want to give to your device and tap “Next”.
On the next page, you’ll choose who can send files to you via Nearby Sharing.
In “All contacts” mode, your Chromebook will be visible to all users of your Google account directory. Your contacts can initiate a transfer when your Chromebook is within reach. However, you will still need to accept the request to receive the file.
With “Some Contacts” you can selectively select who from your contacts can find and try to sign in to your Chromebook.
Finally, as the name suggests, “Hidden” keeps your Chromebook hidden from everyone until you manually make it visible. Don’t worry, you can change this preference later as well.
Choose your visibility mode and click “Confirm” to finish setting up nearby sharing on your Chromebook.
Go back to “Settings” and activate the “Nearby sharing” option under “Connected devices”.
Under “Sharing nearby” you will find options to change the name of your device and adjust its visibility if you wish to do so in the future.
With the “Data usage” setting, you can specify whether the nearby share should work exclusively offline. When you select “Wi-Fi only”, nearby sharing tends to transfer small files over the Internet, while larger ones are shared locally.
Set up nearby sharing on an Android phone
The process of setting up Nearby Sharing is almost identical on your Android phone. Your phone must be at least Android 6.0.
Go to Settings> Connected devices> Connection preferences> Nearby sharing. If you are unable to locate these exact menus, search for “Nearby Sharing” in the search bar at the top of the “Settings” app on your phone.
Toggle the “Off” selection to “On” and you’ll find a familiar list of options. You can change your phone name, set who can see and send files on your Android phone, determine if Nearby Share is allowed to access your internet connection, and more.
Send and receive files from your Chromebook with Nearby Share
Now that Nearby Share is up and running on your Chromebook, you can send files wirelessly to any compatible Android phone or another nearby Chromebook.
To use Nearby Share on your Chromebook, locate the file in the “Files” app.
Right click on the file and under the “Share” option, select “Share Nearby”.
Your Chromebook will begin to search for nearby devices. Once it has located the recipient of your file, click on the device name to signal a transfer request. As soon as the recipient accepts, your Chromebook will start sending the file.
If you’re the recipient, click the “Visibility nearby” quick setting so that your Chromebook is visible to everyone for five minutes, unless you’re in “All contacts” mode and the sender is in your phonebook. or one of your contacts specified in “Some contacts”.
Wait for the sender to start the transfer request; once they have done that, you will get a pop-up for it. Click “Accept” and the file will soon be available in the “Files” application.
Send and receive files from your Android phone with Nearby Share
Likewise, when you try to share a file on your Android phone, you will have a new “Share nearby” button. Tap it, then select the nearby device you want to send the file to. Once the recipient approves, your Android phone will initiate the transfer.
To receive a file, tap the “Share nearby” icon in the quick settings to make your phone visible to everyone for five minutes and wait for the request. Select “Accept” and within seconds the file should arrive on your phone.