Tuesday, July 23, 2024

How to use Nearby Share for Windows

While my personal computers have mostly been Windows and my phones Android, I do use a Mac for work, and I’ve always been envious of the ease with which people in the Apple ecosystem can move files from one device to another using AirDrop. Google introduced a similar feature called Nearby Share in 2020, but it only shared files between Google products. Now, Windows has finally introduced its version of Nearby Share, currently in beta, allowing you to easily move files between Windows and Android systems.

I installed the beta of Nearby Share to a Windows 11 system and used it to move photos between that and my Pixel 6, and it worked like a charm. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to set up Nearby Share for Windows. (Note: the feature is available on Windows 10 and up but not on ARM-powered Windows laptops.)

Before you start installing Nearby Share on your Windows laptop, you may want to make sure you can use it with your phone or other Android device. Nearby Share is a feature in the Files by Google app (which comes already installed on most Android phones). You can find out if the feature has been enabled this way:

The app is still in beta, but it is publicly available, and as far as I could tell, it works pretty well.

Once the app is installed, a pop-up window will invite you to either sign in to your Google account or use the app without an account.

Nearby Share’s setup lets you name your computer and decide who will be receiving your shares.

You can choose how visible your device is to others.

Once you’ve signed in to your Google account, you can share with contacts or with other devices.

Now that it’s been set up, Nearby Share is ready to go. The app will show an animated blue geometric image to show it’s ready to receive and an open space where you can drop (or select) folders or files you want to share with others.

The window for Nearby Share lets you drop files or folders to send them to your Android phone.

Now you can easily share a file between an Android phone and a Windows PC. To send a file from an Android phone:

To send a file from your PC to your phone:

Tap on the name of the device you’re sending the file to.

All of this may sound a bit elaborate, but once Nearby Share is installed, you will be able to share files between your Windows PC and your Android phone without having to resort to email, Google Drive, or other roundabout methods.


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