Android appears to soon get a native feature to answer Apple’s AirDrop. Google is reportedly working on its version of Apple’s file transferring program, the new feature, called “Nearby Sharing,” was found to be hidden within Android after a developer managed to enable it.
The Nearby Sharing feature is notably not Google’s first attempt to take on AirDrop that exists on Apple devices as an ad-hoc service for transferring files between iOS and macOS since July 2011. Google tried to build its counterpart through NFC-supporting Android Beam that was discontinued in Android 10.
XDA Developers has finally hand-on-video showing how the feature will work – and it’s very similar to Apple’s AirDrop. The video showcases that the feature would be provided directly within the quick settings menu and would let users quickly transfer files — using Wi-Fi. It is designed to perform file transfer between two devices that are within the range of one foot.
Nearby Sharing works on Wi-Fi and creates an ad-hoc wireless network to transfer files. It also requires Bluetooth and location to be on. Further, there is an option to adjust the device visibility to make your smartphone hidden from other users.
Once you have a file or files selected, a “Share Nearby” icon appears in the sharing menu, where you’ll see devices nearby. If you’ve ever used AirDrop or Huawei Share, it works the same way. Both devices should have the “Nearby Sharing” feature enabled, and the recipient must accept the file’s receipt.
The video shows the feature working between a Google Pixel 2 XL and Google Pixel 4. It was, however, proven to work between a Pixel 2 XL and a OnePlus 7T Pro so we are expecting Nearby Share to work across all Android devices that have Google Play Services — and not limited to the Pixel family.