Data Doctors: Mobile File Sharing Tips

The ability to quickly and wirelessly send photos, videos or data files between devices is extremely useful and can be done on a variety of devices.

Q: Is there a way to use something like Airdrop to send files to Android phones?

A: The ability to quickly and wirelessly send photos, videos or data files between devices is extremely useful and can be done on a variety of devices.

Airdrop is Apple’s proprietary method of sharing files between Apple devices and cannot be used to send files directly to Android devices, but there are other options.

Android Proximity Sharing

Nearby Share is a recent feature added to the Android operating system, which is their counterpart to Apple’s Airdrop.

It’s an easy way to share photos, videos, documents or apps with others who are nearby using devices running Android 6.0 (released in 2015) or later.

To use it, you’ll need to make sure both your device and the device you’re sharing with have the Nearby Sharing option enabled in Settings.

The actual steps for each device may be slightly different, so the easiest way to find the setting on your device is to search for “Nearby Sharing” in the Settings menu.

Once you’ve confirmed that both devices are set up, whenever you tap on the ‘share’ option in almost any app or file, the ‘Nearby Sharing’ button should always appear as an option.

Once touched, your device will scan the area for nearby devices (within a foot or less) that are configured to accept files. The recipient will see a notification asking if they want to accept the item being shared to begin the transfer.

Large files like videos can take a while to transfer this way, so you may want to share them another way. You can share files of almost any size with Nearby Sharing, but the maximum file size may vary depending on your device and network connection.

You can also use Nearby Sharing to share files with non-Android devices, such as a Windows computer.

Sharing with Windows computers

The Nearby Share app is designed for 64-bit Windows 10 or 11 computers and extends the sharing option on your computer to and from your Android smartphone or tablet.

Once you’ve installed the app, anything you share on your computer will be saved to your Downloads folder, unless you go to the app’s settings to change where you want it saved.

Alternatively, you can open the Nearby Share app on your Windows PC to share files with your Android devices as long as they are nearby and unlocked.

Separation between Apple and Android devices

None of the platform sharing tools from Apple and Android will allow cross-platform sharing, but there are some third-party options available if you need this kind of flexibility.

One of the easiest to use is a web tool called Snapdrop, as long as both devices are connected to the same network. Simply visit the website on both devices and you’re assigned a random name to make the connection secure, meaning nothing is uploaded to a remote server first.

Ken Colburn is the founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or I tweet.

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