Data Doctors: Tips for Mobile File Sharing

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 for exchanging files between Apple devices and cannot be used to send files directly to Android devices, but there are other options.

Android Nearby Sharing

Nearby Share is a feature recently 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 nearby using devices running Android 6.0 (released in 2015) or later.

To use it, you need to make sure that both your device and the device you’re sharing with have the “Nearby Sharing” option enabled in the 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 the “share” option in virtually any app or file, the “Share Nearby” button should always appear as an option.

Once tapped, 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 shared item to start the transfer.

Large files such as 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 devices that aren’t running Android, like a Windows computer.

Sharing with Windows computers

The Nearby Share app is designed for Windows 10 or 11 64-bit 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 the “Downloads” folder, unless you go to the app settings to change where you want them saved. .

Conversely, you can open the Nearby Sharing app on your Windows computer to share files with your Android devices as long as they’re nearby and unlocked.

Sharing between Apple and Android devices

None of Apple’s and Android’s platform sharing tools allow for cross-platform sharing, but there are several third-party options available if you need that kind of flexibility.

One of the easiest to use is a web-based tool called Snapdrop, as long as both devices are connected to the same network. You just need to visit the website on both devices and get a random name to establish the secure connection, which means nothing is uploaded to a remote server first.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any technical question on Facebook or Twitter.

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