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How to use Google's Nearby Share feature to send files wirelessly between Android devices and Chromebooks

  • Google’s Nearby Share feature lets you send files wirelessly between Android devices and Chromebooks.
  • To use Nearby Share, you’ll first need to enable it in your device’s Settings menu.
  • Once enabled, you’ll see the Nearby Share option whenever you try to share a file.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple users are familiar with AirDrop, the feature that lets you share files and data with people nearby via Bluetooth . And although it goes by a different name, Android and Chromebook users have access to their own version of the feature: Nearby Share.

Nearby Share uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to send photos, files, links, and more between Android and Chromebook devices. All you need to do is enable it, and it’ll be available in the sharing menu on both devices.

Here’s how to turn on Nearby Share and use it to send files on both Android devices and Chromebooks.

How to use Nearby Share on an Android phone or tablet

First, you need to enable it.

1. Open your Android’s settings app and tap Google.

Nearby Share counts as a “Google” feature.
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2. Your Google account menu will open. Tap Devices & sharing, and then Nearby Share.

3. Tap the switch at the top of the page to turn on Nearby Share. 

You’ll want to flip on this switch.
William Antonelli/Insider

4. You’ll be asked who you want to be visible to — in other words, who will see your phone pop up when they try to use Nearby Share themselves. You can either choose everyone in your contacts, only certain contacts, or no one.

Once you’ve enabled Nearby Share, you can use it to send files and other data.

1. In any app, tap the share icon.

2. If Nearby Share appears as a default icon, tap it and skip to Step 5. Its icon looks like two twisted lines.

3. Under Share to Apps, tap More.

The “More” option is in the very bottom-right corner.
William Antonelli/Insider

4. Select Nearby Share.

If Nearby Share doesn’t appear here, you can’t share this content using it.
William Antonelli/Insider

5. Your Android will search the area for other devices with Nearby Share enabled. Once it finds one, tap it. 

6. You’ll connect to the other device, and a message will appear on that device’s screen asking to accept the file. Tap Accept on that screen.

7. The file will be sent.

How to use Nearby Share on a Chromebook

Just like on an Android, you’ll need to enable Nearby Sharing before you can use it.

1. Click the time in the bottom-right corner to open the quick options menu, and then click the gear icon to open your settings.

Open your Chromebook’s settings page.
William Antonelli/Insider

2. Find the Nearby Share option and click Set up. You can click Connected devices in the left sidebar to scroll right to it.

You can set up Nearby Share from this page.
William Antonelli/Insider

3. You’ll be asked to name your device — this is how it’ll appear to others — and who you want to be visible to: All your contacts, some contacts, or no one. Once you choose, Nearby Share will turn on and you’ll be brought to the Nearby Share settings page.

Now, to use Nearby Share:

1. In the Files app, select a file and click the share icon; or on YouTube, click Share and then Apps.

The Share icon will appear once you select a file.
William Antonelli/Insider

2. Select Nearby Share.

Nearby Share will appear for any file you can send using the feature.
William Antonelli/Insider

3. Your computer will start searching for devices that have Nearby Share enabled. Once it finds one, click on it and then click Next

4. The other device will get an alert that you’re trying to share something. Click Accept on that device, and the data will be sent over.