Android’s Nearby Share boost means it’s almost a match for Apple’s AirDrop

Nearby Share on Android has received a major upgrade, giving you the ability to send entire folders to other devices.

This feature was recently discovered by industry insider and tech journalist Mishaal Rahman who shared his findings on X (or Twitter, if you prefer the older, less obtuse name). Rahman states you’re able to transfer folders from one Android phone to another as well as to Chromebooks and Windows PCs via the Files by Google app. He says that all you have to do is long-press any folder within Google Files and then select the Nearby Share icon on-screen. From there, you will see all of the connected devices which can accept the transfer. Pretty simple stuff.

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There are some limitations to be aware of. Tom’s Guide states in their report, “Nearby Share has a 1,000-file limit”, so folders can’t be too big. Another piece from Android Police reveals the upgrade is exclusive to Google Files as it doesn’t seem to work properly with Samsung’s own file manager. Files will still be shared on Samsung's app, but it won’t retain the folder structure, according to Rahman.

What’s interesting is there’s a good chance you already have this feature if your device has Google Files. Rahman says that Nail Sadykov, another notable industry insider, claims “the earliest he saw someone mention it was back in May” of this year. It’s just that no one knew about it until very recently. Apparently, Google didn’t give anyone the heads-up.

So, if you have Google Files on your phone and haven’t updated it in a while, we recommend downloading the patch to get the boosted Nearby Share.

Closing the gap

Admittedly, it’s a small update, but an important one as it allows Nearby Share to close the gap a bit between it and Apple’s AirDrop. Android users will save a lot of time since they won’t be forced to transfer files one by one. It’s a function iPhone owners have enjoyed for many years now. It’s hard to say exactly when AirDrop first gained the ability to send folders to Macs. The oldest instance we could find was one of our How-to guides from 2015.

However, Nearby Share still has a long way to go before it can be considered a proper rival to AirDrop. For iOS 17, Apple plans on further enhancing its wireless file transfer tool by introducing new features like Contact Posters for friends plus improved security for unsolicited images.

If you’re looking for other management options besides Google Files, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best file transfer software for 2023

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Android’s answer to AirDrop is finally coming to your Windows PC

Google’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop just got a big upgrade with the launch of its Nearby Share for Windows PC app beta.

Just like how you use AirDrop, Nearby Share lets you quickly and easily share files between nearby Android devices. This feature tends to be quicker than sending files via an email or Google Drive link, and is simpler than trying to transfer them over a typical Bluetooth connection. 

Nearby Share just got a lot better, however, as it now lets you do more than just ping files between the best Android phones, tablets, and best Chromebooks – you can now send files to your Windows PC, too. The introduction of the Nearby Share for Windows beta gives the feature a serious boost over AirDrop, as Apple’s feature is locked to its ecosystem of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Best of all, you can join the beta right now and start sharing your phone files via the new Nearby Share for Windows app in no time.

A phone sending a file to a PC, then sending that file to another phone

(Image credit: Google)

How to download Nearby Share for Windows 

Unlike other recent Google betas – like the Google Bard beta – where you have to sign up and wait to be given access, you can get started with Nearby Share for Windows right now if you want.

You’ll first want to head to Google’s official page, and there you should see a “Get started” button near the top. Click and you’ll download the installation file for the Nearby Share PC tool – open it to begin the installation process.

Once the installation is complete, you should see a window pop up that asks you to sign in to Google and set your Nearby Share preferences. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be ready to share files using Nerby Share with your computer; if you ever need to tweak your settings, you can click the gear icon in the Nearby Share Windows app to change settings like your PC’s name, where files get sent to and its visibility to other devices.

There are a few limitations to what PCs can support Nearby Share – it’ll need to be running Windows 10 or later and it’ll need to support Bluetooth.

Elsewhere, Google isn't only gaining on Apple in the file-sharing world, its Google AirTags could take over the world, too. 

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Are Apple Services down? Users unable to access iCloud, send files through AirDrop

We're getting reports that Apple's online services such as the App Store, iCloud and others are seeing outages across the globe.

Reports of issues with Apple began to surface around 16.55 GMT, with hundreds of users signaled problems on the outage tracker site DownDetector.

The company has yet to confirm that there are problems for now, but it's best to keep track of Apple Status for now.

We're following the story live, so stay tuned and read all our latest updates below…

App Store, iCloud, and Music all look to be down for now, with our writer Rhys Wood reporting that AirDrop isn't working either for him.

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