As an Android user, how do you share apps with other people? You probably tell them, “Hey, I awesome downloaded [cool app name]. You should play/use it too.” But Google has introduced a new way to share apps from Google Play, and it’ll be pretty useful when (if?) we’re ever able to hang out in person again.
Once you can access the feature, which is currently rolling out various permutations of devices running the 24.0 version (or newer) of the Google Play Store app, you’ll be able to send some of the apps on your phone directly to friends using your device’s Nearby Share feature. However, there’s a caveat; as Android Authority reports, not all apps are eligible for the sharing, thought that might change at some point.
To check if you have this capability yet, make sure you’ve updated your Android’s operating system and all of its apps to the latest versions available (via Settings > System > Advanced > System Update, at least on my Pixel). Check your version of the Google Play Store app by visiting Settings > Apps & notifications > See all [x] apps > Google Play Store > Advanced, and scrolling down a bit until you see the app’s version number. (Again, those are instructions for my Pixel, so the exact path might vary for your specific Android.)
Next, launch Google Play, tap on the three-line hamburger icon in the upper-left corner, and select My apps & games. You should now see a new tab at the top: Share. Tap it, and you’ll see this prompt:
Once you’ve given the app the proper permissions, you’ll be able to use the Send button to shoot apps to nearby phones that have tapped on the Receive button and are awaiting transmission. Neither phone needs an internet connection for this to work, as Nearby Share works via a bunch of different methods (“Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or peer-to-peer WiFi “) to ship .APKs between the two devices.
Once you’ve picked a device to send apps to — or once someone has elected to send one to you — you’ll get a prompt with a pairing code. All you have to do is make sure the four-digit codes match on the sending and receiving devices. Odds are they will, unless someone else near you is trying to do the exact same thing at the exact same time.