AirDrop has been a source of pride for Apple users for more than a decade now, and a sore point for many who want a simple solution for sharing files between Windows and Android. But after years of struggling with different standards and technologies, Google and Microsoft have finally figured this one out: Google’s Nearby Share protocol brought AirDrop-like file sharing to Android devices back in 2020, and thanks to a new beta that anyone can download, the same feature is available on Windows PCs as well.
A quick note: Because this new Google app is currently in beta testing, it’s a bit fiddly to install. It works great, though, so if you’re interested, it’s totally worth your time to set up.
How to install the Nearby Share app on Windows
Start by navigating to Android’s Nearby Share page. Click the Get Started button to download the Windows app. Once it’s installed, launch the app and sign in with your Google account.
From the setup screen, give your PC a name and click the Receiving box. By default, it’s set to No One, which defeats the purpose of the entire app. Click the drop-down menu for a couple of choices. We would recommend you go with Your Devices, as it limits the app to devices linked to your Google account. You can also limit it to your contacts or open it to everyone. Press Done to complete the setup.
Before going further, make sure that everything is up and running on the Android side. Weirdly enough, Nearby Share is not an OS option; it’s a feature inside Google Files, which should be installed on your device already. If it isn’t, you can download it here. Open Google Files, tap the Menu button, go to Settings > Nearby Share and turn on the Use Nearby Share feature.
How to wirelessly transfer files between Android and PC with Nearby Share
Open Files on your Android smartphone and select a file (it can be a photo or a huge video file), and tap the Share button. Tap the Nearby button below the file preview, and you’ll see a list of available devices. Right here, choose your PC and wait for the magic to happen. The file will instantly transport to your PC, and by default, it will save to the Downloads folder.
Doing things the other way around is just as easy, but requires you to use the Nearby Share app to start with. Open the app and select a file that you want to share. Then, choose your Android phone from the list and wait until you get a notification on your Android phone that the transfer is complete. You’ll find the file in the Downloads folder in the Files app.