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How to AirDrop on Android

Sending files between Android and iOS devices doesn't have to be complicated.
By

Published onMarch 26, 2024

IOS and Android have respective file sharing systems: AirDrop and Quick Share or Nearby Share. The services accomplish similar tasks within the walls of their platforms, but what if you want to use AirDrop on Android? Is it possible? Here’s what you need to know.

QUICK ANSWER

AirDrop is incompatible with Android devices, but there are plenty of ways to transfer files from iOS to Android and vice versa.


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What is Nearby Share: Google’s version of AirDrop

Nearby Share on an Android phone.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

In the simplest terms, Nearby Share was Google’s version of Apple’s AirDrop. The service is now known as Quick Share. It allows Android devices to transfer files between devices seamlessly. Unlike AirDrop, which relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, Nearby Share could also use cellular connectivity and WebRTC.

In recent months, the service has extended its reach to Chromebooks and Windows PCs. However, it isn’t compatible with any Apple products. Quick Share and AirDrop also lack cross-compatibility. Similarly, AirDrop can only transfer files between Apple devices.

Nearby Share’s predecessor was first introduced to Android in 2011 as Android Beam. The present form of the feature first arrived on Pixel phones in 2020 and rolled out to all Android devices running Marshmallow and newer later that year. It has undergone several upgrades since, including the ability to share information beyond files, from Wi-Fi passwords to contact details. Google and Samsung later joined forces to improve the service, with Quick Share gradually rolling out to Android devices from February 2024.

How to use Nearby Share or Quick Share on Android

If you own a phone from 2015 or later, Nearby Share should be baked in. It should be known as Quick Share from the get go on newer phones. However, you have to activate the feature by digging through Google’s settings on your phone.

You can find and activate the service by heading to Settings > Google > Devices and Sharing > Nearby Share or Quick Share > toggle On. Alternatively, type “Nearby Share” or “Quick Share” into your settings page’s search bar.

Now that the feature is activated, you can send files to users nearby.

  1. Find a file you wish to share, select Nearby Share or Quick Share in the sharing options, then wait until your phone discovers the device.
  2. Once the correct device is found, ensure the recipient inputs the PIN displayed on the sender’s phone.
  3. Once complete, the recipient can tap Accept to begin the file transfer.

How to AirDrop files between iPhone and Android

There is no way to AirDrop files between iPhone and Android, nor can you use Nearby Share to send a file from an Android device to an iOS device. However, some several third-party alternatives and workarounds make file transfers process possible.

Use AirDroid

AirDroid is an established app and platform that allows users to send and receive files across Android and iOS. Its free version is pretty limited and loaded with annoying ads, but it does mimic Nearby Share and AirDrop’s functionality to a point, provided the two devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.

To send files from iPhone and Android, and vice versa:

  1. Install AirDroid on your Android phone and iPhone.
    • You can choose to create an account or not, but it’s not necessary, provided the two devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  2. Ensure that both devices are linked to the same Wi-Fi network.
  3. Hit Tap to Search.
  4. Once the recipient device is found, tap on its icon.
    • The icon should display the name of the device as well as the IP address associated with it.
  5. Now you can freely send files to the recipient device.

Annoyingly, during our testing, we found that AirDroid couldn’t understand that our two test devices were on the same network. Your mileage may vary depending on your network setup, but be sure to follow Wi-Fi network troubleshooting steps before trying another solution.

Use a cloud storage service

Alternatively, storing your files in a central location is a great way to serve both iPhones and Android devices. Google Drive makes the most sense here, as it’s natively available on Android and can be installed on an iPhone. There’s also Microsoft’s OneDrive if you’re interested in bringing Windows into the mix.

Additionally, if you want to transfer photos from iPhone to Android, you can do this with relative ease using iCloud from your Android device browser.

Use a chat app

WhatsApp and Telegram have uses far beyond simple text messages. Both apps allow you to send files of up to 2GB to others in your contact list or yourself.