Can You Use AirDrop on a Windows PC or Android Phone?


Nearby Share Android to Windows.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

AirDrop isn’t available on Windows or Android, but they both have AirDrop-style features. Nearby Sharing works between Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, while Google’s Nearby Share works between Android devices and Android to PC.

Apple’s AirDrop is a convenient way to send photos, files, links, and other data between devices. However, AirDrop only works on Macs, iPhones, and iPads, but similar solutions are available for Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs as well as Android devices.

Windows and Android both have AirDrop-like services with almost identical names. Windows 10 and Windows 11 have a feature called “Nearby Sharing,” while Android’s feature is called “Nearby Share.” We’ll explain how both work, and how to transfer files between the platforms.

What Is Nearby Share on Android?

Nearby Share uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or NFC to send content between Android devices, Windows PCs, and Chromebooks wirelessly. Android and Chrome OS users don’t need any extra software to use Nearby Share, but Windows users need to download the official app from Google.

RELATED: AirDrop for Android: How to Use Android Nearby Share

The Nearby Share settings can be found at Settings > Google > Devices & Sharing > Nearby Share. To use it, you simply select “Nearby Share” from the Android share menu. Available devices will populate, and a notification will appear on the receiving device asking to become visible.

Since Nearby Share is tied to your Google account, you can choose individual people from your contacts to allow or block, or limit it to only your devices. Anyone with an Android device or Chromebook can use Nearby Share without any setup, making it very similar to AirDrop for iPhone and Macbooks.

What Is Nearby Sharing on Windows?

Nearby Sharing uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to move photos or files between two nearby Windows PCs, no extra software required. It was first added to Windows 10 in the April 2018 Update, and was included in Windows 11 as well. When enabled on two PCs near each other, you can quickly send anything by using the “Share” menu option.

To set this up, visit Settings > System > Shared Experiences on Windows 10, or Settings > System > Nearby Sharing on Windows 11. You can choose who can send you content, but you’ll still have to agree every time someone wants to send you something.

Nearby Sharing is a great feature for moving stuff between Windows PCs in your own home. It works a lot like Apple’s AirDrop, but is more limited since it’s only available on PCs, not phones or TVs. Google’s Nearby Share is a more versatile option for Windows.

How to Transfer Files From Windows to Android

Google’s Nearby Share app for Windows can be used to wirelessly transfer files to Android in a similar way as AirDrop. Download the Nearby Share app for Windows to get started.

After installing the app, sign in with the same Google account that you have on your Android device.

Select "Sign In."

Make sure to enable Nearby Share on the recieving Android device and adjust Device Visibility to “Your Devices.”

Adjust sharing visibility.

Back on Nearby Share for Windows, click “Select Files” or “Select Folders” and choose what you want to send to your Android device.

Select files in the Windows Nearby Share app.

Unlock your Android device, then select it in the Windows app.

Select your Android device.

Tap “Accept” on your Android device to complete the process.

Tap "Accept."

As far as AirDrop alternatives go, this is as close as you can get for going between Windows and Android, and you can send files to Windows with it as well.

Android File Transfer to Windows

You can send files from Android to Windows with the built-in Nearby Share feature—the Windows device needs to install the Nearby Share app and sign in with the same Google account as the Android device.

Select "Sign In."

Before we get started, let’s check the Nearby Share options on the Android device. First, open the Settings app and navigate to the “Google” section.

Select "Google."

Select “Devices & Sharing.”

Go to "Devices and Sharing."

Now go to “Nearby Share.”

Select "Nearby Share."

Make sure “Use Nearby Share” is toggled on at the top of the screen before we continue.

Toggle on "Use Nearby Share."

Now we’ll configure the “Device Visibility.” Choose who you want to see your device.

Go to "Device Visibility" and make a choice.

Open the section under “Device Visibility” (it will be called “Data,” “Wi-Fi Only,” or “Without Internet,” depending on the selection) and choose how you want content to be sent.

Choose a data usage option.

Now to actually send something to the Windows device, open the content you’d like to share—photo, document, video, link, etc—and tap the share icon.

Tap the Share button.

Select “Nearby” from the share menu. It may be pinned to the top of the menu.

Select "Nearby."

Tap the Windows PC you’d like to send the content to.

Select the PC.

The circle around the device will turn green when the share has been successful. Tap “Done” to finish up.

Tap "Done."

You have several options for wirelessly sending content between Android to Windows, but Nearby Share is probably the easiest and most seamless experience of the bunch.

While AirDrop isn’t available on Windows and Android, the alternatives work in a very similar fashion. You don’t need AirDrop to get AirDrop-like functionality. There are ways to integrate an iPhone with Windows and transfer photos without AirDrop, too.

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