New York TriTech

Recent enhancements to Android’s Nearby Share are making it more akin to Apple’s AirDrop, offering a swift and seamless sharing experience. An imminent update promises to further refine this process, potentially making file transfers to specific gadgets even faster.

This fresh insight comes courtesy of Mishaal Rahman, who has previously highlighted several modifications to Nearby Share. The potential update might incorporate target devices directly within the sharing menu. These devices might be conveniently located in the top row, standing out from other shareable apps. However, this may primarily focus on your individual gadgets and not every nearby device.

Screenshot courtesy of Mishaal Rahman’s Twitter/X account.

Currently, Android’s sharing menu employs a dual-row system: The upper row showcases recent contacts, while the lower row features Nearby Share and other apps. Rahman’s screenshots hint at an evolution of this menu to better integrate Nearby Share. Nonetheless, from what we’ve observed, other sharing options, like Google Photos, remain unaffected.

If users have a specialized sharing app, such as Pushbullet for internet-based file and link sharing across devices, that app has taken precedence in the top row. However, Rahman’s image suggests Nearby Share might soon occupy that premium spot, ensuring immediate access to compatible nearby devices. Meanwhile, the bottom row will retain its existing structure, including the primary Nearby Share button for device-agnostic sharing.

Current Nearby Share.

Though it trims just one step, the enhanced Nearby Share could potentially recognize and prioritize frequently-used devices. Over time, these minor time-saving moments can accumulate for those who frequently transfer files.

Apple’s AirDrop already incorporates this functionality, though some users, like myself, encounter issues with its operation. While Google isn’t pioneering a brand-new feature, the improvement means Nearby Share inches closer to standing as a solid AirDrop counterpart, without constantly racing to match its capabilities.

AirDrop currently boasts a wider array of features compared to Nearby Share, and with iOS 17’s impending launch, this gap might widen. The new “NameDrop” lets iPhone users initiate sharing by merely bringing phones closer, and an internet-based AirDrop is expected to debut later this year.

The timeline for this enhanced Nearby Share rollout remains uncertain. Rahman hasn’t noted any buzz about its deployment on devices. Yet, we’re optimistic about witnessing these improvements sooner than anticipated.

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