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TL;DR

  • Nearby Share lets you share text, links, or files with nearby devices.
  • It uses Bluetooth to scan for nearby devices, meaning sometimes devices won’t be picked up or may be hard to find.
  • As a fallback, Google may let you generate a QR code for the receiver to scan.

Android’s Nearby Share feature makes it easy to share files or links with other nearby Android devices, Chromebooks, or Windows PCs. All you need to do is choose what you want to send, hit the share button, and then select the Nearby Share option in the share sheet. As long as the device you’re trying to share with is close by, it should show up in the menu for you to pick — even if it’s asleep. On those rare occasions when you’re having trouble finding the right device, Google suggests you double check some settings on both devices or simply bring them even closer together. Soon, you’ll have another option to deal with these scenarios.

Google is preparing to upgrade Nearby Share with the ability to show a QR code on the sender’s device. This option will appear at the bottom of the dialog when the service hasn’t picked up any nearby devices. Selecting it will generate a QR code that the receiver can scan using an app like Google Lens. Scanning the code will immediately pair the two devices and initiate the transfer, as shown in the video embedded above.

The ability to scan a QR code to share files has not been rolled out yet to users, so we had to manually activate the feature in order to show it off. Tipster AssembleDebug was the first to discover the upcoming feature’s existence while they were digging through the Google Play Services app, which contains Nearby Share (among many other things).

We’ll keep an eye out for when this feature rolls out, but in the meantime, let us know if you spot any other upcoming changes in Nearby Share. 



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