This is Airdrop for Android

There are two big features that every iOS user mentions when they’re referring to some of the ways iOS is better than Android: iMessage and Airdrop.

While I don’t have a solution for iMessage on Android, I think I might have found a decent Airdrop for Android equivalent. Let me show you.

Not too long ago Google released an app for Android that was meant to help you organize the files on your phone, help you optimize storage, etc. but it happens to have a feature in it that lets you transfer files between two Android phones and it is remarkably similar to Airdrop.

It seems to me it even works in a similar way where it uses Bluetooth to find the other device, start the connection between them, but then actually uses Wifi to transfer the files between the phones much faster than a Bluetooth transfer would be. It isn’t without hiccups though, but let me show you how to use it and we can talk about those then.

First, check out the sponsor of this video, PureVPN. A great, simple VPN service that is ultra-afforable.

Firstly, head to the Play Store on your Android phone, download, and install Files by Google.

Check out my real-world camera test video of the Nokia 9 (the phone with 5 rear cameras).

Once installed, open it and set up the app.

In here you can use the Clean and Browse features to free up storage and manage your files as I mentioned but we’re interested in the Share option at the bottom right. Tap that.

If you want to send a file, tap the Send button and if you are the receiving person, tap Receive.

Then the other person has to do the same.

This will turn on your Wifi and Bluetooth if it isn’t already on and you’ll see a pulsating circle with your name indicating it is trying to find the other device.

Once it finds the other device it’ll pop up as an option to connect to as the sender. Tap it and the receiving person will have to confirm the connection.

Once connected, you can select whatever files you want to share then hit share.

The file(s) will send (way faster than Bluetooth/Android Beam/etc., by the way, thanks to the direct Wifi connection) and when it’s done transferring, it’ll show up in a Received folder on the receiving device.

Then you can tap disconnect on either of the devices to close the connection and close the app if you’re done.

So as you can see, it’s much simpler than trying to send things over Bluetooth and more versatile than using the soon to be deprecated Android Beam and way faster than either. All in all, it feels like Android Airdrop, right? But, as you can also see, it’s not as fast or easy at starting and closing the connection between the devices like Airdrop is on iOS.

Maybe Google will update it and make it better but regardless, in the meantime, it’s the best Android users have for an Airdrop on Android it seems.

Check out my video where I do a real-world test on the Pixel 3a and see how it does during a normal day of use.

Let me know if you found this useful in the comments below and subscribe to the weekly email newsletter for more tips, tricks, videos, and tech news.

As always, thanks for reading!

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  • fernandofvh

    Hello. Well, I have used this app and I agree with you. I like, it does what it says and in a simply way. It comes from Google which knows Android better than nobody. But one day I needed more space to install another app and my mobile is very short talking about space and I have to uninstall. I have forgotten some months and you have rememberd me so thanks so much. See you in your next article.

    • Aw this app should help you free up more storage though no? Was it not helpful for that?

  • Disclaimer: I am and to the best of my knowledge will always be an iPhone user.

    While I totally respect the fact that this app might be very close to AirDrop, for my needs it falls short. Here is how I tend to use AirDrop the most: Yesterday, I was in a massive line at an airshow waiting for a shuttle to my car. This super cute 3 year old (what kid isn’t cute 😀 ) saw my camera and wanted her picture taken. Never wanting to upset a wonderful child, I dropped to my knee and fired off a few rounds. Now we all know, I have zero use for this image, so what is the point? The most important reason was to make this little one feel special and the simple act of taking her picture did that. But then I really, really wanted to get the images to her parents.

    I asked her dad, do either of you have iPhones? He said, “yes, we both do”. Then I asked if he used AirDrop, he said yes. I asked him to wait a second while I transfered the images to my phone and then proceeded to try to airdrop them to his phone. Turns out he was not use to use AirDrop, so I asked if I could look real fast (the bus had just gotten there), he said yes. In about three clicks I changed his AirDrop settings to everyone and dropped him the images. 5 seconds later we are climbing on the bus.

    The ONLY reason I was able to get this gentleman images of his cute kid was because the software needed to make it happen, AirDrop, is part of the core OS. Anyone, and EVERYONE with an iPhone has the software, whether or not they use it.

    The reason why I discovered your post is because I am a photographer and I really liked what I did yesterday so much that I am willing to invest in some type of Andriod phone that would never be tied to a carrier, but it’s sole purpose would to allow me to transfer images to an Android phone as quickly as I did yesterday on iOS. But…there is no such feature built into Andriod. I would NEVER consider asking some stranger to install any type of software just to get an image from me.

    My hope is that that Google sees the value of an AirDrop like feature and makes that part of their core OS, when they do, I will buy one!

    • Totally agree on the fact that Google needs to add this functionality into Android natively (as well as work out some of the kinks that cause it to be slow to connect etc.).

      Hopefully, they do at some point ?