Apple’s AirDrop is an easy way to share photos, files, links and other data between devices. However, AirDrop only works on Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Fortunately, there are similar solutions available for Windows PCs and Android devices.
Windows 10: Nearby Sharing
If you just want to share photos or files between two Windows 10 PCs that are in close range, you don’t need anything extra. Microsoft added the “Nearby Sharing” feature to Windows 10 in the April 2018 update. This feature is very much similar to AirDrop for Windows. When you enable this feature, you can easily share anything including files between two PCs that are in close proximity by using the Share feature built into Windows 10 File Explorer. The files are sent over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
To set this feature up on your PC, follow the steps below.
- First off, go to the Settings app.
- Next, click on “System” and then click on “Share Experiences.
- Now, proceed to enable “Nearby Sharing.”
You can select who you would like to send you content although you will still need to click “Agree” whenever someone wants to share a file with you.
Android: Files by Google (and Fast Share)
Now, moving to Android, Google is currently working on a Fast Share feature which works like AirDrop and Nearby Sharing. The feature uses a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to let you share files, photos and even snippets of texts with other people closeby.
This feature isn’t available yet—9to5Google found a work-in-progress version of the feature in June 2019. We might not get to see it so soon.
Until this feature becomes available, you might want to try out the official Files by Google app. This app comes with an “offline sharing” feature which uses peer-to-peer file sharing to send files to someone else with the Files by Google app nearby. This means that it works pretty much like AirDrop—two people who have the app installed on their Android device can share files back and forth via Bluetooth.
Cross-Platform Alternatives to AirDrop
Classic network file sharing tools can still be used with Windows PCs, Macs, and even Linux systems. You can set up a shared network folder on your local network. Using just built-in tools on your device’s OS, you can access the network folder via your operating system’s file manager and then copy files back and forth.
If that is a little technical or you wish to share files over the internet, you can use a file-syncing service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Apple iCloud Drive—which works on Windows, too. You can use these services to share files or folders with other accounts and they will be able to access them via their cloud storage. Dropbox even has a “LAN Sync” feature. This feature makes sure that any file shared with you by someone on the local network will be transferred over your local network and not the internet, to save time and download bandwidth.
If you would rather share files over the local network, try Snapdrop. Snapdrop is kind of a web-based clone of AirDrop. However, unlike many other web-based services, you can open Snapdrop on two devices on the same local network and share files between them. The files share will be transferred over your local network and not over the internet.
If you want to send much larger files, you should try a file sending service. There are many file sending services you can use but Firefox Send is developed by Mozilla and is free. You can upload files to the service. Next, you will be given a link that you can send to someone. The person can then open up the link via their browser and download the files, The file transfer is done over the internet.
This tool can be used without any sort of account in Google Chrome, Safari, or any other non-Firefox web browser.
Unfortunately, we can’t find any Windows client for the AirDrop or Android app that can be used to share files with AirDrop. AirDrop can only be used to share files between Apple computers, iPhones and iPads.