/>
X
Why you can trust ZDNet ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

How to use Nearby Share for easy file sharing on ChromeOS

Sharing files between ChromeOS and Android is now just as easy as it is with Apple devices. Jack Wallen shows you how to enable and use Nearby Share on your Chromebook.
jack-wallen-thumb4x3.jpg
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on

What is Nearby Share?

Nearby Share is Google's take on Apple's AirDrop. With this feature, you can easily share files between devices like Android phones and Chromebooks. This feature was first launched in 2020 and is now a must-use feature for anyone who works between platforms. Nearby Share is incredibly simple to use and is far better than emailing files to yourself.

With Nearby Share, you can share photos, documents, audio/video files, and more. Even better, Nearby Share is baked into the share menu of more recent Android/ChromeOS releases, so sending a file to or from your Chromebook is incredibly simple.

I want to show you how to enable Nearby Share on your Chromebook and then how to share a file from ChromeOS to Android. I'll be demonstrating on ChromeOS 101.0.4951.13 and Android 12 with the April 15 security update.

Also: Have an old laptop or computer? How to give it new life with Chrome OS Flex

Enable Nearby Share on ChromeOS

The first thing to be done is to enable Nearby Share on ChromeOS. To do that, click on the system tray and then click the gear icon to open the Settings app. Type nearby in the search bar and then select Nearby Share from the results. In the resulting window, click the On/Off slider (Figure A) to enable the feature.

Figure A

nearbyesharea.jpg

Enabling Nearby Share for ChromeOS.

If you like, you can change the name of your Chromebook by clicking Change device name. If you use multiple devices, you might want to make sure to change this name so you know which Chromebook you're sharing to or from. At the same time, you can define to whom your Chromebook is visible. Click Change visibility and, in the resulting window (Figure B), click Some contacts, scroll the list, and enable Nearby Share for any contacts that need to be able to share files to your Chromebook. I highly recommend doing this, so you don't open your Chromebook such that anyone can share files to it (which could become a security issue).

Also: 5 quick tips for better Android phone security now

Figure B

nearbyeshareb.jpg

Enabling Nearby Share for specific contacts.

Click Save and you're ready to start sharing files.

Share a file from ChromeOS to Android

Now that Nearby Share is enabled on your Chromebook, let's take a look at how you share files from ChromeOS to Android. Open the Files app on your Chromebook and navigate to a folder housing a file you want to share. Two-finger-tap the file in question and, from the resulting menu (Figure C), select Share.

Figure C

nearbyesharec.jpg

Sharing a file from ChromeOS within the Files application.

In the resulting popup (Figure D), select Nearby Share.

Figure D

nearbyeshared.jpg

The sharing selector within the Files app in ChromeOS.

Make sure to have the device that will receive the file nearby and, once it appears in the list (Figure E), select it and click Next.

Figure E

nearbyesharee.jpg

Sharing a file from my Chromebook to my Pixel 6 Pro phone.

On the destination device, you'll be prompted to accept the incoming file share (Figure F). Once you've accepted the file share, the file will be saved to the local storage on the device.

Figure F

nearbyesharef.jpg

Accepting a file share on Android 12.

And that's all there is to enabling and using Nearby Share on ChromeOS. Once you get the hang of sharing files between your Google devices, you'll wonder how you managed prior to this feature.

Related

How to switch between ChromeOS dark and light themes
The ChromeOS System Tray popup.

How to switch between ChromeOS dark and light themes

Productivity
How to use Firefox's mobile Collections feature
The Firefox first-run Collections button.

How to use Firefox's mobile Collections feature

Open Source
How to install Android apps on your Chromebook
The Chrome OS system tray popup.

How to install Android apps on your Chromebook

Productivity