Windows 10 Apple AirDrop-like Near Share: Microsoft shows the new feature in action

Microsoft's take on Apple's AirDrop is shaping up nicely ahead of the next major Windows 10 release.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

To use Near Share, which relies on Bluetooth, users will need to enable the feature in Action Center.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has posted a short video that demonstrates how its new Apple AirDrop-like feature works on Windows 10.

For now, Near Share is only available to Windows 10 users who've installed the Windows Insider build Microsoft released in early November. The tool will eventually allow all Windows 10 users to wirelessly share files and URLs with another Windows PC in the same proximity.

The good news is that the feature appears to be working well on the Redstone 4 Fast Ring preview build.

Microsoft software engineer Jen Gentleman posted a video on Twitter demonstrating how Near Share works in a PC-to-PC scenario when sharing a URL and sharing an image file, which of course is a cute kitty-cat pic.

To use Near Share, which relies on Bluetooth, users need to enable the feature in Action Center. It works on apps with Near Share sharing enabled, such as Photos, Edge, and File Explorer.

Once enabled, Near Share displays a list of devices that are available to share with. Users right-click a file they want to share and then select Share.

Gentleman's demo shows the URL from Edge on one PC opening almost instantaneously in Edge on a second PC after she presses Open in a notification. The notification also displays the sender's username and the full URL, which is useful for security reasons, and an option to decline.

The cat pic, being a larger file, naturally takes a few more seconds to load on the second PC. The notification offers the option to Save & Open, Save, or Decline.

It also displays the filetype and file name. After accepting, a progress bar indicates how far along the transfer has gone.

The Redstone 4 release of Windows 10 will continue to undergo testing with Insiders over the next few months and is likely to be released generally around the end of the first quarter of 2018.

It seems Microsoft and Google see the value in a feature like Apple's AirDrop and so do their respective users.

Google revealed the beta for its File Go file-sharing and storage management app a day after Microsoft released Near Share. Today, even before exiting beta, Files Go has been installed between 500,000 to a million times.


Microsoft software engineer Jen Gentleman posted a video on Twitter demonstrating how Near Share works.

Jen Gentleman/Microsoft/Twitter

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