How they work, key differences and more

File sharing between devices has indeed come a long way. Files were shared the longest via Bluetooth, e-mail and at times also via USB sticks. Apple has changed the game for its devices with the AirDrop feature, while Google has caught up with Nearby Share. Both technologies allow users to wirelessly share files, photos and other data with nearby devices. We take a look at some of the questions about using AirDrop, Nearby Share and the key differences they have.

AirDrop: The one stop shop for Apple devices

Apple AirDrop is a proprietary technology developed by Apple that allows iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users to wirelessly share files with other compatible Apple devices in close proximity. The technology uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology to create a direct peer-to-peer connection between two devices.

To use AirDrop, both the sending and receiving devices must have AirDrop enabled and be within a certain distance of each other. Once connected, the sender can choose the file they want to share and the device they want to share it with. The recipient can then choose to accept or reject the file.

How safe is AirDrop?


It’s an Apple technology, so it comes with solid security. File sharing is safe because AirDrop uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to create a secure and encrypted connection between devices, ensuring file transfers are safe. The technology also uses device detection, so only devices that are in close proximity and have AirDrop enabled can be considered potential recipients.

Can you share/receive files with everyone with AirDrop?

Yes you can, but there is an option to disable AirDrop for contacts only. Apple also added a feature that allows you to share/receive files with anyone in close proximity for 10 minutes.

Like Apple, Google also has Nearby Share technology that allows Android users to share files, photos and other data with other compatible Android devices that are in close proximity. It works very similar to AirDrop in that it establishes a direct peer-to-peer connection between two devices that should have Nearby Share enabled.

How secure is Nearby Share?

Nearby Share is very secure and offers users many options. With Nearby Share you can send and receive files anonymously. You can also adjust your privacy settings at any time through your phone’s quick settings. They can be ‘hidden’, visible to ‘some contacts’ or visible to ‘all contacts’ so you never receive files you didn’t request.

What are the biggest differences between the two?

The biggest difference between AirDrop and Nearby Share is platform compatibility. AirDrop is exclusive to Apple devices, while Nearby Share is exclusive to Android devices and now has support for Windows devices – but with an app.

Another key difference between AirDrop and Nearby Share is the user interface. AirDrop is integrated into the Share menu in iOS and macOS, making it very easy to use. Users simply select the file they want to share, tap the share icon, and then choose the AirDrop option. Nearby Share can be accessed from the pull down menu on the home screen.