Apple is always known to have provided premium features to its consumers, making the Apple ecosystem a go-to choice for many businesses and working professionals.
Services and features like Focus Mode, iMessage, iCloud, and the best privacy settings give Apple products an edge over their competition.
One such service is Apple’s AirDrop feature. It is exclusive to Apple devices, making it difficult for Android users to AirDrop to Android phones.
1. What is AirDrop?
AirDrop is a wireless file-sharing service licensed by Apple Inc. which allows users to transfer data and media such as photos, videos, and music and send files such as PDFs, DOCX, PPTX, and other files at lightning speed effortlessly between Apple devices.
It is available only for Apple devices, and you cannot download AirDrop on other popular app stores, nor can you AirDrop to Android.
2. How does Airdrop Work?
The Apple devices, among which the files have to be shared, must be connected by Bluetooth. Airdrop uses Bluetooth to locate nearby devices, among which the files must be shared, creating a WiFi connection between the two devices to send files. It can work on Bluetooth, though the speed would be slow. Hence, it uses WiFi.
3. Problems with Android
It has always been a huge hassle to share files between Android devices as there are no proper Android apps and services to do so, and if you want a cross-platform transfer of data, then Apple does not even have a service to transfer AirDrop to Android.
Though some third-party apps like ShareIt and Xender, and even companies like Samsung and Mi have made their alternatives, none of these Android features are as fluid as AirDrop and must be downloaded on either device for file transfer. Despite all the work, their speed is incomparable to AirDrop.
Google also developed its “Android Beam” service, but it was buggy and inferior to AirDrop. This motivates the need for a feature capable of bringing AirDrop to Android.
4. AirDrop to Android?
Implementing a feature as fluid as AirDrop to Android devices is not feasible, as companies would have to cooperate with Microsoft, Linux, etc., to make it cross-platform.
Moreover, multiple companies make Android phones, as opposed to a single company Apple, and collaborating with everyone is not possible.
This, however, does not mean that there are no alternatives that can AirDrop to Android.
Mentioned below are some Android solutions which allow users to taste this sweet potion brewed by Apple:
4.1 Nearby Share:
The Android Nearby Share feature, or “Nearby Share,” replaces Android Beam. This is essentially just a clone of AirDrop and makes it possible to AirDrop to Android. It is an Android feature.
The way it works is similar to AirDrop, by locating the nearby android device using Bluetooth and then sharing the files using WiFi.
The only difference is that the Nearby Share feature works only on Android devices and does not allow cross-platform sharing (only Chromebooks can use Nearby Share since they are based on a remodeled Android called ChromeOS).
i. You can use Nearby Share as an alternative for AirDrop to Android using the following steps:
- Drag down the notification bar to open the quick settings panel by.
- Search for Nearby Share.
- If you cannot find Nearby Share, use the additional settings option to add it(often denoted by a ‘+’ after all the quick settings end). Make sure Nearby Share is added.
- Keep Nearby Share open on the two Android smartphones, and allow Nearby Share to turn on your Bluetooth and WiFi.
- Now, choose the files on the host android phone you wish to share and select “Share.”
- At the bottom of the prompt, look for Nearby Share.
- If Nearby Share is now showing, then in the options available below, tap Nearby Share (make sure you have it turned on).
- You will see a list of devices nearby that have Nearby Share open; select the device you want to receive the files.
- Click “Accept” on the receiving device and let it share.
I will also add a tutorial on Android Nearby Share and how you can use it to AirDrop to Android devices.
Nearby Share does make it possible to AirDrop to Android devices. However, it cannot be used cross-platform with PCs, nor can it share data between an Android and an Apple device. Snapdrop tackles all of these problems effortlessly.
It can be used for sharing files between Android, Windows, Linux, MacBooks, Chromebooks, iOS devices, etc.
It uses Web Communication or Web RPC to share files and encrypt them.
i. Following are some steps that will help you in using Snapdrop:
- Go to https://snapdrop.net/, or download the app if you are on a phone or tablet (iPhone and iPad inclusive).
- Open Snapdrop on both devices, and let them begin searching for device visibility.
- On the host android phone, choose the receiving device from the devices nearby.
- Select all the transfer files.
- Choose “Save” on the device on the receiving end to receive the file (choose “Ignore” if you don’t want to receive the files).
- Wait for the file to be downloaded.
- There would be a prompt saying download complete, and you now have the file on the receiving device.
TIP: You can uncheck the “Always ask before saving a file” checkbox to receive files sent to you on Snaprop automatically.
The way Snapdrop is implemented is quite similar to AirDrop. Its interface and share menu look like Apple built it, and the sharing process is more or less the same.
What makes Snapdrop all the more appealing is that it can be accessed over the web on all devices, and downloading the Snapdrop app is optional; users can use whichever method they feel comfortable with.
I am both an Apple and an Android user, and Snapdrop has been a boon. Snapdragon is the best option for AirDrop to Android.
4.3 AirDroid Personal:
AirDroid Personal is an Android phone management suite with features like file sharing and management, remote control, screen mirroring, remote monitoring, notification management, and SMS management.
AirDroid Personal uses cross-platform data sharing. This means that the same app can be used for file sharing between all different combinations of Android devices, Apple devices, Linux, Windows, Chromebooks, etc. AirDroid Personal also has positive reviews from many trusted sites like Beebom and a 4-star rating on the play store.
i. You can use AirDroid Personal between android devices and a PC by following the following steps:
- Connect both devices on the same WiFi/internet connection.
- Install the latest version of AirDroid Personal on your android mobile device and sign up.
- Go to AirDroid web, and connect using either of the two ways comfortable.
- Click “Allow” on the pop-ups shown on your PC.
- Wait till the app connects. This will give you remote access to your android phone.
- Select the folder for transferring files and choose upload, and upload the file.
- The file is successfully transferred to your android phone.
- For file sharing from your PC to your android device, select the file and click “Download.”
- The file is shared on your PC.
ii. To use AirDroid between two mobile devices, follow the following steps:
- Open the app on the two android smartphones.
- Choose “Nearby” on the home screen to find devices nearby.
- Choose from the nearby android devices.
- Accept the request on the receiving device. This connection creates a chat environment.
- Choose the option from the bottom right to either share photos or files (select file type). You can share files from any of the connected devices.
- Select the file/photo you wish to share and click “Send.”
- After the file is received on the other device, click “Confirm” and let it download.
- The file has been successfully transferred.
AirDroid Personal is the most feature-rich of all the three options. The chat environment can also send important reminders between different devices.
Its cross-platform transfer makes it one of the most viable options for file transfer and as an android phone management suite. There is also an AirDroid assistant and an option to add friends.
Similar to Apple AirDrop, ShareDrop is an online web service almost identical to Snapdrop. It does not have an app for android smartphones or PCs, but it can be accessed by visiting https://www.sharedrop.io/. You can transfer files between devices using a QR code or a generated unique code each time you visit the website. Unfortunately, ShareDrop does not have an app.
It is also an airdrop alternative for android smartphones. Most services require devices to be in a specific range to share data. However, SendAnywhere does not require them to be in the vicinity of each other for a successful file transfer. You can download it from the Google play store or visit https://send-anywhere.com/.
5. Are these Services Enough? Does the Google Play Store Still Need Better Options?
The inference is that despite Apple AirDrop making transferring files as smooth as silk, Android devices have their fair share of alternatives that can AirDrop to Android.
Popular services like Snapdrop or ShareDrop almost make it feel like it is possible to AirDrop to Android, while AirDroid Personal is a fully equipped management suite for android devices. With the entry of Android’s Nearby Share and other Google play services in the game, file sharing on an Android device has never been easier.
Do you know any other apps or services not mentioned in our post? Please let us know by posting a comment and sharing this post with all your frustrated friends who own a mix of multiple devices and can’t share files between them or are looking for apps that can AirDrop to Android!
Also, check out our blog on why your MacBook Pro might be getting so slow.