How to Use Nearby Sharing in Windows 11’s “AirDrop”

If you enjoy the convenience of wirelessly sharing files on a Mac with AirDrop, you’ll be happy to know that you can do something similar in Windows 11 with the built-in Nearby Sharing feature. Here’s how to put it to use.

How to Use Nearby Sharing in Windows 11

Requirements:

To enable Nearby Sharing in Windows 11, both Windows devices must have Bluetooth 4.0 or later, with Bluetooth LE capability, as of July 2022. You may transfer files across Windows 10 and Windows 11 as long as both PCs have Bluetooth.

Read: Windows 11 22H2 Update: A Comprehensive Guide

If you don’t have Bluetooth on your PC, there’s good news, Microsoft is testing Windows 11 releases that can use Wi-Fi or even a regular cable network connection over UDP. This change is likely to appear later in 2022 with the 22H2 release, or perhaps sooner.

Nearby Sharing currently only enables file transfers, not folder transfers. However, you may ZIP the folder before sharing it, then decompress it on the recipient PC as a workaround.

To begin, enable Nearby Sharing

To use Nearby Sharing in Windows 11, you must first activate it. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app. Alternatively, right-click the Start button and select “Settings“.

Open Settings App

Select “System” in Settings, then “Nearby Sharing.”

Select Nearby Sharing

Locate and expand the “Nearby Sharing” option in the Nearby Sharing settings. Then, beneath “My Devices Only,” or “Everyone Nearby,” choose a radio button. You can only transmit files between devices that are logged into the same Microsoft Account if you select “My Devices Only.” “Everyone Nearby” refers to any Windows PC.

Note: If you don’t have Bluetooth enabled, the Settings app will notify you with a little notification message. If this is the case, enable Bluetooth before going back to System > Nearby Sharing.

Choose everone nearby

Following that, you may change where Nearby Sharing files are saved by selecting “Change,” or you can follow a link in System » About to rename your device, which is how your Windows PC will seem to others who may share files with you.

Must Read: How to Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 For Free (Official Methods)

If you change your mind and wish to turn off Nearby Sharing later, you may do so by clicking the “Nearby Sharing” button in Quick Settings, or by going to Settings » System » Nearby Sharing and selecting the “Off” option.

How to Use Nearby Sharing to Share Files Quickly

With Nearby Sharing enabled, sharing a file is a breeze. Locate the file in File Explorer or on your desktop first. In the menu that opens, right-click the file and pick the Share icon (a square with a right-pointing arrow coming out of it).

Share button

A specific sharing window will appear, including a “Nearby Sharing” section. Windows will detect any nearby Windows PCs (Windows 10 or 11) that have Nearby Sharing enabled and meet the limits set in Settings (your devices vs every device). Click the name of the PC with whom you wish to share the file.

Choose Device for Share

You’ll see a message in the lower-right corner of the screen indicating that you’re sharing to that PC and waiting for the device to agree. A pop-up will appear on the recipient PC as well. Choose “Save.”

Click on Save

Windows will wirelessly transmit the file to the other PC and display a successful transfer confirmation message. You can open the file immediately by clicking “Open,” see its location by selecting “Open Folder,” or ignore the notification.

Tip: By default, Nearby Sharing saves files to your Downloads folder. This can be changed in Settings » System » Nearby Sharing. (See the information above for more.)

Nearby Files location

A confirmation message will appear after Nearby Sharing is complete.

And there you have it! You may now share files with any nearby Windows PC with Nearby Sharing enabled, including Windows 10 PCs. Transfers are fun!

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