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I recently switched back to iOS after years on Android, and on this point I've been very impressed with Airdrop. Dead simple UI, very quick transfer speeds, uses WiFi or Bluetooth as available. It's just a shame that it's limited to Apple devices.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if Google simply wants to maximize the use of their servers here (independent of what users want/need):

1. P2P doesn’t give Google all that juicy mineable data that they get when everything you do makes round trips through their servers.

2. This would also implicitly encourage Android users to rely more on services like Google Drive/Docs for all files, which is good for them.

Edit: Apparently it is disputed that iOS has superior P2P file transfer support vs Android (see reply below), so perhaps all this is a moot point. I was assuming the truth of the parent post, and didn’t realize it was contentious; and since I’m not an Android or iOS expert, I can’t really argue that topic either way.

In addition to NUMEROUS 3rd party tools, Google already provides a tool exactly like AirDrop for Android.

It's a feature of the Files app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.and... which has over 100M installs.

Look at the 3rd screenshot.


Files’s offline file sharing is secured with WPA2 encryption, providing a more secure file transfer. Files app uses Bluetooth to set up encrypted and direct fast wifi connection, so that you can transfer app APK or large files in seconds, send videos or pictures to your friends. Safe and secure.


Share your pictures, videos, documents, or apps with others nearby who also have the app. With fast speed up to 480 Mbps, it’s fast, free, and it works without the internet, so it doesn’t cost mobile data. Just pair up your phone with anyone nearby who has Files app.

Does Files actually allow transfer with desktops or laptops? It sounds like it only transfers between Android devices.

Apparently only Android - Android (and maybe ChromeOS, since that can run Android apps)

You can only share files "with others nearby who also have the app".

It's not really necessary on a desktop or laptop., Unlike an iPhone, all you have to do to transfer to a desktop is plug in a USB cable. After that, you select to share your storage with the PC on your android phone and you can operate on it as if it were a USB drive or a digital camera. On an iPhone you have to install iTunes, log on, jump through a bunch of hoops, and then you only get access to a fraction of the phone's filesystem anyway.

Google Files doesn't work with location services turned off. Because, you know, that's oh so critical for transferring data over the internet.

Interesting! Also, is this free/open source?

Isn’t it because it’s limited to apple devices that it works so nicely? Even some times before recent updates they’ve made, ive had airdrop work improperly where my old MacBook Air wouldnt show up, etc etc. it would be a nightmare to get that working across android and pc devices

Just to be clear, Wifi network doesn't need to be available. If I remember correctly, initial connection setup is done through Bluetooth, then one device invisibly sets up an adhoc wifi connection to the other to transfer. The two devices don't have to be attached to a Wifi network. Quite spiffy.

Agreed. And app hand-off (for the small number of apps that use it, basically only Safari for me) is fantastic as a "task transfer" tool as well.

I also use copy/paste between my Mac and iPhone quite a lot, which is a Handoff feature

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