Would you like to share a wireless file? There are dozens of ways to do it, to attach an e-mail to download them on social networks. But all your options are not so sure. To keep prying eyes on your data, we recommend sending your file via a direct device-to-device connection.
Both your phone and your computer are equipped with wireless transmission protocols that allow you to share files securely, sometimes without revealing your phone number or email address. Each operating system (iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows) offers its own method. Here is how to enjoy it.
Your MacOS computer and your iOS phone can be connected directly to other Apple devices via AirDrop. This type of connection allows each Apple device to send one file to another, relying on Bluetooth to establish the connection and on Wi-Fi to transfer the data. For AirDrop to work, you need to turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but you do not need to connect to a real Wi-Fi network. Also, this sharing method is anonymous, which means you can send a file without knowing the recipient’s email address or phone number and without revealing your own contact information. On the other hand, it only works if you send a file between two Apple devices.
Apple hardware activates AirDrop by default, but you can always verify it. First, enable your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections to make sure it works. Then open the Finder in macOS and look for AirDrop in the left column. You should see a detection option in the lower part of the window. To increase privacy, configure it in “Contacts Only” and configure it in “All” to share it more widely. On iOS, go to Settings> General> AirDrop and select only Contacts or Everyone again.
After activating AirDrop, you can start sending data. When you highlight a file in the Finder, open an image in Photo or open a web page in Safari, keep your eyes on the window until you see the Share button: it looks like a box with an arrow pointing up. Click or tap this button and choose AirDrop from the menu. The system will detect any other AirDrop compatible device within 30 feet of the computer or phone. When the phone or computer with which you want to share is displayed, in the AirDrop window, select the device to start the transfer.
Before accessing the file, the recipient needs to approve the share. This is important because some people abuse the anonymity we mentioned earlier, using it to send obscene or obnoxious files to strangers. To prevent this from happening to you, either refuse to accept files when you don’t know the recipient, or make sure to set your AirDrop discovery to Contacts Only.
What happens if I want to send a file to a friend’s Android or Windows device? If you click on the “Share” button, you can select another option in the pop-up menu. Such as an email or a file-syncing app like Dropbox—from the pop-up menu. However, these file-sharing methods require that you have contact information for the recipient and that the phone or computer is connected to the Internet. Let’s say you use Dropbox on your iPhone. Select a file to send to a friend, tap Share and select Dropbox from the menu. Then select a folder in your dropbox and the file will be uploaded to this location. Finally, enter your friend’s email address and you will receive an e-mail with a link that you must click to download the file. This process is not as easy as AirDrop, but it can still work.
If you want to send a file directly from Android to another device, it is best to use a Bluetooth connection, although you can also choose Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Bluetooth can transfer data about five times faster than NFC and over long distances. The last standard can exchange information between devices located several hundred meters away. However, NFC sharing is more convenient because you can send a file without connecting two devices. You just have to type together.
You might prefer that NFC send smaller files between two Android smartphones. With both protocols, you can send a file to another Android device and no one can transmit it to an Apple device. With Bluetooth, however, you can transfer the Android file to a Windows device.
Let’s start with Bluetooth. On an Android device, go to Settings> Connected devices and switch to the Bluetooth switch. Once enabled, open any app (from Google Photos to Twitter) and click on the Share button, which looks like three points connected by a line. When the Bluetooth icon is displayed, tap it and Android will list all Bluetooth enabled devices nearby (Android and Windows) to which you can send this website or file. The receiving device may need to confirm the pairing action, but later the file will be transferred easily.
To use NFC, the first step should be activation on sending and receiving devices. Go to Settings> Connected Devices and enable NFC. (If this option does not appear in this menu, you will not be able to use it.) From there, tap Sign in and activate Android Beam. Sharing is easy now: open any file or website on the screen, then tap the back of the phones together. A sharing window will appear automatically. Choose Transfer, and you’re done.
Windows devices, such as Android devices, send the best files over a Bluetooth connection. While it is possible to share Windows data via Bluetooth with other Windows devices and Android devices, Apple devices do not accept Bluetooth file transfer. If you want to establish a Windows connection to Windows, you can also use a new protocol called Near Share that works much like Apple’s AirDrop.
Activate Bluetooth first as usual. On a Windows 10 computer, open the Start menu, click the gear icon to open the Main Settings area, select Devices> Bluetooth and Other Devices, and then turn on Bluetooth. To actually share the file, you must connect the sending device to the receiving device. On the Bluetooth screen and other devices, tap Add Bluetooth or another device> Bluetooth to search for another Bluetooth-enabled Windows or Android device. When the device you are looking for is displayed, press or click to connect. Now that your devices are communicating with each other properly, stay on the Bluetooth and other devices page and click Send or Receive a file via Bluetooth on the right side of the screen. Select Send file, then the device to which you want to transfer them, and click Next. On the next screen, click Browse to browse the files, tap the desired file, and then tap Next again to confirm.
In addition to Bluetooth, Windows 10 has recently added another way to transfer wireless files between two Microsoft devices: Near Share. Like AirDrop, it combines Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to allow you to share files even without an Internet connection. To enable it, go to Settings> System> Shared Experience and activate the following share button. When you are ready to share an individual file in File Explorer, right-click and choose Share. (You can also search for the Share button, which looks like an arrow in a window and appears in multiple places, including the Microsoft Edge toolbar.) Finally, you’ll see a list of Windows-compatible Windows devices. Select a computer to share your file.