AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – What are the differences?

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share

Thanks to Google Nearby Share and Apple AirDrop technologies, wireless file transfer has become easier than ever nowadays. While both may look similar at first glance, there’s much more behind the surface. Here, I will share a detailed comparison of AirDrop vs. Nearby Share regarding their features, usage, security, and more.

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – Platform compatibility

Apple has always been hell-bent on making a perfect ecosystem, and in my opinion, AirDrop is the essence of this environment. On the other hand, Nearby Share provides more comprehensive and versatile support for Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks altogether.

Therefore, Nearby Share effectively bridges the gap and allows a seamless file transfer regardless of device type. Furthermore, users can easily share even large files without any hassle. AirDrop, in succession, is limited to Apple only and cannot be used if the other person is using an Android.

Winner: Nearby Share

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – User Interface

Google developed Nearby Share to align with the overall design language of Android, offering a straightforward and intuitive user interface. As you access the Nearby Share menu, it will show discoverable devices in a small panel. You can choose the desired recipient from there and initiate the transfer.

Boasting a user-friendly interface, AirDrop is tailored to the distinctive visual language of Apple’s operating systems. To share a file using AirDrop, you can use the Share sheet on your Apple device. There, the system will list all available devices based on their type. As soon as the recipient confirms the intent, the transfer begins.

As we narrow down to the look and feel of the interface, Nearby Share offers a clean and modern look. Meanwhile, AirDrop feels slightly outdated.

Winner: Nearby Share

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – Device discovery

Regarding device discovery, Nearby Share and AirDrop employ different approaches for a seamless file-sharing experience. They carry a unique characteristic catering to the preferences and capabilities of their respective platforms.

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share - Device discovery

Nearby Share uses Bluetooth and Location services to discover nearby devices. When the user initiates a file transfer, it quickly scans the surroundings for other devices. Additionally, the cross-platform support widens the reach of Nearby Share. However, you must open the Nearby Share interface to receive files.

Talking about AirDrop, Apple’s proprietary file-sharing feature uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. As you enable AirDrop, it broadcasts a communication link to every compatible device. The receivers can either accept or reject the pairing request. So, this method creates a peer-to-peer connection within the Apple ecosystem for seamless transfer.

Winner: Nearby Share

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – Transfer speed

It’s time to discuss the most prominent factor of file transfer technologies. Nearby Share employs Bluetooth for device discovery and initial pairing and Wi-Fi Direct for file relays. Nearby Share can achieve up to 20-25 Mbps per second transfer speed in optimal conditions.

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share - Transfer speed

However, AirDrop uses Bluetooth initially for device discovery and transfer switches to a high-speed Wi-Fi connection once a successful link is established. This transition to Wi-Fi enables AirDrop to deliver impressive transfer speeds of 1 Gbps per second. So, it’s one of the fastest wireless file-sharing methods.

Winner: AirDrop

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – File type compatibility

While both Nearby Share and AirDrop offer comprehensive support for popular file formats, there are some differences in their approach to file compatibility. Nearby Share lets you share standard file types with versatility and customization options. On the other hand, AirDrop’s seamless integration with Apple’s native apps supports sharing anything and everything.

It’s worth noting that Nearby Share and AirDrop have file size limitations that may vary depending on the device and operating system version. These limitations ensure efficient and reliable transfers while preventing overwhelming network congestion.

Winner: AirDrop

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – Device restrictions

While Nearby Share offers cross-platform compatibility, it may be absent from some Android devices due to variations in the device’s manufacturer and software versions. Furthermore, some older or budget-friendly Android devices may not have Nearby Share pre-installed or have limited functionality compared to newer and flagship devices.

Alternatively, AirDrop is generally available on a wide range of Apple devices that meet the system requirements. However, the older versions of some devices may lack the required software support, interfering with the performance of AirDrop.

Ultimately, AirDrop is clearly more organized when it comes to device limitations. You can share a file with unlimited receivers at once via AirDrop. In contrast, Nearby Share lets you connect up to five devices only to transfer files simultaneously.

Winner: AirDrop

AirDrop vs. Nearby Share – Privacy

Privacy is a paramount concern regarding wirelessly sharing files and documents between different devices. Let’s go through the security approaches used within Nearby Share and AirDrop.

You need to sign up for Nearby Share using your Google account. So, it employs Google’s encryption standards. All involved technologies, such as Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Wi-Fi Direct, are encrypted with WPA2 technology. So, your files are safe from unauthorized access, while the temporary identifiers safeguard personal information and maintain anonymity during file transfers.

Meanwhile, AirDrop employs end-to-end encryptions and firewalls for every device detected in the proximity range. As a result, the connection string will remain untethered until the transmission is completed successfully. Besides, Apple has implemented Receiving Off in AirDrop to enhance privacy.

In my opinion, Apple has the edge regarding security features. Nearby Share is still secure. However, Google tracks and collects data about device activities.

Winner: AirDrop

Nearby Share vs. AirDrop – Internet connection

Many of you might wonder if you’d require an internet connection for wireless transferring files. While Nearby Share and AirDrop offer convenient ways to share files, do they differ in their dependency on internet connectivity?

Once the initial connection is established, Nearby Share and AirDrop enable file transfer without relying on an internet connection, offering a significant advantage. So, it’s ideal for sharing files when internet access is limited, or you don’t have a stable internet connection.

Nearby Share transfers files offline, relying on Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Wi-Fi Direct for direct device-to-device connectivity. In contrast, AirDrop requires an initial connection through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth but can function without an active internet connection once the devices are linked.

Winner: Tie

Which file transfer method should you choose?

Nearby Share and AirDrop facilitate quick sharing between devices regardless of their platform. Apart from some shared features, each has limitations and strengths depending on its user environment when compared side by side.

For example, AirDrop was built exclusively for Macs/iOS-powered machines. It uses Bluetooth/Wi-Fi functionality, creating a low-latency network for sharing files at record speeds. So you can efficiently transfer large files. However, Airdrop couldn’t handle any exposure across platforms, making this networking impossible for sharing files outside of Apple’s ecosphere.

Nearby Share offers a more flexible approach on Android devices as it is compatible with any operating system that can download its app or run the latest Android version. Also, it bridges the gap between mobile and desktop platforms by ensuring easy file transfer without any hitches.

Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Read more:

Readers like you help support iGeeksBlog. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more.

Author Profile
Yash Tiwari - Author
Content Writer at iGeeksBlog

Yash is a driven individual with a passion for technology and its impact on our world. His aim is to educate and inform others about the newest advancements in technology and how they can benefit society. In consonance, he is deeply indulged in anime and Marvel Cinematic Universe, if not writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.