Android phones just stole a key feature from the iPhone in new upgrade

Nearby Share Beta for Windows
(Image credit: Google)

Last week we heard news that Google could be making some changes to how Nearby Share works in the Google Files app. Now, on top of a general redesign, it seems Nearby Share has stolen a time-saving feature Apple's AirDrop has had for quite some time — the ability to share entire folders.

This is according to journalist Mishaal Rahman, who is known for uncovering new features in the Android operating system. Apparently, Google Files will now let you send folders from your Android device to other Android, Chromebooks and Windows PCs. All you need to do is long press the folder and tap the Nearby Share icon.

It’s a small change, granted, but this could prove to be a very useful addition to the Google Files app. The time-saving implication is the most obvious one, letting you mass-select files to share without having to select each individual one. Just tap the folder, share it to the recipient device, and let Android do its thing.

Nearby Share is now one step closer to being a fully-fledged AirDrop rival.

The fact that this has been possible on iPhone for a while, and works in much the same way, means Nearby Share is now one step closer to being a fully-fledged AirDrop rival.

Rahman notes that he isn’t sure how new this feature is, and there has been word that it may have been spotted as early as May. However, it seems to have flown under the radar until now, and never really got much in the way of attention. 

You may even find folder-sharing is already available on your phone, as it was with mine. There were some caveats to be aware of, with Google Files telling me Nearby Share has a 1,000-file limit. Android Police also notes that folder sharing is likely exclusive to the Google Files app, since it wasn’t available in Samsung’s file manager.

If you’ve never used Nearby Share before, make sure to check out our guide on how to use Nearby Share on Android. It’s also possible to use Nearby Share to send files between Android and Windows, though it does require some setup first. 

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.