Apple got the jump on its Android counterparts with its AirDrop feature, that lets users share files between iPhones or MacBooks using Bluetooth or WiFi, but Google rolled out its equivalent with Nearby Share last year fo Android phones and Chromebooks; and now it's one-upping Apple with potential support for up to four other devices.
At the moment, Nearby Share also limits Android users to file transfers with just one person at a time, like AirDrop. It improved on the feature last month by adding the ability to share apps, and now it looks set to expand the number of devices you can share files with, while Apple users are still relegated to one.
XDA Developers Mishaal Rahman (opens in new tab) has been poking about in the Android 12 Developer Preview again, and says that Google's Nearby Share is "preparing to add group transfer support". In its current form, it can connect to a maximum of four other devices, but it's only possible to transfer to one device at a time. He reports that he was able to connect to two while testing it out, but added that it "fails immediately."
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Google's Nearby Share is preparing to add group transfer support. Right now, it seems you'll be able to connect to a maximum of 4 other devices but can only transfer to 1 at a time. I was able to get it to let me try connecting to two devices but it then fails immediately. pic.twitter.com/8tuaGPUyB6March 12, 2021
While you can already share multiple files with Nearby Share, another improvement that's reportedly in the works is a feature that will allow users to share entire folders, according to Rahman (opens in new tab). The new features won't be exclusive to Android 12, with Rahman saying (opens in new tab) it will be compatible with older OS versions. You can take a peek at what the feature looks like in the tweet above.
There are a bunch of cool updates set for Android 12, and you can get an overview of our favorites in T3's top 10 Android 12 features we're looking forward to. And while we wait for the rollout, you can dig into a roundup of five new Android features coming to the platform in the meantime.