Airdrop needs to steal this feature from Nearby Share for Android phones

It's the one thing I don't like about Airdrop

AirDrop iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

One of the features I love most on iPhone is Airdrop. If you own a whole ecosystem of Apple products, you can share files between them in a heartbeat. It makes everything work more seamlessly.

Simply tap share on your iPhone to send a document to your iPad. Sign the document, or annotate it in another way, then share it onto your MacBook to email it on. Everything is effortlessly simple.

There is one thing I don't like about it, though. In order to share content to a device, it has to be unlocked. If it isn't, the device wont show up on the menu as an option.

That can be annoying. Sometimes, I'll have a document or file that I just want to leave on another device to pick up later on. I might not have that device nearby – perhaps I've left my iPad in the living room but I want to pick up the file in question once I've finished working.

That's now a feature which is available to Android phone users. On Nearby Share – the Android version of Airdrop – users will be able to send files even when the device is not unlocked. That was picked up by a Twitter user called GreenShades9, who noticed the functionality. Others in the comments had noticed similar things.

As long as the two devices are signed into the same Google account, users can drop a file. That appears to be the only caveat. Nearby Share even works with Windows laptops. It's not yet clear if this function works across those devices too, but it's certainly plausible.

It's a great feature. It should make life another little bit easier for users who want to share files among their suite of devices. I really hope Apple is paying attention and introduces similar functionality in Airdrop. They did announce a change at WWDC 2023, where users would be able to start sending a large file and have it complete using WiFi. While that is a handy feature to have, it's not as wide-ranging as the new Nearby Share feature is.

There has been no official word on the feature from Google yet. It hasn't been listed as a new feature as part of any feature drop so far, adding to further mystery around it. If you don't have the feature just yet, you may just have to wait for when it rolls out to your handset.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.