If there is one thing I do envy about Apple’s ecosystem, it is the synergy between the company’s various pieces of hardware. Moving between your Mac, iPhone and iPad has become a refined process that is all but unparalleled by any other hardware/software combo. (See? I can say nice things about Apple.) Now, Google has done a very good job of playing catch up in this area. With the ChromeOS Phone Hub and the amazing Nearby Share file drop feature combined with Google’s many cloud-based, sync-friendly services, using a Chromebook with an Android phone is quite harmonious.
While there’s still much room for improvement, one particular feature of Android and ChromeOS has become one of our most-used tools for working seamlessly between the two operating systems. Nearby Share is Google’s take on Apple’s popular AirDrop tool that allows users to quickly send files back and forth between their phones and macOS/iOS devices.
Nearby Share lets you send files back and forth between visible devices using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, BLE, and WebRTC. It works quickly and flawlessly, sending even very large files in mere seconds. Nearby Share is a powerful tool that will let you send files to multiple recipients at once and even allows you to share Wi-Fi credentials so users can get connected in a flash. There’s even a Beta Windows app for Nearby Share that brings this cool and useful feature to Windows PCs.
If you happen to be a macOS user that’s rocking an Android phone, you may be wondering if there’s any way that you can enjoy the deliciousness of Nearby Share. Officially? The answer is no. Thankfully, there are industrious developers out in the wild that enjoy a good challenge and make some really awesome applications. Once such developer has released a macOS app on GitHub that allows you to use some of Google’s Nearby Share features with your macOS device and Android phone.
Unlike full-blown Nearby Share, this app only allows you to share to your macOS device and it does require you to be on the same Wi-Fi network so no Bluetooth or other sharing protocols are available. Still, Android developer grishka designed this app for his own use and it serves the purpose it was designed to do. The other caveat is that your device will be visible on the network at all times to any users on the same Wi-Fi. Not a big deal if you’re using it for personal use.
The NearDrop App isn’t available from the Apple App Store and you can read the reasons why here. That said, NearDrop does not require access to your Google account and grishka is clearly an established developer with a long history of work on the reputable GitHub developer’s website. While definitely a “use at your own risk” application, I’d feel completely comfortable putting NearDrop on my Mac and I just may to give it a try. (Yes, I have a Macbook. Hush. I only use it for Final Cut.)
If you use a macOS device and would like to try our NearDrop, installing is as easy as can be. To get started, head over to the latest release on GitHub and download the NearDrop.app.zip file from the repo. Once you have it, unzip the file and drag the unzipped folder into your Applications folder. To run the first time, right-click the app and select “Open”, then confirm running an app from an unidentified developer. That’s it. You should now be able to send files to your macOS device from your Android device. I presume that this will allow you to Nearby Share files from your Chromebook but I’ll have to test that to confirm.
Big shout out to grishka for making this handy application. Hopefully, the development will continue and they can figure out how to access more of the cool Nearby Sharing features for your macOS machine.