What Is Nearby Sharing in Windows 10?

Share files, photos, and URLs with nearby Windows PCs

A picture of two computers side by side sharing data.
Share data wirelessly with Near Share. Getty Images

Nearby Sharing is a feature you can enable on your Windows 10 PC that allows you to wirelessly share files like documents and pictures, and even URLs, to nearby PCs that also have the feature enabled.

Nearby Sharing relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and works with apps that have a sharing option, including Microsoft Edge, File Explorer, and the Photos app. With Nearby Sharing you remove the middleman; you no longer have to send a file through a messaging app, email, or third-party option like DropBox. If you’re familiar with the iOS feature AirDrop, it’s like that.

Note: Nearby Sharing can only be used to share to and from compatible Windows 10 devices. There is not a Nearby Sharing app for mobile devices at this time. 

Enable Windows Nearby Sharing

A screen shot of the Action Center with Near Share enabled.
Joli Ballew

To use Nearby Sharing you need a newer Windows 10 computer or tablet. It should have Bluetooth technology as well, although it can work over Wi-Fi if need be. You’ll need to install Windows updates if you don’t see the option on your PC; it’s included only with the latest builds of Windows 10.

To enable Nearby Sharing (and to update your PC if needed):

  1. Click the Action Center icon on the Taskbar. It is the icon the farthest right.
  2. If necessary, click Expand.
  3. Click Nearby Sharing to turn it on.
  4. If you don’t see a Nearby Sharing icon:
    1. Click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
    2. Click Check for Updates.
    3. Follow the prompts to Update the PC.

Share from Microsoft Edge

A screen shot of the share option in Edge.
Joli Ballew

To share with others using Nearby Sharing in Microsoft Edge, they must have a compatible PC and Nearby Sharing enabled. They also need to be nearby, and accessible via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. With those requirements met, to share a URL in Microsoft Edge, first navigate to the web site. Then:

  1. On the Menu bar in Edge, click the Share button; it’s next to the Add Notes icon.
  2. Wait while Edge looks for nearby devices.
  3. In the list that appears, click the device to share with.
  4. The user will receive a notification and click it to access the shared information.

Share in File Explorer

A screen shot of File Explorer with the Share tab showing and Near Share available.
Joli Ballew

To share with others using Nearby Sharing via File Explorer, they must have a compatible PC and Nearby Sharing enabled. They also need to be nearby, either via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. With those requirements met:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the file to share.
  2. Click the Share tab.
  3. Click Share.
  4. Wait while the available device list populates and then click the device to share with.
  5. The user will receive a notification and click it to access the shared file.

Share in Photos

A screen shot of the Near Share option in Photos
Nearby Sharing in Photos. Joli Ballew

To share with others using Nearby Sharing via the Photos app, they must have a compatible PC and Nearby Sharing enabled. They also need to be nearby, either via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. With those requirements met:

  1. Open the photo to share in the Photos app.
  2. Click Share.
  3. In the resulting list, click the device to share with.
  4. The user will receive a notification and click it to access the shared information.