Google's Nearby Share is picking up two significant updates with Android 12

Nearby Share
Nearby Share (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google appears to be rolling out support for multi-device file-sharing in Nearby Share.
  • The feature lets you connect to multiple devices at once so you can transfer files in quick succession.
  • Nearby Share's device visibility setting is also getting a new improvement that will make your phone visible to everyone.

Earlier this year, Google was spotted working on a group sharing feature for Nearby Share that would let you connect to multiple devices at once so you can quickly transfer files. Now, that capability appears to be starting to trickle into some devices with Android 12 beta 5 onboard.

The folks over at XDA Developers have discovered a multi-device sharing support in Nearby Share. The feature allows you to send files to a maximum of four devices. It will automatically display a prompt that asks you to "tap to share with more people" if it detects multiple devices in the proximity with Nearby Share turned on.

However, it looks like you can't transfer files simultaneously. Instead, Nearby Share will send each file immediately one after the other. You can also add more devices to the queue by tapping on any additional users detected, assuming they accept your transfer request.

Google is also apparently rolling out improvements to the file-sharing feature's device visibility. This means you will be able to make your device visible to "everyone" regardless of whether they're in your contact list or not.

You can choose to keep your phone's visibility this way all the time or temporarily. If you opt for the latter, your device automatically becomes visible only to your contacts after a few minutes.

The new changes mark the first significant updates to Nearby Share since its debut last year. That said, the two new features appear to be rolling out only with a server-side update in Google Play Services, although XDA noted that it went live after updating their device to Android 12 Beta 5.

It may take sometime, though, to appear on some of the best Android phones like the Google Pixel 5a for everyone.

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The Google Pixel 5a is a low-cost smartphone with an incredible battery life that never seems to die. It has two excellent cameras, 5G connectivity, and will be among the first to receive Google's most recent software updates, including Android 12.

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Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.