For Windows, Android and other platforms
Exchanging files with AirDrop is nice and easy, unless you’re dealing with friends who use Android, Windows or something else. Which AirDrop alternatives are available in that case, you can read in this article!
AirDrop: Alternatives to Windows
Apple developed AirDrop to easily transfer files between devices, but it only works between Apple devices. What can you do when dealing with Android or Windows users? Then these alternatives to AirDrop come in handy. They work on multiple platforms, including devices not made by Apple.
- Send Anywhere
- Wi-Fi Transfer
- Other AirDrop alternatives
Share Nearby from Google has been available since summer 2020. This initially only works on a limited number of Android keys and will eventually also come to Windows and hopefully iOS and macOS.
Available for: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
SHAREit is free to use, although you will see commercials. It works on most platforms. You connect the software on your smartphone, Windows PC or Mac to the same Wi-Fi network or scan a QR code to connect to a network. The app generates that QR code, so you can also use it to send files to others. Once you are connected you can send multiple files. No internet connection is required for this. There are also no further restrictions. However, it is slightly more difficult to use than AirDrop due to the use of software. With SHAREit you can do even more, such as remotely control PowerPoint presentations from your smartphone or browse files on Windows PCs on your smartphone. You can also use it for backups of photos.
The exchange of data is done via Wi-Fi, so that it does not cost you data. It doesn’t matter how big the file is. To pair both devices, you must scan a QR code. You can then immediately start exchanging files.
More information: ushareit.com.
Available for: iOS, Windows Phone, Android, web
Xender is a popular file sharing app available on multiple mobile platforms. You use it for free, but you will see advertisements. You connect your smartphone to your Windows PC or Mac thanks to a personal link that you can exchange. You can also create a QR code with the Xender web app. After that you will see all the files on the other device and download them too. This works quite well and is also quite fast, without costing data. According to the makers, it is even easier to use than AirDrop, although you can of course discuss that. There is no Windows software. However, you can use the Connect PC function that makes your mobile device discoverable, after which you can remove files. This takes a little more steps, but it works in the end. There is no limit to the file size.
More information: xender.com.
Available for: iOS, Windows Phone, Android, Chrome (extension)
Send Anywhere works slightly differently from most of the services on this list. While the others often opt for WiFi, Send Anywhere uses a peer-to-peer protocol. You can exchange files over the internet without storing them on a server. You can therefore exchange files with friends who are close by, but also friends elsewhere in the world. You can exchange directly between Android devices with Wi-Fi Direct, in all other cases you need an internet connection.
Everyone must first install the Send Anywhere app on the device, or use the website. You choose the file you want to share, you will see a 6-digit code and if the recipient types it in the app and Receive the file will be sent. It works on almost every platform. It is free to use and there are no file size restrictions.
More information: SendAnywhere
Available for: iOS, macOS and Windows
Wi-Fi Transfer is a feature in Readdle’s Documents app. Readdle is known for its many productivity app. Documents is sort of an alternative to Apple’s Files app, and Wi-Fi Transfer makes it easy to transfer files from your Mac or PC to your iPhone or iPad and back again. All you need is the Documents app on your iOS device, because on your Mac or PC you just go to the special website. You then link Documents to your computer via a QR code, so that you can then easily upload and download files. You can move multiple files at once or complete folders. Wi-Fi Transfer is completely free and a good and fast alternative. If you do not have Wi-Fi, you can also use a Lightning cable.
Available for: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Instashare is another AirDrop alternative. The big plus is that it resembles Apple’s own solution. After installing the app on your phone and PC, press the share button to send a file via Instashare. The app shows which devices are available and at the touch of a button, the document is sent wirelessly, just like with AirDrop. It works with all file formats, regardless of the size of the file. A special feature allows you to synchronize your clipboard so you can easily exchange links and text.
Instashare is one of the few apps that costs money. The mobile app is free, but you pay a few euros for the desktop apps.
More info: Instashare (Try for 7 days).
Available for: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, web
AirDroid is a versatile service. You can use it to exchange files, install apps, check notifications, make calls and synchronize your SMS contacts. You can also reply to WhatsApp messages with it. Those functions are mainly focused on Androidusers, as the name implies. For example, you can mirror (‘mirror’) the screen of your Android device on your PC, so that you can operate your smartphone from the desktop. iPhone users have QuickTime and other solutions for this.
AirDroid does have some limitations. This way you cannot exchange links with it and the software is rather slow. To get the most out of it, you need a Premium subscription.
More info: airdroid.com
Available at: web
Note: The official Snapdrop website (soapdrop.net) is no longer available, but since it is open source, other developers have easily taken over the project. You can try through this site or take a look at this page for status information.
Snapdrop is a service we discussed earlier. It is one of the most useful AirDrop alternatives because you don’t have to install anything. Everything works through a web app that lets you share files over the same network. You open the Snipdrop Website on both devices, exchange the files and it is also free to use. Moreover, there is no limit on the file size. The recipient will receive a pop-up that you can accept or decline.
Keep in mind that Snapdrop is dependent on WebRTC and therefore it will not work in all browsers.
Use: Snapdrop (free)
AirDrop alternative: use the internet
We discuss all kinds of services above that you can use as an alternative to AirDrop. But maybe you don’t want to install new apps or create accounts at all and are looking for an easy solution. Consider also using cloud services such as iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. Put the file in your online storage space and retrieve it from another device.
In addition, you also have services that are intended to send large files:
This often works slightly different from the AirDrop alternatives we discuss above, as it doesn’t go wireless instantly. As a result, you often need an active internet connection.
In a separate article, we discussed the possibilities of Pushbullet, which can also be useful for exchanging files. Unfortunately, Pushbullet no longer supports iOS, due to restrictions imposed by Apple. Unfortunately, other alternatives such as AirMount have already disappeared. So you’ll have to make do with the options at the beginning of this article or methods for sending large files.