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[Update: Back, rolling wider] Nearby Sharing, Android’s AirDrop, is disappearing for most

One of the more exciting Google developments of the past year is Nearby Sharing, an AirDrop-like service that can transfer files, links, and more between Android devices and eventually almost any device with Google Chrome. Now Nearby Sharing is beginning to disappear from Android phones and tablets just a few weeks after initially arriving.

When it first appeared, Nearby Sharing was limited to devices that used a beta version of Google Play Services, before eventually appearing on the stable version. Even then though, Google only opened it to a random selection of people.

As reported by readers of Android Police, many people no longer have the option to use Nearby Sharing, with most references to it seemingly hidden or removed. We’ve confirmed these reports on our own devices, finding the Android share sheet’s “Nearby” button missing today when it was available earlier in the week. The only remaining trace of Nearby Sharing is the Quick Settings tile, but only if you had already added it to your tray. As you would expect though, the tile itself is now non-functional.

Before you go picking out a plot for Nearby Sharing in the Killed by Google graveyard, it’s important to remember that Google called this a “limited beta test.” It’s possible they got the data they needed and turned the feature back off until they were ready to properly launch it to the world. Considering many areas are still encouraged folks to practice social distancing, it’s easy to imagine why this might not be the best time to launch a feature to share things with people who are nearby.

Update 7/30: Hours after our initial report, readers began reporting that Nearby Sharing had returned to their devices. Beyond that though, we’re also getting reports that the beta test is appearing on even more devices than before.

From what we can piece together Nearby Sharing should now only be available for folks on a beta version of Google Play Services. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you’re on the Play Services beta and still do not have Nearby Sharing.

Thanks to all of our readers in the comments section below!

If you missed out on the Nearby Sharing beta test when it was available, our own Damien Wilde took time with two of his own devices to get hands-on with Android’s AirDrop alternative. We’ve also seen it in action on Chrome OS earlier this month.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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