“AirDrop” for Windows: how to share in Windows 11

If you like how easy it is to share files wirelessly on your Mac using AirDrop, you might be pleased to know that you can do the same on Windows 11 with built-in sharing. Here’s how to use it.



As of July 2022, to use Neighborhood Sharing in Windows 11, both Windows devices you want to transfer files between must support Bluetooth 4.0 or later with Bluetooth LE support. If both PCs have Bluetooth, you can also share files between Windows 10 and Windows 11.

If your PC doesn’t have Bluetooth, there’s good news on the horizon: Microsoft is experimenting with versions of Windows 11 that can use Wi-Fi or even a standard wired network connection over UDP instead. We suspect that this update may arrive later in 2022 with the 22H2 update, or maybe even earlier.

Neighborhood Sharing currently only supports transferring individual files, not folders. But as a workaround, you can zip the folder before you share it and then unzip it on the receiving machine.

First turn on Sharing Nearby

To use the Neighborhood Sharing feature in Windows 11, you first need to make sure it’s enabled. To do this, press Windows+i to open the Settings app. You can also right-click on the Start Menu and select Settings.

In Settings, select System, then click Sharing.

In the “Sharing with the environment” settings, find the “Sharing with the environment” section and expand it if necessary. Then tap the switch next to “Only my devices” or “Everyone nearby.” If you choose Only My Devices, you can only transfer files between devices that are signed in to the same Microsoft account. “Anyone nearby” means any nearby Windows PC.

In System > Neighborhood Sharing, select Just My Devices or Everyone Nearby.

You can then customize where the files from the nearest share will be saved by clicking “Change” or you can follow the link to rename your device in “System” > “About”, which is what your Windows PC will look like. .

If you change your mind and want to turn off the Ambient Sharing feature later, you can click the Ambient Sharing button in the quick settings or go to Settings > System > Ambient Sharing and select the Ambient Sharing option . Disabled ” .

Now that Share with Neighborhood is enabled, sharing a file is pretty easy. First, locate the file in File Explorer or on your desktop. Right-click the file and select the Share icon (a square with a right arrow sticking out of it) from the menu that appears.

A special exchange window will open, and you will see the “Exchange with the environment” section. Windows will detect all nearby Windows PCs (this could be Windows 10 or 11) that also have Neighborhood Sharing turned on and that meet the restrictions set in Settings (your devices vs all devices). Click on the name of the PC you want to share the file with.

In the pop-up window at the bottom right corner of the screen, you will see a notification that you are sharing with this PC and are waiting for the device to accept it. You will also see a pop-up on the receiving PC. Select Save.

Windows transfers the file wirelessly to another computer, and a confirmation message appears indicating that the transfer was successful. You can instantly open the file by clicking Open, choose Open Folder to view its location, or ignore the notification.

When the Neighborhood Exchange function is completed, a confirmation message is displayed.

And it’s all ! From now on, you can share files with any nearby Windows PC that also has Neighborhood Sharing enabled, including a Windows 10 PC. Happy Transferring!

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