I do a lot of sharing from my Android device. I share web sites, screenshots, and other pieces of data to various people and by way of various apps; so I wind up having to go through the same motions regularly. Fortunately, thanks to Android Nougat, the long-overdue ability to pin apps to the Android share menu has finally arrived. This makes the task of sharing files and URLs so much more efficient. Instead of having to search through your app listing, you can simply pin the app to the top of the Share menu.
Although this process is simple — long-press an app in the share menu to reveal the Pin option — it doesn't work in every app like you would expect. In fact, this option is actually limited to an oddly random handful of apps, which is surprising, given how frequently this feature has been requested. To make matters even more confusing, when you do pin an app to the share menu, the option is consistent only in those apps that allow the pinning feature (meaning the Share menu isn't quite universal). I have to confess to being a bit befuddled as to why the developers limited this feature to the likes of Chrome, File Manager, and Gallery; it doesn't even work with Google's own Photos app. However, on the apps the feature does work with, this is a must-use option, especially for those that do a lot of sharing.
Let's see how this works.
Pinning an app
I'll demonstrate this process with Google Chrome. The steps are the same in all supporting apps. Open up the Google Chrome app and navigate to a page you want to share. Click on the menu button in the upper right corner (three vertical dots) and tap Share. In the Share menu (Figure A), locate and long-press the app you want to pin to the top.
When prompted (Figure B), tap Pin. The app will then pin itself to the next available top slot in the share menu.
Say you want to pin an app to the very first slot in the Share menu. You pin the app but it winds up in the far right position. To get around this, you have to make sure there are no current pinned apps. To do this you'll have to unpin all the apps in front of the one you want to in that first position. How do you unpin? Simple: Long-press an app button and, when prompted, tap Unpin (Figure C).
As you unpin apps from the Share menu, you'll see the one you recently pinned slowly make its way to the number one spot. Once there, you can then pin other apps you'll want to frequently use and they'll show up in the second, third, fourth, etc. positions.
After you've pinned the apps in the Chrome Share menu, they will appear pinned in all the other supported app Share menus (such as Gallery, File Manager, Google+, etc.) to make your frequent sharing task more efficient.
Spread the love, Google
I've been waiting for this feature for some time. In fact, I'd like to see the powers that be make two things happen: 1) enable all app Share menus to be similarly configured and 2) enable the ability to add/remove apps from the Share menu. If they can include those two features, the Android Share menu will be complete.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.