I share files across devices and platforms. A lot. Many times, that sharing is from Android to desktop and involves Google Drive. But there are times when I'd much rather eliminate the middleman from the equation. All that sharing through Google Drive means I have to remember to delete those files from Drive, otherwise I'm wasting precious cloud space.
Fortunately, there are plenty of apps available to make removing that digital intermediary a snap. One such app is Send Anywhere. With this free app, you can send between nearly any platform (iOS, Android, web, and there is a desktop client for macOS and Windows). If you prefer to get rid of the ads (and gain a few extra features), you can pay the $5.99/month fee for the Pro version. But checking out the free version is the best way to go (at least until you know this is the app for you).
See: Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)
I want to show you how to install and use this file transfer app. I'll demonstrate on the Android platform (but the process of using the tool is the same, regardless of operating system).
If you're concerned about security, the files are transferred, directly, from device to device, so they aren't stored on any third-party servers. If you choose to go the share link route, the file is only saved on a Send Anywhere server temporarily (and is automatically deleted after the expiration period).
With that said, let's install and use Send Anywhere.
Installing on Android is incredibly simple. Just follow these directions:
- Open the Google Play Store app on your Android device.
- Search for Send Anywhere.
- Locate and tap the entry by Estmob Inc.
- Tap Install.
- Allow the installation to complete.
At this point, you should see a launcher for the app on your home screen and/or your App Drawer. Tap the launcher to start the app. You will, as you probably expected, have to give the app permission to access your files. Once you've done this, you're ready to go.
I will say that creating an account for Send Anywhere, doesn't make things any easier (nor is it required), but the free account does give you 10GB of space (for link sharing) and keeps track of your device names.
Sending a file
To send a file, open the app and scroll through your listing of local files (Figure A).
Tap to select the file(s) you want to send. Once you've made the selections, tap the Send button from the popup (Figure B).
You will then be presented with a six-digit code, a QR code, a button for the creation of a share link, and a countdown timer. The timer will start at 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes expires, the file will not longer be available for sharing. If you select multiple files, they will be zipped together, so whatever platform is receiving must be able to unzip the file.
By whatever means you feel comfortable, share the 6-digit code. If you go the QR code route, the person receiving the file will have to present it to scan the code. Once the receiver has successfully entered the key, the file will be saved to their device and is ready to use.
Receiving a file
Do note, you can receive files via multiple methods: The mobile app, the desktop app, the Send Anywhere website, or shared link. To receive a file with Send Anywhere, you only need to tap the Receive tab, type the input key, and tap the check circle. If you're using the website, type the input key - Figure C - and hit Enter on your keyboard.
Share a link
There is another way to send files with the app—sharing a link. There is one thing to remember, however, when sharing a link the file is temporarily stored on the Send Anywhere servers. In other words, if you're very concerned about security, you might not want to go this route.
To share a link, you select the file you want to share, and then tap the link button on the popup bar. The link will be generated. You then tap on the file link, and it will be copied to your clipboard (where you can paste it into an email or message). Share links expire after 48 hours. Once that time has passed, the file will vanish from the Send Anywhere servers, and any recipient who hasn't downloaded the file will find the link no longer works.
Easy file sharing
File sharing from nearly any platform couldn't be any easier. The only caveat to using Send Anywhere is the ads in the free version can get a bit obtrusive. However, if you find the app invaluable, pay the fee and remove the ads.
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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.