Now that you know what version of Android you are running, those of you with Jellybean or newer have a pretty cool sharing feature available to you. Join us for another Android customization beginners tutorial, today we’re talking Android Beam.
Android Beam is a tool that allows you to bump two devices together to quickly share files, links and more, let’s see what it’s all about.
Before we begin
In one of our more restrictive customization pieces, this feature will only work on devices with at least Android 4.1 Jellybean, and only if they have an NFC chip installed and activated. You will need two of such devices to follow along, but we’re guessing you’ll try this with a friend at some point.
Also, while Android Beam is included in stock Android, your manufacturer or carrier may have removed, blocked or replaced it. I’ll be working from two Nexus devices today, I hope your experience is as easy to deal with.
As mentioned, Android Beam is a simple tool to share between devices. Sharing is app dependant, for the most part, but many apps are supported. For our usage, we’ve shared photos, web links, Maps locations and directions, YouTube video links and more.
The tool is pretty simple, at least in description, when you touch the devices together, making a connection between the NFC chips, a connection is established on your behalf and the ensuing sharing happens over Bluetooth. Point is, you need only trigger the file transfer with devices touching, the transfer will continue as long as you stay within Bluetooth range of each other.
Before you can begin with this simple tool, you will need to make sure you are configured to go. Don’t worry, this is easy as well.
Open your main system Settings.
In the Wireless & networks section, tap More.
If it is not turned on, tap the toggle button to turn on NFC.
Tap on Android Beam and turn it on, if not already.
That’s it, go ahead and back out of here and head to your app or file that you’d like to share.
How to use Android Beam
Are you ready for the power of Android Beam? It’s pretty tough!
Take your two NFC enabled devices and touch them back to back to each other. You will likely have to try a few times until you line up the NFC antennas, they will be located in different places on most devices and must be very close together to take action.
When your NFC antenna align, you will get an audible and visual confirmation of connectivity.
Tap on the screen with the content to share.
I don’t want to make this sound too easy, but you’re done. The phones will handle the connections and transfers, in a few moments your receiving device will enjoy the same photo, file, video, directions, contact info…
That was almost too easy, but that is the point! Google took what is often the over complicated task of sharing files between mobile devices and made it a one-tap affair. While this is fantastic for NFC equipped devices, it still leaves room for a better solution for all devices, I guess that’s why there’s apps for that.
But wait, why didn’t you have to verify and accept that incoming transfer on the receiving phone? The typical Bluetooth share requires the receiving device to confirm before continuing, but NFC employs a different approach – Android Beam only works when your device is turned on and unlocked. Protecting your device with a pin, pattern or passcode is made even more important when NFC is enabled.
Thinking of that security, keep in mind that Android Beam is just another tool of NFC, that’s the same NFC that enables Google Wallet, now Android Pay, to operate at the store. If you’ve got a fingerprint scanner on your device, you might consider using that as well.
NFC is a pretty simple deal, at least as far as usage goes, and Android Beam is a pretty nifty way to share between devices, we just wish more phones and tablets had them both installed. Next week on our Android customization series, we really would like to revisit our adventures on the road, highway travel, hotel rooms, conventions and more have a way of changing your mobile device usage, let’s explore how I made it through with only a few dead batteries.
When is the last time you used Android Beam?
More Android customization beginner’s tutorials:
- How to setup mobile Hotspot on Android – Android customization
- Use your smartwatch as a camera remote for your phone – Android customization
- Build real-time battery drain warnings using Tasker – Android customization
- Android customization – how to regain storage space by cleaning the cache on your Android device
- Android customization – Android Lollipop Priority mode and Interruptions settings