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The best ways to share large files on Android

Ryan Whitwam | March 2, 2016
Got a file that's too big for email? No problem!

Android has long made it easy to share files from the system sharing menu, but as the size of the file you want to share goes up, so too does the difficulty in sending it anywhere. When you creep into the dozens and then hundreds of megabytes, not even email attachments will do you any good. Luckily, there are a number of apps and services that can make it feasible to share large files without a bunch of legwork. Here’s what you’ve got to work with.

SuperBeam for local sharing

SuperBeam is the best way to send a large file when you’re in the same place with the recipient of the file. This app uses Wi-Fi Direct, as do several others. However, it’s far and away the best implementation of the technology on Android. Both you and the recipient will need to have SuperBeam installed, but the basic ad-supported version is free.

You can initiate a file transfer using NFC or a QR code. Simply use the Android sharing menu to select SuperBeam and hold the phones together (or let the recipient scan the QR code with the SuperBeam app). If you’re both on the same network, the file will go over the local WfFi, if not, SuperBeam creates an ad-hoc connection (i.e. Wi-Fi Direct) and shoots the file over. It’s incredibly fast in either case.

The files are sent directly without stopping off in the cloud, so it’s more secure than many alternatives. You can do all of this with the free version, but if you want to remove the ads or access advanced features like custom saving locations, you’ll need the $1.50 pro upgrade.

Pushbullet for remote sharing with frequent contacts

Pushbullet is great for a lot of things, but pushing files is still part of the feature set. It’s a really handy way to share big files with people no matter where they are. You both need to set up Pushbullet, but after that it’s the most painless way to send a big file.

You can access Pushbullet from the system sharing menu in any app, or open up Pushbullet itself and create a new push to one of your contacts. It behaves a little like a messaging app in that respect. The recipient of the file will be notified when it’s available for download, and it shows up in their “conversation” with you in Pushbullet. However, they don’t have to download it right away.

The only caveat with Pushbullet is that to send files over 25MB, you need a paid pro account for $40 per year. That boosts the limit to 1GB. The person receiving the file doesn’t need the paid version, though.

 

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