4 apps to share iOS, Android and Windows files
- 13 February, 2017 21:47
As a child-free, married couple in our late 20s, when my husband and I aren't asking the other what we should have for dinner, we're sharing videos and pictures of our 5-year-old tuxedo cat. But when my husband moved to Android -- and left the iMessage cult -- we found that sharing multiple images and videos isn't easy. And because waiting for Apple to open up iMessage to other platforms feels like a "when pigs fly" situation, I took to the App Store to find an easy way to share gigabyte upon gigabyte of high-resolution cat footage.
Typical email accounts such as Gmail and cloud storage sites as like DropBox or OneDrive have limits on what file sizes you can share and storage capacity. That's especially true if you just want a free account. Even in the enterprise, it's not uncommon to find your company has a filter on the file-size of outgoing attachments.
But your email account, third-party messaging apps and cloud storage aren't your only options to share large or multiple files. In fact, with these four apps, you can bypass the internet all together to share images from device to device, across platforms.
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Send Anywhere is a fast, simple app, and it doesn't require any registration. Just download the app and you're steps away from file sharing. Both devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and once you select the files you want to send, the app generates a code and a QR code. After scanning the QR code or entering the code manually, the transfer starts immediately.
It's a great way to share a bunch of images or videos with multiple people on different platforms with just the touch of a button. The app is free, so most people can download it -- and since you don't need to register, the process is easy for most people. It's also a more secure option than using a cloud or email service since the app doesn't work through the internet -- just your network -- your files won't be copied or saved anywhere besides your connected devices.
You can also download a Chrome extension that will allow you to share images and PDFs with just one click, directly from the browser. The extension will also allow you to send attachments up to 10GB in Gmail and Slack, giving you more options for cross-platform sharing. You can download the Send Anywhere app for free in the Apple App store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.
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Feem v4 is similar to Send Anywhere, but it has more of a business focus with more features for collaboration. The app also emphasizes security, noting that no one -- not even the creators of Feem v4 -- can access the files you transfer. Like Send Anywhere, this app skips any type of cloud integration -- instead, it works device to device using a shared network.
Since Feem v4 doesn't require internet access -- just a shared network connection -- file transfers won't affect your data usage. And, if you're away from a Wi-Fi connection, you can turn your device into a temporary Wi-Fi hotspot and share the connection with another device.
Feem v4 also includes a chat function, which makes it a great option for small businesses or teams who want a quick way to share files across platforms. Instead of passing around a USB drive, or uploading files and sending download links, you can quickly share and collaborate right in the app. Feem v4 is available to download free on iOS, Mac OSX, Android, Windows, Windows Phone 10 and Linux 64bit.
If you have an older Apple device that doesn't support AirDrop, Instashare helps recreate the experience as closely as possible. With Instashare, you can simply drag and drop images to share between multiple connected devices seamlessly - but unlike AirDrop, it also works with Windows and Android. Instashare doesn't enforce any file limits and you won't need to register.
This app is aimed at users who want to share images between personal devices, rather than sharing images with other users. But you can still share with other users - as long as you're on the same network, you can instantly send files, images and videos with one click. Instashare also works with a number of third-party apps through extensions including Safari. You can download Instashare for free for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices.
Device continuity is usually determined by the ecosystem you buy into. If you're the type of person who wants an Android smartphone, iOS tablet and Windows PC, then you know they don't always play nice with each other. But with Pushbullet, you can create a more cohesive experience across different devices, operating systems and web browsers including Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Windows.
The app not only allows you to quickly send files between your own devices, but you can push SMS messages and notifications across your devices, respond to text messages and even chat with other Pushbullet users. You can also set alerts for different interests -- websites you follow, your favorite artists or even specific news topics. Links can also be shared quickly, without copying and pasting -- so you can instantly switch between devices.
Unlike other apps on this list, you do need to register for Pushbullet, but if you're looking to do more than just share some pictures or files quickly, it's a great option. You can download Pushbullet for free as a mobile app, browser extension and desktop program.