WhatsApp is getting closer to releasing its own file sharing with those nearby feature

WhatsApp is getting closer to releasing its own file sharing with those nearby feature

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If you use WhatsApp often with family and friends, some upcoming changes to the app might make it easier to transfer files back and forth. This previously discovered feature seems to be getting some new refinements and might be able to replace OS-specific features like AirDrop on iOS and Quick Share on Android.

WhatsApp’s Bluetooth file-sharing feature for users nearby was first discovered back in January. Although still being tested, some new details are being added to the interface, such as a screen advising what the feature does and what permissions are needed. This was found by WaBetaInfo in version of WhatsApp beta on the Google Play Store.

Credit: WaBetaInfo

The idea of the feature is simple: When you want to share a file, you’ll be able to find nearby WhatsApp users directly through a new section within the app. The app will then use your device’s Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi for discovery (without requiring a data connection), and then you and the recipient will both need to open this new sharing section to connect. 

This will be an “opt-in” approach, which means full privacy control. Additionally, WhatsApp assures users that all file sharing will remain end-to-end encrypted for security, and phone numbers will be hidden even when sharing. To use this feature, you’ll need to grant WhatsApp some permissions, including access to the files you want to share and permission to use your device’s location services to see which other devices are nearby.

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WhatsApp’s new file-sharing option could be a game-changer, particularly for large files or when you’re in an area with a weak internet connection. However, where I see the most advantage is when using across operating systems. Right now, transferring files between an iPhone and an Android is a complicated matter, unless at least one of the users knows how to use other third party tools. Most of the time, what ends up happening is that one will send the file to the other via text (or SMS), which we know can be limited and will usually result in some awful compression.

Having this available within WhatsApp, which is used quite a bit already in my neck of the woods, will definitely make file transfer (particularly photos) practically frictionless. I envision a future where I no longer need to be the middle woman trying to educate friends and family on how to upload to Google Drive or use Snapdrop in order to send a high quality picture. Let’s hope this feature rolls out soon in an upcoming update.

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