Transfer files over Wi-Fi Direct on Android

Wifi direct is a new technology that can help us transfer files wirelessly in a way similar to Bluetooth, but in blazing fast speed, much faster than Bluetooth. Like Bluetooth, Wifi direct has the same “discover, pair and send” functionality. However Wi-fi direct is not as universal as Bluetooth at this moment. Some devices may not be Wi-Fi direct enabled. In this demo, we will use a Samsung Galaxy phone and a Huawei smartphone, with Wi-Fi direct available on both of them. No third-party apps required. Also note that both devices must be in the same physical location but Internet connection is not required.

Step 1. Connect two phones via Wi-Fi Direct

There seems to be some difference in how it is implemented on different devices. Generally speaking, you can go to Settings > Wi-Fi, touch the toggle to turn on Wi-Fi on your Android phone, then activate Wi-Fi Direct. You can think of WiFi Direct as a sort of Bluetooth over Wi-Fi, or file transfer over Wi-fi. You need to enable Wi-Fi on the phone before you can turn on Wi-Fi Direct.

On Huawei mobile phone, you can find the Wi-Fi Direct option at the bottom of the screen where all the Wi-fi networks are listed. Touch Wi-Fi direct to scan for available devices nearby.

On my Samsung Galaxy mobile, turn on Wi-Fi from Settings, touch the More menu (three vertical dots) at the top right corner, then choose Wi-Fi Direct from the drop-down menu to activate Wi-Fi Direct on Samsung phone. Your phone will then search for other Wi-fi direct ready devices.

Touch the mobile phone name in the Available Devices to send a connection invitation to that phone. Go to the other Android phone to accept the invitation and connect the two Android mobile phones through Wi-Fi Direct.

When a phone is connected via WiFi direct, you can find its status in the Available Devices changes from Available to Connected. You are now ready to initiate file transfer between the two phones through Wi-Fi direct.

Step 2. Send and receive files via Wi-Fi Direct

Wi-Fi Direct is usually implemented in the Share or Action menu on Android phones, same place you choose Bluetooth, Email and other options to send files. You can select photos, videos from the Gallery app, then tap Share > Wi-Fi Direct, then select a Wi-Fi Direct connected device to share the selected photos, videos. You can select any file(s) from the files manager on your phone to send them through Wi-Fi Direct.

share photos via Wi-fi direct on Huawei phone

On the receiving device, you may receive a Wi-Fi Direct Incoming Files notification. When you get this notice, confirm you want these files. The files may also be received automatically without the confirm on some devices.

Different Android phones may save the files received through Wi-Fi Direct to different path or folder on the phone. On my Samsung phone, the default Download folder receives all the incoming file transfer via Wi-Fi direct; on my Huawei phone, a new folder name Wi-Fi Direct was created to store all files and documents received via Wi-Fi Direct.

Wi-Fi Direct file transfer apps

We have noticed that for data sharing between two Huawe phones, there’s no need for third-party transfer apps. Wi-Fi Direct allows you to directly transfer data between Huawei devices. If you want to share files across different phones, like Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi, Nexus, Tecno mobile, you need to use a third-party file transfer or manager app. You may refer to this guide to setup and use Wi-Fi Direct on Android phone for more details.

Share files without Wi-Fi Direct on Android

There are many other ways you can transfer files between Android phones without Wi-Fi Direct. You can connect two Android phones via Bluetooth, then exchange between them via Bluetooth. Email is a good way to share files across different devices. Many third-party apps, such as AirDroid, SHAREit, Send Anywhere, ES File Explorer, Xender, allow us to send files across various devices wirelessly without any fee.

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