How to Share Apps with Your Friends on an Android Device

Featured image depicting an Android phone sharing apps (source: Pexels.)

With thousands of free and paid Android apps available in the Google Play Store, it can be tricky to explain to friends which app to download. Luckily, you can share apps on Android anytime, even if you aren’t physically near your friends. This tutorial walks you through how to share apps between Android devices, using three methods.

Share Apps on Android Using Nearby Share

If your friends are right next to you, you can share apps on Android using Nearby Share. Start by swiping down on your phone’s screen. This will display the Android Quick Settings tray, then click the Nearby Share icon. Ensure that your device is visible to others in the pop-up.

If you’ve previously hidden the Nearby Share menu on your Android phone, you’ll need to undo it. Toggle the Device visibility slider to “on.” You can also control who can send or receive apps by changing the Nearby Share settings to Everyone, your phone Contacts, or Your devices.

Turning the Device Visibility

Once both Android phones are in Nearby Share mode, there are two ways to share apps between them.

Method 1: Share by Long-Pressing the App

To follow the first method, select an app on your home screen or in the app drawer, then long-press it. Click Share -> Nearby Share.

In this example, we are sharing the Netflix app using Nearby Share, instead of other visible options, such as Gmail, WhatsApp, and Google Drive.

Sharing Netflix app using Nearby Share, among other visible options such as Gmail, WhatsApp, and Drive.

The Nearby Share menu will be Ready to receive. The sender needs to tap on the receiver’s name on their screen. The receiver can Accept the app transfer or Decline.

After the app is transferred, the receiver will find it in their Downloads folder. They should click it to install it on their device.

Method 2: Use Google Play “Manage Apps and Device”

The second method involves the “Manage apps and device” setting inside Google Play and allows you to share multiple apps at once.

Open the Google Play app, click on your profile icon at the top, and select Manage apps and device. Go to the Overview tab, and click on Send.

Share apps by clicking

Select as many apps as you would like to share with your friend, then click the Send button. They will need to go to their Manage apps and device setting and select Receive. Tap on the recipient’s mobile device in Nearby Share mode.

Using Google Play with Nearby Share to select receiver and share multiple apps.

Tapping on your friend’s device name will generate a Ready to receive message on their device. They need to click Receive to start the app transfer. You can see a live status inside the Google Play app and choose to Install or cancel the installation.

Receiving multiple apps in Nearby Share mode via Google Play's Share button.

Note: Nearby Share on Android phones requires both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to be turned on automatically. It cannot operate using mobile data alone. However, having mobile data turned on won’t interfere with file and app sharing.

Share Apps on Android via Google Play Store Link

There are several Google Play apps and links that let you share and install apps on other devices.

  • Messaging apps: an obvious choice that is quick on the fingers and works even when your friend lives in another country. When you long-press an app, you are given the choice to share it using WhatsApp, Slack, Telegram, or other messaging apps to drop an APK file on your friend’s device. They’ll need to permit the messaging app to install unknown apps from other sources.
Enabling Install Unknown apps for WhatsApp on the phone.
  • ShareMe: a truly great app that doesn’t even require an Internet connection to share apps between Android devices that are close to one another. Provide ShareMe with All-files access to manage all of your phone’s files. Before you send items, it will prompt you to Change system settings to connect wirelessly. When the sender hits the Send button, the recipient is required to scan a QR code to receive the apps.
ShareMe app that uses QR code scanning to transfer apps from one Android device to another.

Tip: did you know that you can also share files and apps between Android and Windows on a common network?

Share Apps Using SHAREit

Just like ShareMe, SHAREit allows you to transfer files and apps between nearby devices through a QR code scan. Unlike ShareMe, Wi-Fi is required throughout the app transfer process.

1. Click on the Send button on your device, then have the recipient click Receive.

2. You will have multiple tabs, including Files, Videos, Apps, and Photos. Select Apps to choose the apps you want to transfer.

3. With the Bluetooth on, click the receiver’s icon on your device to initiate the transfer. The receiver will be required to scan a QR code to complete the app transfer.

If you need to share apps between Android devices, any of the above methods will work. However, if you need to share other types of content, check out our guide on how to share content wirelessly on Android.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox

Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *