Android Beam

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Android Beam
Initial release2011; 12 years ago (2011)
Operating systemAndroid OS
SuccessorNearby Share
Service nameFile sharing
TypeUtility software

Android Beam is a discontinued feature of the Android mobile operating system that allowed data to be transferred via near field communication (NFC).[1] It allowed the rapid short-range exchange of web bookmarks, contact info, directions, YouTube videos, and other data. Android Beam was introduced in 2011 with Android Ice Cream Sandwich.[2] This was improved after Google acquired Bump. By 2017, ComputerWorld included Android Beam in a list of "once-trumpeted features that quietly faded away", observing that "despite the admirable marketing effort, Beam never quite worked particularly well, and numerous other systems for sharing stuff proved to be simpler and more reliable."[2]

Android Beam was deprecated starting with Android 10 in January 2019.[3][4][5] Google replaced Android Beam with the introduction of Nearby Share, which is an AirDrop competitor by Google.[6]



Android Beam is activated by placing devices back to back with the content to be shared displayed on the screen. If the content is able to be sent, the screen will shrink down and display "Tap to Beam" at the top. Tapping the screen sends the content from the one device to the other. A sound will play when devices are near and able to beam. When the data has been sent, a confirmation tone will play or a negative tone will play if failed and the content will shrink off the screen indicating beaming is complete. Sharing is one direction and the device sending content will not get content from the receiving device.


To activate Android Beam, both devices must support NFC (Near field communication) and have it enabled in addition to passing the lock-screen or logging in.

4.1 Jelly Bean update[edit]

As of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, devices can use Android Beam to send photos and videos over Bluetooth. Android Beam uses NFC to enable Bluetooth on both devices, instantly pair them, and disable Bluetooth once complete automatically on both devices. This only works between Android devices version 4.1 and above.

Application support[edit]

For beaming of specific content, an app is allowed to control the content being sent when adding Android Beam support. If the app does not specify data, beaming the app will open it on the receiving device. If the receiving device does not have the app, it will open the application page in the Play Store.

S Beam[edit]

S Beam refers to an extension of Android Beam by Samsung, first used on their Galaxy S III phones. It uses the near-field communication to establish a Wi-Fi Direct connection between two devices for the data transfer, instead of a Bluetooth connection.[7] This results in faster transfer speeds between devices which feature S Beam. S Beam is limited to devices with S Beam support, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC such as HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S III.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Google announces NFC-based Android Beam for sharing between phones (video)" Engadget. Oct 18, 2011. Accessed Jan 13, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Raphael, JR (2017-12-05). "Android nostalgia: 13 once-trumpeted features that quietly faded away". Computerworld. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  3. ^ Swider, Matt (2019-05-08). "Android Q won't have Android Beam". TechRadar (News article). New York, NY: Future US. Archived from the original on 2020-04-14. Retrieved 2020-05-06. Android nowhere to be found in the ongoing Android Q beta...we found out that it's not coming back, either, according to the reps we talked to who are working on Android updates.
  4. ^ Rahman, Mishaal (2019-01-05). "[Update 2: Not Coming Back] Google is deprecating the Android Beam API used to share files with NFC". XDA Developers (News brief). Havertown, PA: KC Online Media. Archived from the original on 2020-05-06. Retrieved 2020-05-06. The commits deprecating the Android Beam APIs have been merged.
  5. ^ "Android Beam deprecation". Archived from the original on 2020-08-30. Retrieved 2020-08-25. In Android 10 we're officially deprecating Android Beam, an older feature for initiating data sharing across devices through Near Field Communication (NFC).
  6. ^ "Instantly share files with people around you with Nearby Share". Google. 2020-08-04. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  7. ^ "Samsung's S Beam teaches Android a new trick." CNet. June 20, 2012. Accessed Jan 13, 2013