How to Transfer Files Between Linux, Android, and iOS Using Snapdrop
Cross-platform file sharing has never been easy. Of course, you have services like AirDrop, Nearby Share, and Quick Share, but they only work within their ecosystems.
As a result, if you want to transfer files from Linux to an Android/iOS device or vice-versa, you need a cross-platform file sharing service. Even though you do have a few different options in this regard, Snapdrop is the most effective file-sharing service of the lot.
Here’s a guide detailing Snapdrop and how to use it to transfer files between Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
An Introduction to Snapdrop
Before jumping straight into transferring files using Snapdrop, here’s a quick primer on the service.
Snapdrop is essentially a web-based clone of Apple’s AirDrop. It uses a P2P (peer-to-peer) connection to facilitate file transfer between devices, so you can use it with pretty much any device irrespective of the operating system it’s running. And the best part, you don’t have to sign up for the service to use it.
Talking about the privacy and security aspects, Snapdrop uses WebRTC, which makes encryption mandatory, and therefore all your files get encrypted in transit. Plus, the service claims that it never stores users’ files since it doesn’t even use a database.
Since it’s an open-source service, its source code is available on GitHub. You can check out and review the code if you’re worried about its security implications or want to learn more about its working.
Transfer Files Between Linux, Android, and iOS
Snapdrop’s only usage requirement is to use a WebRTC-based browser. And since pretty much all major web browsers today—Chrome, Brave, Edge, Firefox, etc.—use WebRTC, you’re at liberty to choose any one of these browsers.
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll use Google Chrome to demonstrate the file transferring process between Linux, Android, and iOS devices. Feel free to use your browser of choice.
Note: The two browsers between which you are trying to transfer files need not be the same.
Share Files From Linux to Android or iOS
To share files from a Linux computer to an Android/iOS device, first, make sure both devices are on the same network.
Next, open the web browser on your computer and navigate to the Snapdrop website. Repeat the same step on your Android/iOS device.
If your computer and Android/iOS are on the same Wi-Fi network, they should be visible to each other on Snapdrop. Your discovery name will be shown next to the You are known as label. If you’ve got multiple devices on your network visiting Snapdrop, they’ll also appear on the screen.
Now, to transfer files from your computer to Android/iPhone, follow the steps below:
Click on the device to which you want to send files.
Snapdrop will then open the file explorer on your computer. Use it to navigate to the directory containing the files you want to transfer.
- Select the files to share and hit the OK or Open button.
Alternatively, you can open the file manager and browser side-by-side and drag-and-drop files from the file manager onto the receiving device directly to save yourself a few extra steps.
Next, on your receiving (Android/iOS) device, tap on the Save button when prompted with the File Received window to save the received files. Hit Ignore to deny.
If you’d like to save yourself the hassle of manually saving the files, uncheck the option for Ask to save each file before downloading, and Snapdrop will automatically download and save the incoming files for you.
All your received files get stored on your file system, and you can access them using the Files app (on iPhone) or your default file manager (on Android).
Transfer Files From Android/iOS to Linux
Much like transferring files from your Linux computer to Android/iOS, going the other way around is pretty straightforward too.
To do this, ensure that both devices are on the same network. Next, open your favorite web browser on your Android/iOS device and Linux computer, one by one, and visit the Snapdrop website.
Once you’re on Snapdrop on both these devices, they should be visible to one another. Follow the steps below, depending on your smartphone, to send files to your Linux computer via Snapdrop.
- Click on the Linux machine’s name in Snapdrop and select Files (or your default file manager).
- Choose the files you want to share and hit Select or OK.
- Tap the name of the Linux machine on Snapdrop and select Browse to open the Files app.
- Now, navigate to the folder from which you want to share files, select the files to share, and tap Open.
- Alternatively, to share photos, select Photo Library from the menu and choose the photos you want to share.
Now, switch to your Linux machine, and you’ll see a pop-up window asking whether you want to save the received files. Hit Save to download them to your machine. Alternatively, tap on Ignore to disallow the transfer.
As mentioned earlier, here too, you can uncheck the Ask to save each file before downloading option to download received files automatically to your computer.
Snapdrop Options You Might Want to Explore
Although Snapdrop happens to be minimal in terms of appearance and functionality, it does offer a few extra options to increase usability and improve user experience.
Here’s a list of these options and settings that you can change:
1. Send a Message
As the name suggests, this feature allows you to send a message to another device on Snapdrop. It can come in handy when multiple users on your network are accessing Snapdrop, and you want to identify the right person before sharing files with them.
To message another Snapdrop user on Linux, right-click the person’s name, enter your message in the Send a Message window, and hit SEND.
To send a message from an Android or iPhone device, tap-and-hold the device to which you want to send your message until you see the Send a Message option. Enter your text in this window and hit the SEND button.
2. Enable Notifications
Snapdrop lets you enable on-site notifications, so you get an alert whenever someone messages you or shares a file.
3. Turn On Dark Mode
If you prefer dark interfaces, you can hit the Moon icon in the top-right corner of the screen to switch between light and dark modes.
4. Save Snapdrop as an App
Lastly, Snapdrop also lets you save the site to your smartphone’s home screen like an app, so you can easily access it with just a click and not have to type the website’s address in the URL over and over.
For this, on your Android device, open the website, tap on the Phone icon in the top-right corner of the screen, and click Install. If you’re on iPhone, go to the website, hit the Share button, and select Add to Home Screen.
Easily Share Files Between Linux, Android, and iOS
With this guide, you can easily use Snapdrop to share all kinds of files between your Linux computer and Android/iOS device.
Needless to say, since Snapdrop is a cross-platform service, you can also use it to share files between your Android phone and iPhone, along with other devices as well.
If you want a comprehensive look at other file sharing methods, check out all the fastest file transfer methods to share files between PCs and mobile devices.
PC-to-mobile files transfers are easy to do. This article covers five fast transfer methods between PCs and mobile devices.
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