Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu

Use Nearby to interact with what’s around you

Nearby helps you find and interact with services and devices close to you (within about 30 m or 100 ft).

  • Nearby discoveries
    On your phone, you can do things like pay for parking in a garage, order food to your seat at a stadium, or set up a new device.
  • Nearby apps
    Each on your own phones, you and your friends or coworkers can do things like play games or collaborate in apps.
Note: Some of this information may not apply to all devices because Android isn't exactly the same on every device. These instructions are for devices with Android 5.0 and up. See what version of Android you have.

Turn Nearby on or off

Opt in to Nearby discoveries

When you’re near a Nearby signal, and haven’t yet opted in to or out of "Nearby discoveries:"

  1. On your device, you’ll get a "Tap to explore or turn off this feature" notification.
  2. Tap the notification.
  3. On your "Nearby discoveries" list:
    • To keep getting these notifications, tap I’m In.
    • To not get these notifications, tap No, Thanks.
Turn Nearby notifications on or off

After opting in to or out of "Nearby discoveries," you can turn notifications on or off at any time.

Option 1 of 2: Control notifications by type

  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings.
  2. Tap Google and then Nearby discoveries and then Notification options.
  3. Tap the type of notifications that you want to turn on or off:
    • Devices ready to set up
    • Nearby links available

If you have notifications turned on, you can also tap Notification options in a notification.

Option 2 of 2: Control notifications by source

  1. With your device’s Bluetooth and Location on, go to the source of the notifications that you want to change.
  2. Open your device’s Settings app Settings.
  3. Tap Google and then Nearby discoveries.
  4. On the list, touch & hold the source of the notifications that you want to turn on or off. To select more sources, tap them.
  5. At the top right, tap Block or Unblock.

If you have notifications turned on, you can also tap Notification options in a notification. Then, to see your list, tap Back Back.

Tip: Use discoveries without notifications

With "Nearby discoveries" notifications off, your device will still list discoveries in your Settings app.

Turn Nearby apps on or off
  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Google.
  3. Tap Nearby.
    • For all apps, tap the top On/Off switch.
    • For one listed app, tap that app, and then tap that app’s switch.

Tip: With "Nearby apps" on, apps ask you for permission each time they want to use Nearby.

Interact with nearby places and devices

Interact with places near you

When you have "Nearby links available" notifications turned on, and you’re near a place that works with Nearby, you’ll get a notification of what your device can do for you there.

To launch the offered action, tap the notification.

You can also see and use your discoveries without notifications. Open your device’s Settings app Settings and then Google and then Nearby discoveries.

Set up new devices near you

With "Devices ready to set up" notifications, Bluetooth, and Location turned on:

  1. Turn on a device that works with Nearby that isn’t yet set up.
  2. If the new device has Bluetooth and Location services, turn them on.
  3. Turn on your phone or tablet’s screen.
  4. On your phone or tablet, you’ll get a notification offering to set up the new device.
  5. To set up the new device, tap the notification.

Setup may include things like installing an app, pairing by Bluetooth, or picking a password.

Interact with apps on devices near you

When you have "Nearby apps" turned on, and you open an app that works with Nearby, and you’re near others who have that app open, your devices will ask each of you whether you want to connect with each other.

How Nearby works

Detects via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or sound

"Nearby discoveries" uses only low-power Bluetooth to detect broadcasts around your device.

"Nearby apps" uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and inaudible sound to detect devices around your device.

Connects via Wi-Fi or cellular data

Nearby may need to use small amounts of Wi-Fi or cellular data to connect to Google and get information about detected broadcasts or for shared apps.

May hear buzz with apps only

"Nearby discoveries" doesn’t use sound.

With "Nearby apps," you may hear a short buzzing sound. This is because some people, especially teenagers, can hear ultrasonic sounds.

Doesn’t track or monitor

Nearby doesn’t track, monitor, or send personal information from your device.

  • "Nearby discoveries" broadcasts are one-way, like over-the-air TV or radio. Services that send Nearby signals don’t detect or receive data from your device.
  • "Nearby apps" share on remote servers, when you give permission. The sharing devices don’t connect directly.

Troubleshoot Nearby

Check that you’re close enough

Nearby works within about 30 m (100 ft) of participating broadcasts and devices.

Check Bluetooth and Location settings

If your Bluetooth or Location are off, you won’t get "Nearby discoveries" notifications or listings.

If you give an app permission to use "Nearby apps" and Bluetooth is off, Nearby will temporarily turn on Bluetooth to connect.

Check your Bluetooth and Location settings.

Check Internet connection

If your device isn’t connected to the Internet, you won’t get "Nearby discoveries" notifications or listings.

If you give an app permission to use "Nearby apps" but Wi-Fi is off, Nearby will temporarily turn on Wi-Fi to connect.

Check your Wi-Fi network or cellular network connection.

Check that the place works with Nearby

When no places near you are sharing apps or websites with which you can interact, you won’t get "Nearby discoveries" notifications or listings.

Try these solutions:

  • Check that you have Nearby turned on.
  • In your device’s Settings app Settings and then Google and then Nearby discoveries, tap Refresh Refresh.
  • Try again later or in another place.
Check for same shared app

When you use "Nearby apps," check that all the people have the same app on their devices.

Nearby works with both Android and iOS devices.

  • If an Android device doesn’t have the shared app, the Play Store opens to download that app.
  • If an iOS device doesn’t have the shared app, that device’s owner can download it from the App Store.

Apps can use Nearby in many different ways. You may want to contact the app’s developer.

Related links

hc_author_ashley

Ashley is an Accounts expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about how to improve it.

Was this article helpful?
Watch video tutorials

To get the latest tips, tricks, and how-to's, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.