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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).

  • On your phone, you can do things like order in a cafe, find items in a store, or set up a new device.
  • Each on your own phones, you and your friends or coworkers can do things like play games or collaborate in apps.

Nearby notifications are silent and clear automatically.

Note: Some of these steps work only on Android 8.0 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

Turn Nearby notifications on or off

You can turn Nearby notifications on or off at any time. Your device will list available Nearby interactions in your Settings app even if you turn off notifications.

Opt out of all Nearby notifications at first use

The first few times that you get a Nearby notification, you'll see a shortcut to mute future Nearby notifications.

  1. Tap the notification.
  2. Tap Notify you when links are available.
Control Nearby notifications by type

Control places & devices

  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then Nearby and then Settings Settings.
  3. Tap the type of notifications that you want to control.
    • Turn that notification type on or off.
    • Pick other notification options.

Control apps

  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then Nearby and then Settings Settings.
  3. Under "Using Nearby," tap the app that you want to let (or not let) use Nearby. Apps that you don't let use Nearby still work on your device.
Control Nearby notifications by source

To mute an individual Nearby notification, tap Mute notification on that notification.

To turn on or off all Nearby notifications from a certain source, like a specific store:

  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 app.
  3. Tap Google and then Nearby.
  4. On the list, touch and hold the source of the notifications that you want to turn on or off. To pick more sources, tap them.
  5. At the top, tap Mute or Unmute.

Interact with places & devices close to you

Interact with places near you

When you’re close to a place that works with "Nearby links available:"

With notifications turned on

  1. You’ll get a silent notification of what your device can do for you there.
  2. To launch the offered action, tap the notification.

With notifications turned off

  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then Nearby.
  3. To launch the offered action, tap the entry.
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 silent notification offering to set up the new device.
  5. To set up the new device, tap the notification.

Set-up can include things like installing an app, pairing by Bluetooth, or picking a password.

Share with apps on devices near you

When you have apps supported by Nearby installed on your device, 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'd like to connect with each other.

To see what supported apps you have installed:

  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then Nearby and then Settings Settings.
  3. Under "Using Nearby," see a list of your supported apps.

How Nearby works

Detects broadcasts & devices

Detects via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or sound

  • To interact with places and set up devices, Nearby uses low-power Bluetooth to detect broadcasts around your device.
  • To share and collaborate in apps, Nearby uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and inaudible sound to detect devices around your device. (Some people can hear a short buzz.)

Connects via Wi-Fi or mobile data

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

Shows broadcasted links

When Nearby detects a broadcasted link to an app or website, it shows you a notification.

Unlike most notifications, Nearby notifications:

  • Don't make noise or vibrate
  • Clear automatically
  • Show below other notification types
Doesn’t track or monitor

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

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

Troubleshoot Nearby

Check that you're at a place that works with Nearby

Check that you're close enough

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

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 notifications or listings.

  • Check that you have Nearby turned on. Learn how to turn on Nearby (above).
  • In your device’s Settings app Settings app and then Google and then Nearby, tap Refresh Refresh.
  • Try again later or in another place.
Check settings & connectivity

Check Bluetooth & Location settings

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

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

Learn how to check your Bluetooth and Location settings.

Check Wi-Fi or mobile connection

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

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

Learn how to check your Wi-Fi network or mobile network connection.

Check for same shared app

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

Nearby for apps 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 ways. Learn how to contact an app's developer.

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Amy

Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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