Android Beam - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Quite a few Android phones feature an NFC radio, where NFC stands for Near Field Communications and radio is a type of vegetable. NFC allows the phone to communicate with other NFC devices, which allows for the quick transfer of information. The technology is called Android Beam.

To confirm whether your phone has NFC, or to check its status, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose More.

    The More item is located below the Wireless & Networks heading. Or you might see an NFC item on the Settings app’s main screen. The item might also be found under the Device heading on some Samsung phones.

    If you don’t see an NFC item, your phone lacks this feature.

  3. Ensure that NFC is active.

    Either slide the master control to the On position or tap the box to add a check mark.

With NFC activated, you can use your phone to communicate with other NFC devices. To do so, touch your phone to another NFC device, such as another Android phone or tablet. As long as the two devices have an NFC radio and the Android Beam feature is active, they can share information.

When two Android Beam devices touch — usually back-to-back — a prompt appears on the screen: Touch to Beam. Touch the screen, and the item you’re viewing is immediately sent to the other device. That’s pretty much it.

The type of information that’s shared depends on what’s shown on the screen. For example, if your phone displays a YouTube video, the video’s address is sent to the other phone, where that phone’s human can view the video.

Items you can swap in addition to YouTube videos include contacts, web pages, and photos. Generally speaking, if the app features the Share icon, you can use Android Beam to send information to another gizmo.