PairDrop: Share Files P2P in AirDrop Mode from Your Browser

Today, I’d like to talk to you about a file-sharing tool you’ll love: PairDrop! It’s like AirDrop for the web, and it works on all your devices, regardless of the OS. Smartphone, laptop, desktop PC—everything works! The only condition is that you have a modern web browser.

With PairDrop, you can send images, documents, text—basically anything you want—in the blink of an eye. It uses a P2P (peer-to-peer for the noobs) connection to directly transfer files between your devices on the same local network. And the best part is that you can also transfer files over the Internet to share with friends remotely!

To do this, simply join a temporary public room, and bam, all devices in the same room can exchange files. It’s super convenient for quickly sharing stuff with people, even if they’re not on the same network. And of course, it works perfectly even if you’re on a sketchy network like public Wi-Fi, your company network, a VPN, or something like iCloud Private Relay.

On top of that, PairDrop handles complex connections like a pro. For example, if you want to share something from your mobile in hotspot mode, no problem! Devices outside your local network that are behind a NAT are auto-connected via PairDrop’s TURN server. It’s magic!

You can also pair your devices via a 6-digit code or a QR code, so your devices always find each other through shared secrets, no matter the network. Pairing is persistent too, so even if you close PairDrop, your devices will reconnect when you reopen it. And of course, you can edit and unpair your devices with just two clicks.

Files are transferred after a request is validated. Once the transfer is complete, they are auto-downloaded directly if possible. If you send multiple files, they’ll be zipped nicely. On Android and iOS, you can download, share, or save to your gallery via the “Share” menu. When you send multiple files at once, there’s even a nice global progress indicator.

And I haven’t even mentioned the other really handy features the developers have added. For instance, you can send files directly from the context menu on Ubuntu (with Nautilus), on Windows, or from the “Share” menu on iOS and Android. There’s even a command-line interface for the real techies! You can also change your display name to easily differentiate your devices.

The folks behind PairDrop have thought of everything. For example, you can paste files/text and choose the recipient afterward, and most importantly, your devices won’t go to sleep during a transfer. You’ll even get a warning if you accidentally close PairDrop during a transfer, and there’s a preview for videos and audio!

It’s open source too, so you can check out the code on GitHub and even contribute if you like. However, if you want to host your own instance of PairDrop, like on a Raspberry Pi, you’ll need to go through the documentation to configure your STUN/TURN servers, but it’s definitely within reach of any motivated geek. I’ll make a tutorial if you want.

Tech-wise, it’s classic but effective: HTML5, JS ES6, CSS3, PWA, all that good stuff. With WebRTC and WebSockets for the network part. A backend in Node.js, because JavaScript is life. They also use IndexedDB for storage management, zip.js for file compression, cyrb53 for hashing, and NoSleep to prevent sleep mode. All solid, community-approved libraries.

Go ahead, give it a try—you’ll thank me later.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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