I often exchange files from my Linux desktop to my smartphone and other computers on the network. If I want to share files between a mobile and a desktop PC, I mostly use KDE Connect. For sharing files between two Linux desktops, I use Croc. While looking for more file sharing utilities, I came across Snapdrop. Oh boy, it is awesome! I’m so glad I found it. For those wondering, Snapdrop is a simple, progressive web application to easily share files between multiple devices on the same network via a web browser.
It doesn’t matter which device or OS you use. Snapdrop can able to share files across multiple platforms as long as all the devices are in the same network. For example, you can transfer files from an Android phone to a Linux desktop or share files from your iPhone to a Windows system or share files between two mobile devices. Snapdrop just works out of the box without any configuration or setup.
Transferring files using Snapdrop is safe and secure! It will not upload your files to any server. Snapdrop uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection if WebRTC is supported by the browser. It simply finds the devices on the network and transfers the files locally via wifi. Since the files are sent using WebRTC, all of your files will be encrypted while being sent between the devices. In browsers that don’t support WebRTC, Snapdrop uses a Web Sockets fallback to transfer files and connects the clients with a stream.
Snapdrop is a web-based application, so you don’t even need to install it. All you need is just a web browser, for example Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. It is also self-hostable. You can host it on your computer and share files instantly with other devices. What more you want?
Snapdrop is considered as a minimal, web-based replacement for Apple’s AirDrop local file sharing utility. You can call it a HTML5-clone of AirDrop. The one caveat is that all devices should be on the same network. In contrast to Snapdrop, AirDrop works regardless of network and available by default in stock iOS.
Share Files Between Multiple Devices Using Snapdrop Via Web Browser
As stated already, Snapdrop doesn’t require any installation! Open Snapdrop website by clicking on the following button from your desktop or mobile devices.
The Snapdrop website will now open in your default web browser. A random name will be assigned to your device.
As you see at the bottom middle of the Snapdrop site, my device name is “Turquoise Ferret”. Each time you open the Snapdrop site, a new random name will be given to your device.
Now, Open Snapdrop site in all other devices as well. As soon as the Snapdrop site is opened in other devices, you will see the name of all devices in each other’s browser window. Have a look at the following screenshot. I have opened Snapdrop site in my desktop PC and tablet PC. Both devices are visible in each other’s browser.
Here is how Snapdrop looks like in a Tablet PC:
As you can see in the above screenshot, the name of my tablet PC is “Pink Rooster”. The device shown at the middle of the screen is my Desktop PC.
This is what Snapdrop lools like in a Desktop PC:
If you access Snapdrop site on a third device, the name of that device will also appear in all other devices too.
Once the device appears in the browser session, just click on it to attach, choose file that you want to share. A file download notification message will appear on the other device. You can either accept and download the file or ignore it. It is that simple! No more sign-ups, no more installation!
Snapdrop can also share text messages between devices.
To share a text message, right click on the device and type your message and hit the Send button.
It could be useful while sharing an URL between two computers or mobile devices.
The official Snapdrop site has been built using the following technologies:
You can also self-host it on your own server using Docker. Install Docker with Docker compose on your system. We have already posted Docker installation steps for Ubuntu and CentOS in the following links.
After installing Docker, clone the Snapdrop repository:
$ git clone https://github.com/RobinLinus/snapdrop.git
This commands clones the contents of Snapdrop repository in a local directory named “snapdrop” in the current directory. Cd into the cloned directory:
$ cd snapdrop
Start the Snapdrop container instance using command:
$ docker-compose up -d
Now open your web browser and navigate to
To restart the container, run this command:
$ docker-compose restart
To stop the container, run:
$ docker-compose stop
For more details, refer the Snapdrop project’s github page.
Personally, I have been using Snapdrop to quickly share screenshots and URLs between my mobile and my Ubuntu desktop PC. It works fine all the time. As far as I tested, there are currently no limits on how many files I can share or the size of the file. If you are looking for a dead-simple file sharing utility for your mobile or desktop system, Snapdrop might be a good choice!