I know that one of the new features is WiFi-direct for ICS (noted at the very bottom of the page in the link). Is there a way to leverage this new feature to transmit files from one ICS device to another?

This would be useful because the WiFi speeds would be greater than bluetooth, and you wouldn't need to be connected to a WiFi network or create a hotspot.

The Samsung Galaxy S II apparently has this feature built in pre-ICS (go Samsung!). Is this same method available in ICS? Or is there an app for it?

EDIT: Because the galaxy nexus is made by Samsung, and is the only device out with ICS right now, I'm not sure if this "WiFi Direct" sharing (per the link and Ryan's answer below) is built in to ICS vanilla (Samsung did have WiFi Direct sharing pre-ICS, after all).

As such, I've added a vanilla tag, so I'm asking, is in the vanilla source code to allow a way for users to share files using WiFi Direct? If not, is there an app for it in the market? I want to know how to do this on all ICS phones, not necessarily just the galaxy nexus.

4 Answers 4


Android 4.0 introduces WiFi Direct in to the core of android. it basically creates an adhoc connection between one device and another using WiFi by creating what I guess could be considered an Access Point. You do not need a wifi access point to use WiFi Direct, and actually, if you are connected to wifi when turning on WiFi direct, it will disconnect you. You cannot be connected to both an Access Point and enable wifi direct.

The host device acts as an access point for other devices to connect to, then through other pieces of software, files and other data can be shared or streamed to the client device(s).

To use Wifi Direct, in settings -> wireless & networks you have to enable it. Then you should have an option to "share" via wifi. This works a lot like bluetooth sharing, where the other device has to be "ready to accept" your files. You will only be able to do wifi direct with devices that have explicit support for wifi direct. Android 4.0 is the the first version of the OS to have built in support for wifi direct. The Samsung Galaxy S II does have support for wifi direct as well. This was an added feature Samsung put in to their TouchWiz version of Android. While the settings for it are a little different then in Android 4.0, they basically work the same.

There are other devices, like some TVs by Sony, that also have wifi direct support.

Wifi Direct is not hardware specific, its part of the OS. If the device supports wifi then it supports this. It is part of the CORE OS in Android 4.0. Any device that has Wifi and is running ICS, this will work with. Some Samsung devices (I think only the Galaxy S 2) have support for wifi direct even though they are not running ICS. This is because Samsung added the support for it in to their version of Android.

While the Galaxy Nexus is manufactured by Samsung, it does not run the Samsung modified version of Android. It runs a completely "Google Experience" version of Android. The WiFi direct that exists on the Samsung Galaxy S II is different then the one built in to Android 4.0.

Here is the android SDK docs that talks about support.

Wi-Fi Direct allows Android 4.0 (API level 14) or later devices with the appropriate hardware to connect directly to each other via Wi-Fi without an intermediate access point. Using these APIs, you can discover and connect to other devices when each device supports Wi-Fi Direct, then communicate over a speedy connection across distances much longer than a Bluetooth connection. This is useful for applications that share data among users, such as a multiplayer game or a photo sharing application.

Here is a screen shot (taken from this video) showing wifi direct setting available on a Nook Color running CM9. The video is at the location where it shows wifi direct working. nook color/cm9/wifi direct

another shot

Here are 2 screenshots from my viewsonic g-tablet that is running ICS (this is not a CM9 Kang, it is vanilla AOSP android). The first shows the setting, the second shows that i turned it on. enter image description here enter image description here

To show that WiFi Direct is actually part of the core of android and not just CM9, here is the source code for the WiFi direct settings. This is the github mirror of the AOSP. You can compare it to CM9 source too.

  • Just a heads up -- I edited the question to directly ask how to transfer files with Wi-Fi Direct. Feb 28, 2012 at 2:51
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    I adjusted my answer to hopefully explain how to use wifi direct. Feb 28, 2012 at 17:52
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    I can't find anything like "Wifi Direct" under settings -> wireless & networks.
    – offby1
    Mar 2, 2012 at 15:04
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    my tablet is not running CM9, it is running VANILLA AOSP android. But here is the cyanogen code and here is the android code. They are the same. Mar 5, 2012 at 19:00
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    @RyanConrad do you have a reference for saying that WiFi Direct is not hardware dependent? The Nexus S running vanilla ICS does not have that feature enabled. The Motorola Xoom on vanilla ICS does not have that feature either. The code might be there, but I'm pretty sure there's some kind of hardware dependence, or all ICS devices would have it.
    – davidbb
    Mar 5, 2012 at 21:51

There's a new app on the Android market called FileBeam that lets you Beam DropBox files from Android to Android. Maybe that can help you too ;) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.filebeamapp.android

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    The link is eventually dead. An update is required here.
    – Firelord
    Oct 3, 2015 at 15:29

There is a reference to the feature in the source code, but with a different name: WifiP2P. Just did a search in GrepCode and found the package android.net.wiki.p2p.

Wifi Direct itself is located in com.example.android.wifidirect, so I don't think it's necessarily included in vanilla OSs, this is just an example on how to use the Wifi P2P API. Someone with more experience in Android source may know better.

  • it is included in vanilla android. I have ICS installed on my viewsonic gtablet and tried it with a friend that has the galaxy nexus. The like to wifidirect you posted is the example code on how other applications can integrate with the protocol to launch the intents that are part of the OS. Mar 5, 2012 at 14:04

For Samsung G-Note users (possibly SII and SIII users too), go to Settings, then under the Wireless and Networks section select More..., and you will see the option there.

  • The question is about stock ICS, and it's not about whether you can turn WiFi-Direct on, but if you can use it for file sharing. Oct 20, 2012 at 3:31

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