Skip to main content

BitTorrent’s new photo app is the quick and easy way to share between iOS and Android

bittorrent photo app is a fast easy private way to share across smartphone platforms shoot
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Update: BitTorrent clarified to us that the one-time fee is “per user, per platform,” meaning that once you buy it for one device’s operating system (i.e., iOS), you can use it on any device running that same OS.

Ever tried sharing a photo or video from your phone to a friend’s? It’s easy and fast between two iOS devices using AirDrop, or two Android devices using Android Beam. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, and iOS and Android devices don’t like to play nicely with each other, sharing between these two OSes requires several steps. It may involve email, messaging apps, network-attached storage, cloud service like Dropbox, etc. – essentially some type of middleman. BitTorrent’s new photo app, Shoot, eliminates the need for this in-between. It lets you send and receive photos and videos between iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices, and what’s spectacular about it is the straightforward approach and very fast transfer speeds.

You might be more familiar with BitTorrent as the peer-to-peer file-sharing technology that people use to illegally download software or first-run movies and shows (don’t do it). While Shoot is from the same company, this isn’t that. Shoot is based on BitTorrent’s Sync technology, a cross-platform file-sharing tool that works between devices, and bypasses the cloud. BitTorrent says Sync is 16-times faster than uploading to cloud-based services, there’s no file size limit, and, perhaps more importantly, the file-sharing is private because data is never stored on a remote server. The devices also don’t have to be on the same network.

Introduction to BitTorrent Shoot

Shoot is a stripped-down version of the Sync mobile app, which lets you transfer documents, in addition to photos and videos. Shoot is about photography and videography, but BitTorrent says it’s also about spontaneity – sharing during the moment it happens. You can share a single photo, or a batch containing photos and videos. While the app is free to download and it doesn’t cost anything to receive, it costs a one-time fee of $2 (per user, per platform, i.e., you pay once for all devices running on the same OS) to send. If you want to try it out first, you do get three free sends.

Here’s how it works. We downloaded the app on an Apple iPhone 5S and Nokia Lumia 520, and you’ll need to give the app access to your camera roll and rear camera. With the exception of differences in logo designs and fonts, the user interface and functionality are the same for either OS (and Android). To send a photo, you can select one or multiple photos and videos (divided by date, or moments); you can also tap on a photo to expand it, to preview it before sending. When you select a photo or video, Shoot tells you the size, or the total size of a batch; since there’s no size limit, it doesn’t matter. Once you’re done selecting, on the next screen, a QR code will appear. With Shoot on a receiving device, you simply scan the QR code to trigger the transfer process.

BitTorrent Shoot screenshots on an iPhone. With slight differences, the apps looks and works similarly on Android and Windows Phone.
BitTorrent Shoot screenshots on an iPhone. With slight differences, the apps looks and works similarly on Android and Windows Phone. Image used with permission by copyright holder

How quickly files transfer depends on the size, but during our usage it never took more than 10 seconds. A photo transferred in less than two seconds, while a 13-megabyte video required less than five seconds. We conducted the send/receive process back-and-forth between the Lumia 520 and iPhone 5S, and never encountered an issue. The app is super-simple to use (there’s a brief tutorial that walks you through the process in less than a minute) and stable, and, true to BitTorrent’s word, it’s fast.

BitTorrent isn’t the first company to tackle easy sharing of photos. Apple, Facebook, Google, Dropbox, and many, many others have their own methods of getting photos and videos off your phones and tablets. Shoot, however, requires two or more devices to be near each other, so it doesn’t work if you want to share with grandma who lives across the country. It’s also very basic, and lacks the bells and whistles that apps like Facebook Moments offer. But for times where everyone’s together, and where different phones are used, Shoot is far more effective, not to mention faster. And, you’re sharing only with people who are in front of you.

Editors' Recommendations

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
The best guitar-learning apps for Android and iOS
Woman playing the guitar

Learning guitar has never been easier. In the past, you would have needed to hire a guitar teacher and buy music books to start learning how to play, but now, the explosion in guitar apps and free online content means that you can learn guitar without breaking the bank. There are a wealth of excellent guitar apps available for the beginner guitarist, as well as specific guitar learning apps to help you get started.

This article runs through eight of the best guitar apps for beginners on Android and iOS. It includes everything from the best guitar learning apps to guitar apps that every self-respecting guitarist should have on their phones. Regardless of your level, you'll find something here to improve your playing.
Justin Guitar Beginner Lessons

Read more
The best to-do apps for Android and iOS
Woman holding phone in front of window.

Do you often find yourself procrastinating, putting off things you know you need to do, or worse, forgetting those important tasks until it's too late? Forget setting countless Alexa reminders and losing hastily scribbled to-do list notes -- there are plenty of to-do list apps for Android and iOS that can help you to get organized and tick off your tasks. We've gathered together our pick of the best to-do list apps, with something for everyone in this roundup.

You might also want to check out our pick of the best productivity apps for Android and iOS.
Memorigi (free/premium)

Read more
The best coupon apps for iOS and Android
the best coupon apps for ios and android retail me not app

Strategic shoppers often rely on coupons to help them save money on items they regularly buy or special items they plan to purchase. Coupon apps are a variation of the theme -- just like clipping coupons from your local newspaper. Typically, you'd use coupons for groceries, clothing, restaurants, concerts, amusement parks, or other services. Smartphone-based coupon apps, which are generally available free of charge from Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store, make it easy to cash in on discounts and offer numerous creative ways to save and collect. Coupon apps scan the web for deals and pass them to you via cash back, digital coupons, promo codes, or paper coupons and then let you save instantly or collect your rewards whenever you're ready.

Not all coupon apps operate the same way: Some require you to save or scan your receipt, others transform paper coupons into digital ones, while others give you a discount if you pay in advance for an item, and some combine several techniques that suit your shopping habits and preferences. We've picked out some of the most useful coupon apps available for iOS and Android.

Read more