Skip to main content

How to send files from Android to Mac OS X

how to transfer files android mac header copy
Image used with permission by copyright holder
It may seem impossible to marry an Android phone with a Mac, but the two devices can actually coexist in harmony despite what Apple or Windows aficionados might tell you. Though the exact process for pairing your Android smartphone or tablet with your desktop Mac depends on the model of Android device and your operating system, the entire process rarely takes more than a valid Internet connection, an app, and the standard USB cable that first came with your device. The transfer software will allow you to move everything from movies and music to pictures and podcasts between your two devices, along with other various media and slew of contact data. So, try not to let the social pressures get you down — Android and Apple can play nice together. Here’s how.

Update: This article has been updated since it was originally published in Feb. 21, 2013 to include new methods for transferring files. DT Editorial Assistant Emily Schiola contributed to this guide.

Transfer files using:

Transfer files using Wondershare Mobile

Premium features often come at a premium price. Wondershare ($35) is the perfect case in point, a paid offering that allows you to conveniently back up all facets of your Android device — apps, contact, text messages, etc. — and quickly transfer files between your device and Mac with a few simple clicks. The streamlined software also allows you to send text messages from computer and organize your apps with ease.

Step 1: Head over to the Wondershare website and click the download button corresponding to either the free trial or premium version of the software. Afterward, follow the on-screen wizard to install the program.

Wondershare download
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Launch the software and plug the Android device you wanted to transfer files from into your computer using a standard USB cable.

WonderShare MobileGo for Android
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Next, click the green Backup button within the main interface to back up your Android device. Check the boxes pertaining to the content you want to back up from the resulting menu, whether it be files, SMS messages, contacts, calendars, or something else. Click the Backup button once you’re satisfied with your selection.

Backing up Files
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: Click the Restore button housed directly underneath the backup button within the main interface. Once done, a pop-up window will prompt you to choose which files and folders you’d like transferred between your Android device and your Mac. Choose which files you’d like to transfer using the category pane on the left-hand side of the application window and drag the files you’d like transfer.

Wondershare Mobile Go
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Related: How to play iTunes music on an Android

Transfer files using Android File Transfer

Wondershare isn’t the only option for transferring files between your Android device and your Mac. Google File Transfer is a native application specifically designed to move files between Android devices running Android 3.0 or later and Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 or later. The freemium software lacks the bells and whistles of more robust applications, but it’s simple and comes devoid of ads, rendering it a top contender for file-transfer software with a 4GB storage limit.

Step 1: Navigate to the main Android File Transfer website and click the green Download Now button near the top of the page. Afterward, launch the installer and drag the Android File Transfer icon into the Applications folder before launching the software.

Android File Transfer
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Plug the Android device you wanted to transfer files from into your computer using a standard USB cable, ensuring the screen is unlocked in the process. The software will automatically open when you plug your device in after the first time doing so. Afterward, browse and move the assorted files and folders on your device as you would any other content. You can even delete files and folders or create new ones by clicking the folder icon with the addition sign in the upper-right corner of the application window.

Nexus 7
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Related: How to transfer contacts between iPhone and Android

Transfer files using Dropbox

Cloud services are a big deal as of late, providing a convenient means of digitally storing files and precious information for those worried about the possibility of technology failing. Although there are many cloud services out there, we recommend Dropbox given the basic package includes 2GB of free storage and the service’s robust compatibility on mobile and Web-based platforms (i.e. Android, Kindle Fire, iOS). Plus, you can earn even more free space when you refer friends to the software.

Step 1: Head over to the main Dropbox website and click the blue Sign up button if you haven’t created an account already. Next, navigate to the Google Play Store and download the accompanying Android app before entering your respective login credentials.

Dropbox for Android
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the mobile app, select Upload here, and choose the files or folders you wish to upload to Dropbox before clicking the green Upload button in the bottom-right corner. Afterward, access Dropbox on your Mac and locate the file(s) you wish to transfer before clicking the blue Download link at the top of the page and selecting the appropriate save location for the resulting file.

Dropbox Upload 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Related: How to root your Android phone or tablet

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
How to back up an iPhone using Mac, iCloud or PC
iphone x notch

Backing up your iPhone will come in handy if you ever lose your phone or need to transfer contacts to a new device. Your iPhone probably contains thousands of pictures of places you visited, the moments you shared, and adorable pet photos you captured.

Backups are also a good way to restore your phone if something happens to iOS, or you're sick of dealing with a buggy beta. We recommend creating regular backups of your phone to avoid losing pictures, contacts, and any important files that you've downloaded.

Read more
How to transfer files from Android to your PC

Transferring files to and from your Android smartphone is now easier than ever. Whether you're on Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS, you can send photos, files, and folders quickly and easily with just a few steps.

Here are some of the best ways to transfer files from Android to your PC and more.

Read more
How to password protect a folder in Windows and macOS
A lock surrounded by keys.

Your computer probably has at least one or two files with sensitive information that you don’t want anyone getting their hands on. Maybe it’s a private work document or a digital file with all your passwords on it. Either way, you always want to take extra steps to ensure that your most crucial information is as safe as possible. Systems like Windows or macOS will let you password protect a folder so that anybody who uses your laptop can’t just sneak a peek at those sensitive files.

If you ever need help remembering passwords, consider these picks on our list of the best password managers.

Read more