How to transfer files from Android to your PC

Get Android files on your PC by following these quick steps

anyaberkut/123RF

It’s an age-old story. File meets computer, computer wants to introduce file to its smartphone, computer can’t find the right feature for that. Transferring files (even things like high-res photos) between PC and mobile devices is often a pain, yes, but it’s not impossible. In fact there are a few different ways to do it.

In this guide, we’ll teach you exactly how to transfer files from Android to your PC, whether you want to use a software or more traditional hardware solution.

Wi-Fi transfer app

how to transfer files from android your pc pushbullet2

If your computer is connected to a nearby wireless network, one of the easiest ways to transfer files to a mobile device is to set up wireless transfer. These services specialize in porting information through your wireless network and onto a mobile device. Once set up, these services are quick, simple, and reliable, so long as your wireless internet connection is stable.

In fact, there are so many transfer services available, one of the hardest parts may be finding the right one for your PC. If you use an Android or iOS device, you will want to take a look at Portal, an app from Pushbullet. Once you download the app from your device’s respective app store and scan the website’s QR Code, you can push pictures, videos, and other files through the site and onto your mobile phone. It’s especially easy with Google Chrome because you can just drag and drop files to instantly transfer them from one device to another.

Another common solution is Filedrop, which is free for all systems except iOS (where it costs $3). Like Portal, Filedrop pairs with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices, and then lets you quickly transfer files with a simple drag-and-drop method.

An alternative for Apple users is Airdrop, a proprietary piece of software that works between all Macs and iOS devices without requiring you to download any additional software — here’s how to use it.

Cloud storage service

Most of the best cloud storage providers offer a reasonable alternative to Wi-Fi transfer apps. You also don’t actually need Wi-Fi for every step when using a cloud sharing service. Simply fire up your favorite browser, register for a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox (but which is best?) and then upload your files. Afterward, you can download the app for your phone and — as long as you have a Wi-Fi or data connection — access the same information.

The information will remain floating in the cloud, but it’s accessible from either destination. This is useful for when you need to transfer data between different platforms, and it makes it easy to share said info with friends and coworkers.

how to install fonts on ipad or iphone dropbox export font

However, both drag-and-drop transfers and cloud services have some security issues. If you’re not using a secure wireless network, then data theft is a possibility. Be smart about your transfers and sensitive information — we recommend enabling two-step verification and using a unique password (store it in a password manager) on all your cloud storage accounts.

Pair via Bluetooth

Bluetooth still has a lot of benefits in a Wi-Fi dominated age, and though pairing isn’t as quick or easy as using cloud storage, you can do it without the need of Wi-Fi. Turn on Bluetooth on your PC and mobile device, then look on your computer to see if it detects any nearby device. Try checking the “Devices and Printers” panel if there’s no automatic connection.

Most PCs will then move onto a confirmation task, where you have to type in a code or compare numbers. This will allow the computer to pair with your mobile device. The device should then appear in your list of connected drives when you look at your menu or file browser. On many PCs, you can select “Send a File” from the Bluetooth menu by clicking on the Bluetooth logo in the bottom-right corner of your screen. You can also manage Bluetooth devices more directly from the Devices and Printers panel, if necessary.

Bluetooth is a reliable method because most devices offer Bluetooth connectivity, and once paired, it’s easy to automatically pair again. If you have a very old computer and a newer mobile device, however, there may be some trouble with matching protocols — there’s also the possibility that your computer may not have Bluetooth. Although you could purchase a Bluetooth adaptor, that doesn’t exactly help you transfer those files right now.

Try an NFC connection

NFC stands for near field communication. It’s a data transfer technology that many phones and some computers now possess. With Android Beam, look into enabling NFC transfers. This protocol requires your devices to be physically close — hence the frequent “bump” and “tap” apps — but it’s still safer when compared to wireless transfers.

That said, it’s a bit more time-consuming and often limited. Apple, for example, only uses NFC for payment purposes.

apple pay partners news

Even if you can’t establish an NFC connection directly with your PC, take a look at external hard drives and similar devices that can use NFC. This may be an easy way to quickly transfer data to and from your PC using an intermediary device. Plus, you get an external hard drive to use in other situations — these are our favorites.

Stick with email

Ahh, email. Solid, dependable, sensible, and not at all exciting. Nonetheless, it’s often handy when you need to transfer files from your desktop to a nearby tablet or smartphone. Not everyone has the fancy apps, services, and connectivity listed above. That’s where email can be a lifesaver. You’ll need to login to your email account on both devices, but that’s not much of a hardship for a relatively quick and painless way of transferring files.

It’s easier than a lot of other options, and most mobile devices are now smart enough to open attachments in a readable form, especially if you use a PDF. Thanks to OneDrive and Office 365, you may also be able to open and edit Word docs directly within your email client.

There are ways to use Office for free too.

When all else fails, try a USB drive

While the commonplace USB drive has recently fallen out of favor due to wireless functionality and the aforementioned cloud, sometimes the best option is still using a flash drive or an external hard drive to move your files. Not only is setting up a USB connection safer than transferring your data wirelessly, it’s ideal when you want to save a lot of content and transfer it all at once to multiple devices without weighing down your wireless network.

The key is picking out the right USB device to use. Many Android devices, for example, use USB On-The-Go, which can pair with compatible USB storage devices and allows for quick transfers between your PC and Android device.

Another alternative to consider is a wireless media reader. These are external hard drives that use SD cards or USB drives that can create their own hotspot, thus giving you a plethora of connection options for both your PC and mobile devices. You won’t even need a wireless network nearby — just think of them as a jack-of-all-trades for moving content around.

Mobile

T-Mobile attempts to reinvent customer service with its new ‘Team of Experts’

In an attempt to reinvent how it approaches customer care, T-Mobile announced its Team of Experts. Whenever a customer contacts T-Mobile, they're given direct access to the same team members each time without being put on hold or…
Photography

8 easy ways for you to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Mobile

How to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android devices

There's nothing worse than getting a new phone and realizing you don't have any of your old contacts listed. Luckily, it's an easy problem to solve. Here's how to transfer your contact list to your new device.
Home Theater

HDMI 2.0b is a whole lot more than just a connection to your TV

HDMI 2.0b is the backbone for many of the latest updates in 4K UHD technology. And while a new cable standard can often involve a bunch of changes for consumers, that is not the case this time around.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Computing

The browser-based Monero miner Coinhive generates around $250,000 each month

Despite a fall in cryptocurrency mining, the Coinhive Monero miner is still highly active, generating around $250,000 each month. Coinhive also contributes 1.18 percent of the total mining power behind the Monero blockchain.
Deals

For work or for play, these are the 5 best laptop deals for college students

Whether you're getting ready for a new school year, shopping for a special student, or just need a new computer, we've got you covered: These are the five best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to an on-the-go gaming…
Computing

Steam survey shows PC gamers are still mostly playing in 1080p and lower

Valve Software’s latest hardware and software survey for July 2reveals that 63.72 percent of Steam’s registered members still play games with a 1080p resolution. Even more, only 1.14 percent are playing at a 4K resolution.
Computing

The Andromeda botnet still lingers as nations struggle to clean infected PCs

A report by Fortinet suggests that although the FBI and Europe ended the Andromeda botnet’s reign in late 2017, there are still infected PCs. Cleaning up these PCs isn’t progressing at the same pace across various regions.
Computing

Windows 10 can split and resize windows with ease. Here's how to do it

Windows 10 is a great desktop operating system, and its many window management features are part of the reason why. Here's how to divvy up windows using Snap Assist and other native tools.
Computing

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.
Mobile

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.