How to Transfer Files From Android to PC: 7 Methods

Christian Cawley Updated 14-12-2019

Need to learn how to transfer files from Android to PC? It’s easy with the right tricks.


You have a photo on your Android phone or tablet, and you need to get it onto your PC. But how do you do this?

As it turns out, you have several options, such as a USB cable, Bluetooth, and cloud sync. Alternatively, you might use an app like AirDroid or Pushbullet. Perhaps you’ll resort to emailing the file or photo.

Put simply, transferring files from Android to a Windows PC isn’t difficult. Here’s everything you need to know about moving files from your Android phone to your PC.

1. Transfer Files From Android to PC With Bluetooth File Transfer

Is Bluetooth enabled on your PC? Perhaps you have a Bluetooth USB dongle, or your device has Bluetooth built-in. Either way, sending data via Bluetooth file transfer from Android to Windows is a good option, particularly for smaller files.

To begin, you’ll need to enable Bluetooth on Windows, then Android.


On Windows, press Win + I to open Settings. Open the Devices section and select the Bluetooth & other devices tab on the left. Here, switch Bluetooth to On and click Add Bluetooth or other device. Select Bluetooth once more to commence the scan for compatible devices.

At the same time, open the Quick Settings panel on Android by swiping down twice from the top of the screen. Here, long-press Bluetooth. In the resulting menu, tap Pair new device and wait while your phone discovers your computer. You’ll be asked by both devices to confirm a security code to pair them.

For more details, see our guide to connecting your phone and PC using Bluetooth.


With a connection established, find the Bluetooth icon in the System Tray at the bottom-right corner of your OC. Right-click it and select Receive a file, then click Next to commence transfer.

File received via Bluetooth from Android

Meanwhile, use your Android file browser or Gallery app to select the file you wish to transfer. Use the Share button and select Bluetooth to share the data, then pick your PC in the subsequent list.

Once the data has transferred, you should receive notice that the file transfer has completed successfully. You’ll be asked where to save it, so browse to your preferred destination and click Finish.


2. Transfer Files From Android to PC With AirDroid

AirDroid is a vital app for all Android users. It’s free with an optional premium subscription. You’ll need to create an account, or sign in using Google, Facebook, or Twitter if you’re pressed for time.

AirDroid offers notification and tethering tools as well as simple file transfer to a computer on the same Wi-Fi network.

Begin by installing and opening the AirDroid mobile app. AirDroid will request permission to access calls, call logs, and media on your device. To use the app to its full capability, select Allow for these options.

Various tools are available in AirDroid. For the purposes for transferring files to a PC, ensure the Files option is set to On.


Next, head to AirDroid’s download page and grab the desktop client.

If you’re not prompted to sign in, select one of the icons or menus to prompt for your details.

On your phone, browse to the file you’re sharing, select it, and use the sharing menu to find AirDroid. Choose the file and send it.

Images sent via AirDroid to your PC are delivered to the desktop client app

Need to send files from your PC to your Android device? Simply drag and drop the file from your desktop into the AirDroid client.

3. Transfer Files From Android to PC With Pushbullet

Like AirDroid, Pushbullet syncs data and notifications between your phone and PC. In short, if you don’t fancy AirDroid, or can’t get it to work, Pushbullet is your best alternative. Begin by installing the Pushbullet Android app.

When installing, you’ll again need to agree to let the app access your media files. Click Allow if you’re okay with this, then head to Pushbullet’s website. You can sign into the web client or download the dedicated Windows app.

To send a file to your PC, tap the menu button in the app and selecting Pushing. Next, tap the paperclip icon, select your image, and hit the Send button.

A moment later, the image will appear in the web client next to the name of the sending device.

Pushbullet web client displays files that have been shared from Android to your PC

Almost instantaneously, if you’re on the same network, you’ll see the file appear in your browser window. We’ve featured this useful service previously, so check out our definitive Pushbullet tutorial Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Find out how you can keep your Android perfectly synced with your PC -- push your phone's notifications to your desktop, share files, and much more! Read More to learn more about it.

4. Transfer Files From Android to Shared Windows Folders

If you’re using an Android file manager and have a dedicated Windows sharing folder on your local network, copying data to your PC from Android is straightforward.

Although this method uses ES File Explorer, you have many other file manager choices on Google Play. You’ll probably find a similar function in the app you use.

ES File Manager has a feature called View on PC, which you can open by tapping the menu and expanding Network.

Tap Turn on to enable, then copy the displayed FTP address into your PC’s web browser (or file manager). You’ll see a browsable folder structure of your Android device. Here, it’s easy to find the data you want to share to your PC.

Browse your Android device wirelessly to find the file you need

Once you’ve found it, right-click and select Copy To Folder. Browse to the location on your PC and click OK copy the data from your phone to your computer.

This method is similar to using USB, but without the cable. Utilize our tips for faster copying in Windows 6 Ways to Copy Files Faster in Windows 10 Wondering how to copy files faster? Here are the best ways to speed up file transfers in Windows. Read More if you need to move those files elsewhere.

5. Transfer Files From Android to PC With a USB Cable

Equipped with just your phone and PC? Have the original USB cable that shipped with your phone handy? (It’s always preferable to use the original to avoid any possible issues.)

This is all you need for transferring files from your Android device to your PC in its most basic form. Connecting your phone to your PC with a cable may not have the slickness of using an app over Wi-Fi, but it’s certainly effective.

When you first connect your Android device to your PC, you’ll see the Allow access notification. Tap Allow to proceed, then drag the notification shade down. Look for USB file transfer turned on and tap this to view the full preferences. Make sure you have File transfer selected so the devices can see each other.

Next, turn your attention to your Windows computer. Open File Explorer and look for your Android device in This PC. You can identify it by its model name. When connected, you’ll be able to browse the phone’s contents and copy data to your PC.

Browse your Android device over USB

Note that if you’re connecting these devices for the first time, Windows will attempt to install the relevant drivers first. Your phone may also install an Android file manager for your PC via USB, to open whenever the phone connects.

6. Transfer Files From Android to PC Using an SD Card

Copy files from Android to Windows with an SD card

Another basic method that doesn’t bother with apps or wireless networking protocols is to copy data to your phone’s microSD card. This is a particularly useful option if you don’t have a USB cable and want to keep it simple. You will need a microSD to SD card adapter and a card reader, however.

Simply save the files to your phone’s SD card, then shut down the device. Eject the card, then insert it in your PC’s card reader to view the data.

If your phone doesn’t have a microSD card slot, most modern Android devices support USB OTG What Is USB OTG? 5 Cool Ways to Use It on Android What is USB OTG and how can you use it on Android? We explain the feature and the many ways to utilize it. Read More . Simply connect your USB SD card reader to your phone using a USB OTG adapter.

7. Transfer Files Over Cloud Storage or Email

As a last resort, you can take advantage of two everyday types of apps.

With cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive you might have transferred data to your computer without knowing it.

For example, Dropbox and Google Drive both offer automatic camera upload. If you have the cloud service client installed on your computer, photos will automatically sync to your PC.

Similar features are available with other cloud services. You can copy any data to the cloud folder on your Android device and sync it to Windows.

Use your preferred cloud sync tool to copy files from Android to your PC

Email was the first extensively used method of non-disk data transfer between devices and remains a useful option for many. All you need to do is attach the data to an email on your phone and send it to yourself.

Then on your computer, access that message and you can download the file. While this is a quick and dirty method, it’s pretty clunky. Any of the above options is much better if you need to do this often.

Transferring Files From Android to PC Is Easy

With so many different methods of transferring data of any size from your phone or tablet to your Windows PC, you’re really spoiled for choice. The only problem you might have now is deciding which method you prefer. By the way, you can also send texts from Android to your PC.

If you’re looking for methods to transfer files between other platforms, check out the fastest file transfer methods between PCs and mobile devices The Fastest File Transfer Methods Between PCs and Mobile Devices PC-to-mobile files transfers are easy to do. This article covers five fast transfer methods between PCs and mobile devices. Read More .

Related topics: Android Tips, Bluetooth, Cloud Storage, File Management, File Sharing, Wi-Fi Direct.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Ben
    June 3, 2019 at 7:47 am

    I mostly use Flip Transfer. It works on every OS!

  2. Kevin
    February 24, 2019 at 6:41 am

    You forgot to mention KDECONNECT, for Linux users. Better than all the above ones in my opinion.

  3. Galin
    November 12, 2018 at 3:28 am

    I love how the wifi direct instructions are "It should work natively." Wow. If it's so simple, why did I google this article?

    The suggestion to use OneDrive is clearly made by someone who doesn't use OneDrive. I've spent a half hour trying to share 1 picture to it...and I'm a paid user. I uploaded that same image to my free Dropbox account in about 10 seconds and it even gave me a notification that it had loaded. We have had nothing but problems with OneDrive.

  4. Karen Asson
    May 2, 2018 at 11:27 am

    I have transferred files before from my tablet to my PC but I've not got the original USB lead the one I'm using isn't showing up on the PC can anyone give me advice on how I can do this?

  5. Anonymous
    April 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

    We can also use the app :ShareIt

  6. jorge paniagua
    August 18, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I connect the tablet via USB the screen of my PC say click to view files then the next screen say that can not open file because so.. so.. so

  7. Umez
    January 24, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Can we transfer messages, contacts and whatapp msgs to the pc from the Android phones?

    • Mark Tristan R. Ocampo
      February 19, 2019 at 8:14 am

      You can use Samsung's very own Smart Switch for your Android/Galaxy phone to transfer data from current Galaxy to a newer Galaxy or PC/Mac.

      Not sure about WhatsApp, though.

    • g.m.nelson
      February 28, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      1. your contacts can be saved via the "export contacts" option in the contacts menu, they will be saved as a .vcf file in the folder 'system/PIM'. this file on a memory card can be used with the "import contacts" option on another phone (or as a backup if you have to do a factory reset). good for the contacts you have saved as "only on this device, no backup". the contacts in your google account will automatically be loaded to any other phone using the same google account.
      2. whatsapp messages can be saved as a text file using the "export chat" option in the chat menu or the 'menu/settings/chats/chat history' menu. ---I have only tried this once so don't remember where this file will be stored.--- the rest of the various media files are in folders by type in the 'WhatsApp/media' folder in internal storage.

  8. mike sampson
    November 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Seriously - this is all nonsense. i've been mapping drives between OSes for decades. Why can't i map an Android drive on my PC or vice versa? When I can do that, and attach external storage to the Android, THEN I'll consider Android an OS. Until then it's a c-level lab experiment. Going Windows for my next tablet - at least it's reached the 21st century.

  9. Jacob conner
    June 15, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Is there a way to direct download from my phone to my laptop? The file I'm trying to download is to big for my phone so ideally I want to download from phone to laptop without having to transfer files. Just curious

  10. Eric humanbenig
    June 3, 2016 at 12:21 am

    im using xperia z2 with a smashed screen and i have to open the phone in order to get access to my storage in my pc but i cant open the phone!!!1 what should i do?

  11. Anonymous
    June 19, 2015 at 1:57 am

    I used a USB to connect my galaxy s4 to my laptop with windows 8.1

    I just copied from phone and pasted it to a folder on my desktop, all from my laptop, I really didn't do anything with the phone.

    My phone was stolen from me.
    Now when I try to access that info on my laptop, they are all file types my cpu cannot read. From what I have read, it looks like I need to convert the files from my phone into a type of file that my laptop can read. So far, Im have not been successful, Anyone that van help with that?

    • Anonymous
      June 19, 2015 at 1:58 am

      Anyone that *can* help with that?

      • Christian Cawley
        June 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        What are the media file types?

  12. Annie 1980
    April 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I need help,first off, I'm not very computer illiterate
    my partner had a storage device that had the word LANA in it, it was protected with a password and when I asked him about it he said he didn't know and then it disappeared in the same day. it had been on there for a long time does anybody know what it could be, and why the need to get rid of it so abruptly

    • Zoe Green
      May 26, 2015 at 8:38 am

      Really that easy, thanks a ton, even without usb cable, we can realize the transfer process between android and PC. Just thumbs up for Airdroid. But i stumble upon this web application, which does exactly the same as Airdroid, i use it to connect. Not bad as u see. Very cute name

    • Zoe Green
      May 26, 2015 at 8:39 am

      I want to know whether Airmore or Airdroid are developed from the same company

    • thongchaiaideee
      May 27, 2015 at 7:06 am

      I would suggest you use icloud to export your contacts in iPhone as a cvs format file. It can be import to any where. For android, I would suggest you use google account to export contacts as a vcard file format. Of course, if you found this is complicate, you transfer a third party tool. Follow the below guide to do that. How to transfer contacts between phones.

  13. shaheen
    April 2, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    is there any way to transfer files between Android and PC without USB cable and Wifi/HOtspot ??

    • Christian Cawley
      April 3, 2015 at 8:02 am

      yes, Bluetooth, as explained in the post.

    • Anton
      December 12, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      I use drop2comp. It's easy and fast. There is no authentification required and it's free when wifi available.

  14. Allicia
    March 31, 2015 at 7:48 am

    SmartIO App is another good option if you are looking for direct Wifi Transfer

  15. MHB
    January 18, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Take a look at TotalCommander for Android of Ghisler. Has a bunch of Options to Transfer data.

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2015 at 11:23 am

      TotalCommander is a good app. I was using it back in the Windows Mobile days.

  16. creeem
    December 23, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    You forgot 1 very nifty Option that I use a lot. A USB Pendrive. Yes the new ones that are called "hybrid" Or "dual mode" They have a microUSB and a USB connectors.
    Yeah they won't work with your iphone Sure works for any phone with a microUSB connector and has OTG.

    • g.m.nelson
      February 28, 2019 at 10:32 pm

      however some manufacturers have not seen fit to include OTG in their system build (Sony !!)

  17. Vicntc
    December 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    MyPhoneExplorer [] by F.J. Wechselberger. I've been using it for years and it's excellent.

  18. Stela
    December 23, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Can someone tell me how to transfer files (photos and messages) from Android to iPhone 5s?

  19. Thomas
    December 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I prefer to use Dropbox to send files from my Phone. On that way I have the files on all my computers as soon they have synced and of cause in the Cloud as well.

  20. Fo'real
    December 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    This is where Samsung wins big in the Android space. It has Kies as a wired/wireless backup utility. Okay, it's notoriously flakey, but I'm not aware of a more complete Android device manager. Transfering files to, and from a pc is trivial.

  21. Berkay
    December 21, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I prefer "software data cable" app which allows me to explore my phone trough FTP.

  22. Deen
    December 21, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I occasionally use AirDroid to stay "current" but nothing beats the good old USB cable. It is simply very much faster. It's just copy and paste for God's sake!

  23. epiquestions
    December 21, 2014 at 2:34 am

    RE: Using USB cable. You don't need to use usb tethering to make it appear in windows explorer. Tethering is for sharing the mobile internet connection from your android device with your PC.

    Your device either connects via MTP (shows both the internal and external storage of the android device) or the usual Mass storage device (shows external sd card storage of the device) once you connect the USB cable to the PC with windows.

    RE: AirDroid requiring root. No it does not need root to transfer files, and does not need desktop client.

    Maybe you should do some more research regarding this topic cause you missed some points.

  24. Lana
    December 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Does PC mean Windows only?

  25. Cody Morgan
    December 20, 2014 at 12:44 am

    I use ES File Explorer to transfer them via FTP

  26. Dany Bouffard
    December 19, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Solid File Explorer can do this too.

  27. morgantown Prosthetist
    December 19, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I use skype's file transfer feature. I have skype on multiple devices with different accounts...

  28. Caroline W
    December 19, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    I use PushBullet a lot which is so easy to set up and use, but with its maximum 25mb file size, sometimes it's not enough. So, I found another service called 'ShareIt' which is a Lenovo app that can be installed on Android (don't know about iPhone, sorry) and on PC. It is also easy to set up and you can send any size file you like.

    • Ben
      December 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      ...and it's wireless.

  29. ed
    December 19, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I mostly use Airdroid, but have always found FTPServer by Andreas Liebig to be perfect with Filezilla for transferring files.

  30. ed
    December 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I'm currently on Airdroid 2.1.0 and:

    1. Do NOT require root to transfer files. Never have on the original Sprint Galaxy S, HTC EVO 4G LTE, or current Nexus 5.
    2. Do NOT need to sign in or create an account to use Airdroid.
    3. Do NOT need a desktop client as file transfers happen all the time via the web interface.

    That being said, the current Airdroid version is 3.0.2, I believe, and seems to suggest on Google Play that an account and desktop client may be needed for full functionality and that rooting may be required for something called airmirroring.

    Google Play comments also suggest that rooting is probably needed now and that the app is now full of bugs where before, it was always pretty stable for me.

    Can others on Airdroid 3 or higher comment that rooting, an account, and a desktop client are now needed for functionality?

    Airdroid used to be fantastic, but if the above is true, then I'm not updating and possibly uninstalling.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 19, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Versions losing features hadn't occurred to me; I covered Airdroid in an article I wrote for Android Magazine in the UK last year but sadly I can't quite recall what features were focused on.

      I wonder if there is a list or some forum/blog post online that covers this?

  31. Ale
    December 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Sorry, I meant Dukto

  32. Ale
    December 19, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Dueño, great Multi plataform app, and blazing fast.

  33. Phids
    December 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    The information in this article regarding Airdroid is not entirely accurate. First, no root is required (I use it on two phones and haven't had to root them). Second, sharing files between phone and PC IS possible via the web app. Third, you don't need to download a desktop client to share files using your PC. I also don't think you need to register/sign in to the service in order to use it.

    At least on my phone, I simply load the app and it gives me two different URLs that I can point to on my PC browser. This opens a page containing the files on my phone, and from there it's easy to download files from my phone. Couldn't be much easier.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 19, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      To address your points:

      1. In my experience, root *is* required to use the file transfer. However, this may well differ across devices.
      2. Again, not my findings.
      3. In the absense of a functional web app, then the desktop app is needed.

      Thanks for raising these points. However with a HTC One and a Sony Xperia E (as you'll appreciate, two quite different devices) to test this on, I can't really offer any better information. Perhaps Airdroid was having an off day?

    • David White
      December 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      This is my experience also, no root required for file transfers, on LG Enact smartphones.

    • epiquestions
      December 21, 2014 at 2:42 am

      It really doesn't matter what device it is as long as it is an android device. I'm assuming you are on Kitkat. An app requires/is granted the same permissions on Android when installed. So unless the Android versions on both your smart phones are old, Airdroid on HTC One is the same on your Xperia E, as is on my Xperia Z1, Samsung S4, Asus tablet and other Android device out there.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 21, 2014 at 7:48 am

      There is some considerable contradiction taking place here which refuses to accept a basic truth: that I have checked the web interface and am unable to share via it, hence my statements to this effect in the article.

      Please see for visual evidence. While I am wholeheartedly delighted that sharing via the web interface works for you (I'm sure you've confirmed this) the fact remains that with my devices (perhaps there is something up with my account) this is not the case.


  34. ReadandShare
    December 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I use Folder Sync to sync my devices to the cloud. You select the folder(s) to sync -- and also whether to include or exclude specific files within those folders. Fast and versatile.

    I really like ES Explorer -- but for some reason, syncing files takes a lot longer than Folder Sync.

    • Goose
      May 21, 2015 at 9:45 am

      My choice is AirMore. It allows me to manage my phone on any computer browser, Windows, or Mac. Its connection process is easier and faster than Airdroid. The best part is it's totally free.

  35. Tommy
    December 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks! My favorite solution: Sync