Fastest Ways to Transfer Files Between PCs and Mobile Devices
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Remember when files had to be split between multiple floppy disks to move them between computers? Or the inconvenience of burning data The 11 Best Tools for Ripping DVDs and Blu-rays to Your Computer The 11 Best Tools for Ripping DVDs and Blu-rays to Your Computer Still own DVDs or Blu-Rays? Those discs won't last forever, so back them up! Here are the best free tools for doing that. Read More to rewritable CDs? Thank goodness we’ve moved on from those primitive methods.

The truth is, file transfers have never been faster than they are today. Yet, to many of us, transfer speeds still seem like they inch along and take forever to complete. It’s funny how inconvenient it can be finding a quick and easy way to move data between devices.

Fortunately, we have you covered. Never again will you have trouble with cross-device file transfers.

Between Windows and Windows

The best method for Windows-to-Windows data transferal depends on how often you will make those transfers. If it’s a one-off file transfer, then you’re better off using something like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct.

For Bluetooth to work, both the sending and receiving Windows computer must be Bluetooth-compatible. Wi-Fi Direct is a similar concept, except files are sent and received straight over Wi-Fi instead. While Wi-Fi Direct is much faster, the downside is that it isn’t as universally available as Bluetooth.


Either way, we have a guide to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct file transfers WiFi Direct: Windows Wireless File Transfer That's Faster Than Bluetooth WiFi Direct: Windows Wireless File Transfer That's Faster Than Bluetooth Wireless data sharing from a Windows 8 computer to another device comes with its challenges. With Bluetooth and WiFi Direct we tested two popular and widely available solutions. This is what we found... Read More on Windows 8.1; check it out if that’s the way you want to go.

On the other hand, if you will send a lot of files over a long stretch of time, e.g. if it’s part of your regular routine or workflow, it’ll be more convenient to set up a shared folder or shared external drive on the network, one that other computers can access at any time to pull files on demand.

Consult our home networking guide Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Setting up a home network is not as hard as you think it is. Read More for more details on that.

Between Windows and Non-Windows PCs

These days, it isn’t uncommon to have some mixture of Windows, Mac, and/or Linux machines under one roof. While these systems tend to remain isolated most of the time, there are times when you might need to move a file from one to another.

The main obstacle is that each system has its own unique way of storing file data, called file systems What A File System Is & How You Can Find Out What Runs On Your Drives What A File System Is & How You Can Find Out What Runs On Your Drives Read More . For example, the most common are NTFS on Windows, HFS Plus on Mac, and EXT* on Linux. Conversion between file systems is not always easy.


But in the case of Windows-to-Mac, it is. Starting with OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), Macs have been capable of reading and writing in NTFS format, as long as the user makes a necessary system setting change.

This means you can share a folder between Mac and Windows and transfer files through it. Check out our tutorial on sharing files between Mac and Windows How To Easily Share Files Between Mac & Windows Computers How To Easily Share Files Between Mac & Windows Computers Read More for detailed instructions.


The same holds true for Windows-to-Linux, but the process is a little more involved. Each system can set up a folder for the other system to access, but you’ll need to install cifs-utils (to access Windows folders from Linux) and samba (to make a Linux folder visible to Windows).

HTG has a wonderful sharing guide that explains how to do all of this in fine detail.

Between Windows and iOS

For the most part, file transfers between Windows and iOS involve little more than music, in which case you could just go ahead and use iTunes for synchronizing–but iTunes tends to be a frustrating mess when used on Windows.

The good news is, there’s a better way.

FileApp is an app, available on both iPhones and iPads, that acts as a mobile device file manager. With it, you can browse and open any file that resides on the device you’re using, including formats like PDF, DOC, XLS, and PPT. (You get to decide which app the file opens in.)


But what we’re really interested in is FileApp’s ability to share files over Wi-Fi. It essentially turns your mobile device into an FTP server, allowing any computer to connect (using an FTP client The 3 Best Free FTP Clients for Windows The 3 Best Free FTP Clients for Windows FTP is a useful file sharing method and the go-to method for uploading files to a web host. Here are the best FTP clients you can grab for free. Read More ) and download files directly.

Head over to our guide on sharing files with FileApp Transfer Files Wirelessly Between Computers & iOS Devices With The Help Of FileApp Transfer Files Wirelessly Between Computers & iOS Devices With The Help Of FileApp One of the biggest complaints from iOS users is how tied up their devices are to their computer and iTunes. A user has to cable-connect their iDevice(s) to a computer and sync with iTunes to... Read More for step-by-step directions on how to get it set up. Do note that anyone who connects through FTP will be able to view all files on the device.

Between Windows and Android

Like FileApp, which was mentioned above, Android has several apps available on the Play Store that can turn any Android device into an FTP server. When the server is on, any computer can connect, browse the entire Android file system, and download files at will.

At this moment, my preferred app is My FTP Server. It doesn’t look too great, but it’s incredibly simple and straightforward, and that’s all you really need when it comes to file transfers.


If you’d prefer to send individual files rather than opening up your device as a full-blown file server, consider using PushBullet (recommended) or AirDroid. Both can send files over the network to any connected computer at the tap of a button.

And, of course, you could always plug your Android device straight into your computer with a USB cable, as detailed in our guide to transferring files between PC and Android How To Transfer Files From Android To PC How To Transfer Files From Android To PC Need to get a file from your Android phone or tablet to your Windows PC? It's actually pretty easy. Here's how to do it. Read More . By far the most straightforward option.

Cross-Platform Transfer Methods

In addition to all of the above methods, there are a few other techniques and services you can use that will likely work regardless of which devices you’re trying to bridge. As such, these are often the most convenient options, though they do come with their own downsides.

Dropbox is the obvious choice. We’ve written about transferring between Android and PCs with Dropbox Share Files Between Your Computer & Your Android Device With Dropbox Share Files Between Your Computer & Your Android Device With Dropbox Dropbox is an ingenious file storing and sharing tool. Not only can you upload files to your online Dropbox and share single files or entire folders, you can also install the Dropbox application on your... Read More before, but Dropbox is also available on iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Windows Tablets, Blackberry, Kindle Fire, and the Web. Use the provided Public folder for easy sharing of files.


The drawback of using Dropbox–or any other cloud-based storage–is that your files must travel through a middleman, which is inherently less secure and less private. Plus, you have to upload and download separately rather than transferring straight to the target device.

Another option is to transfer through email using a file transfer service like FileMail Share Files Up To A Whopping 30GB With Anyone Through Filemail Share Files Up To A Whopping 30GB With Anyone Through Filemail Filemail is an awesome service that allows you to send massive files up to 30 gigabytes on a free account to anyone. Read More , which is free, requires no registration, and allows files up to 30 GB in size. If FileMail doesn’t work for you for some reason, you can try these other methods for sending large email attachments 8 Ways to Email Large Attachments 8 Ways to Email Large Attachments To send large files via email upload your email attachments to a file storage and sharing service. Here are some of the best apps for the job. Read More .

But the best alternative is to use a cross-platform direct transfer app called Feem. This awesome tool is available for download on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows Tablets, and soon enough, Blackberry.

With Feem, you can make a direct transfer from any device to any other device, as long as Feem is installed on both. The transfer is made wirelessly over Wi-Fi, which means it’s fast, unrestricted, and doesn’t rely on a middleman service.

There are a few other features too, which you can learn more about in our overview of Feem for file transfers Transfer Files Quickly Across Your Devices Using Feem Transfer Files Quickly Across Your Devices Using Feem Android and Apple users enjoy the benefit of hassle-free file transfers. Unfortunately, the available apps have limited cross-platform functionality. Try Feem for Android, iOS, OS X, Linux, Mac and Windows. Read More . The one big downside is that it’s ad-supported, and if you want to remove ads, you’ll have to buy a license for each Feem app ($5 for Windows, $2 for Android, etc).

Any Other Ways to Transfer Files?

If you’re frequently shuffling files around, I’d go with Feem. If you’re working with the same files across multiple workstations, I’d stay in sync using Dropbox. But if you just need a one-off transfer, I’d go with one of the more device-specific solutions.

In any case, you should now be equipped to make any kind of file transfer between any two devices.

Are there any useful tools or methods that I missed? How do you transfer files between your devices? Enlighten us in the comments below!

Image Credits: Wi-Fi Keyboard Via Shutterstock, Man On Laptop Via Shutterstock, Folder File Transfers Via Shutterstock, Devices Around Table Via Shutterstock, Cloud Wi-Fi Network Via Shutterstock

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    December 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm


  2. Jermaine D
    September 12, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Binfer allows you to create a web drop and move anything from your phone directly to your computer, no download required! Try it for free!

  3. Shannon Cunningham
    October 2, 2016 at 7:35 am

    What about for Linux?

  4. Alpha
    June 2, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Got a question but maybe it's too late!
    Is it better to send files from PC to a micro SD card via the phone itself or via a converter device mounted on the PC which connects the micro SD card directly to the PC?

  5. guujjufrek
    May 26, 2016 at 9:39 am

    pushbullet and airdroid are useless apps. They are too modern and need internet connection. We need simple app for file transfer and shareit is the boss. Author is an idiot.

  6. Cyril
    January 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    File limitation on PushBullet unless you buy the pro version. I installed PushBullet for this one thing and this is the one thing it cannot do for free.

  7. Anonymous
    September 15, 2015 at 3:20 am

    I will check out "feem" thank you for the review.

  8. Anonymous
    August 13, 2015 at 3:33 am

    SHAREit allows you to send content including files, photos, video and documents, at lightning fast speed.
    Send files in seconds, from 1mb to 100gb.
    SHAREit works on all Windows, Android, and Apple devices (Also, did we mention it's free?)

  9. Anonymous
    July 31, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    you guys need to take a lock at Flick:
    Currently it is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Mac, Windows and Linux. I use it on my Windows 10 PC and on my iPhone. There is no setup needed and it is really easy. I think the Windows version is great because but it leeks some features yet. The iPhone app has some more features but I think there need to be some design and control changes.

    But anyway it's my favorite app for transfering files from my iPhone to my Pc (like a Video I received in WhatsApp).

  10. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 5:17 am


  11. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I personally use Google Drive to create and store any text, picture or video files. It very convenient especially when I do an assignment for class using my laptop and just use my tablet PC to display it for my teacher in class. I also use ES file manager for Android to stream my videos (tv series) stored on my Linux desktop and I have a peer to peer network set up between my Linux desktop and Windows laptop to share any extra files and share the printer connected to my Linux desktop.

  12. Anonymous
    July 9, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Another option is @JustBeamIt (! It's free, unlimited, and you don't need an account. Transfers are streamed from sender to receiver, which means there's no limits on how many files you can transfer, or how big the files can be, and nothing is ever stored in the cloud!

  13. Anonymous
    July 4, 2015 at 8:37 am

    I've just bought a device called Inateck HB4009. It's like a USB 3.0 hub with extras. I bought it because I wanted to use the same mouse and keyboard on two computers like a KVM switch without the V, and works a treat.

    But apparently you can also use it to copy from Windows to Linux or Android or which ever way round you want, and at USB 3.0 speeds. Plus you get three extra USB 3.0 ports. Neat.
    (I haven't tried file copying yet, It only arrived yesterday.)

  14. Anonymous
    July 3, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Not sure if this is exactly the same, but I use a piece of software called GoodSync to synchronize files between two devices - mainly between my home desktop and a flash drive.

    My flash drive has all the files I need to be able to work away from home - in my office, on my laptop while out and about (like while waiting around for THREE HOURS because my doctor is "running late" - insert rant here!), etc. But I don't always remember what files I created or edited on the flash drive so sometimes a file does not get coped back to my desktop. Similarly, if I'm working at home, an updated file might not make it onto the flash drive, which can be very frustrating when I forget to move over a key file that I need in a meeting.

    Goodsync lets me link a folder on my desktop to one on the flash drive and easily sync them with only two mouse clicks - one to analyze (see if there are any files to sync) and a second to actually sync the two folders). It's really awesome and superfast, and has saved me SO much hassle. You can set up one-way or bi-directional syncing and can automate the whole process if you want.

    There is a free version but I splurged on the Pro version ($30 I think?) because it allows for unlimited files in a single job and some of my folders have LOTS of files.

    • Joel Lee
      July 27, 2015 at 4:05 am

      The limited number of "sync jobs" in the free version makes me a bit sad. $30 is a little too much for me to spend on sync software. Thanks for bringing it up, though. I'd never heard of it until now. :)

  15. Anonymous
    July 1, 2015 at 1:58 am

    For intra-network use, I've been using FileDrop ( for MacPC and PCPC. Works great. I see they have iOS and Android apps, but I have not tried them. I've been migrating to a Windows laptop from a Windows desktop and I've done some large transfers. Little trouble so far.

  16. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    I use CheetahSync - great for sync of dirs between PC and Android on schedule (video mostly).
    As for smaller files...DropBox all the way with a side of OneDrive and Mega as base for larger and less often used file archives.
    And router's 'NAS' via FTP/Samba- but it's all about DLNA...

  17. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Big fan of Pushbullet and they recently released this:

  18. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    BitTorrent Sync is excellent between Windows and Windows (haven't tried it between other platforms because I don't need this facility). Parts of our household database, which I keep up-to-date because I work from home and so have easy access to scanners etc., need to be shared with my partner - and I want them kept private and not in the Cloud; I need to keep my ultraportable up-to-date so I can grab it and go out without worrying about whether or not I've got the latest information; it can all be done with BitTorrent Sync.

    The basis version is free for private use, the Pro version costs £30 a year. Everything is updated on the fly as long as the sharing devices are on (which they are) and, with the paid version, there's the ability to pause syncing when you want to at any time.

    • Joel Lee
      July 27, 2015 at 4:02 am

      At first I thought this was a transfer method that somehow involved torrenting (which would've been really cool) but it looks like it's just created by the Bittorrent company instead. Darn. It looks useful anyway, so thanks for the suggestion! :)

  19. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    There is a great free piece of software called Dukto which works across platforms provided both sender and receiver are on the same network.

    Doesn't appear to be an upper limit on file size either!

    • Anonymous
      July 2, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Yeah Dukto R6 is awesome. But it doesnt work on background on my Android device. The app must be kept open in foreground.

  20. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I usually use Dukto to transfer all of my files quickly over the LAN. It's available for just about every platform imaginable. (and it's open source!)

    • Joel Lee
      July 27, 2015 at 4:00 am

      Thanks! Dukto is exactly the kind of software recommendation I was looking for. It sounds cool. Will have to give it a whirl soon.

  21. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I transfer between android and Windows and vice versa with ES File Explorer. Works over wifi and never had a problem.

  22. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I use Send Anywhere and Dropbox on PC and Android.
    Thanks for FileMail, didn't know about it

    • Joel Lee
      July 27, 2015 at 3:59 am

      You're welcome. Thanks for mentioning Send Anywhere, I'm going to give it a try when I can.

  23. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm is great for pc to android transfers through wifi or network

    • Joel Lee
      July 27, 2015 at 3:58 am

      Nice! It's my first time hearing about Send Anywhere. Looks neat, definitely will give it a try when the next opportunity arises. Thanks Glen.