How to Transfer Android Files to Mac, PCs, and Other Devices

Move and share Android data to other devices

What to Know

  • Transfer files to Macs, PCs, iPhones, or other Androids using Android File Transfer, Android Beam with NFC, Bluetooth, or USB.
  • The method to use is dependent upon the type of device you are transferring your Android files to and your preferences.

This articles explains several methods for moving and sharing files from your Android phone. Instructions apply to Android devices with Android 9 and up and your screen might appear slightly different depending upon the phone you have.

How to Transfer Files From Android to Android

There are several ways to transfer files from one Android device to another. Two of the easiest ways are using Bluetooth and NFC technology.

Move Files With Bluetooth

Bluetooth is an easy way to transfer files between Android devices wirelessly. Supported files include videos, pictures, music, contacts, and more. The downside is that it can take a long time for media files to transfer.

To transfer files with Bluetooth, turn on Bluetooth on both devices, pair the devices, then select and transfer files.

After you pair a Bluetooth device for the first time, your devices can pair automatically. If your phone is connected to something through Bluetooth, at the top of the screen, you'll see a Bluetooth icon.

  1. Turn on Bluetooth on both devices. To do this, open your phone's Settings app.

  2. Select Connections > Bluetooth.

    If you don't see Connections, go to the next step.

  3. Turn on Bluetooth.

    Screenshots of an Android device showing how to turn Bluetooth on
  4. After Bluetooth is turned on, pair the Android devices with each other.

    In the Bluetooth settings, devices may automatically show other devices available for pairing. If not, tap Scan to search for available devices.

  5. Open the device's Settings app.

  6. Tap Connections > Bluetooth. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on. If you don't see Connection preferences, go to the next step.

    When Bluetooth settings are open, nearby devices can find your phone.

  7. Tap Scan. If you don't see Pair new device, look under Available devices. If needed, tap Scan again.

    Screenshots of an Android phone showing the path to scan for Bluetooth devices
  8. Tap the name of the Bluetooth device you want to pair with your phone or tablet and follow any on-screen prompts.

    If you need a Passkey one should appear on both screens. Ensure that both passkeys match before tapping Pair.

    Screenshots of an Android device showing how to connect to another device via Bluetooth
  9. With Bluetooth on and your devices paired, transfer the files. To do this, open the Files app on the source Android phone.

  10. Select the files you want to transfer.

  11. Tap the Share button.

  12. Select Bluetooth as the Share method.

    Screenshots from an Android phone showing how to share a file via Bluetooth
  13. Once the files transfer is activated, the device receiving the file must confirm the file share.

    Screenshots of a file being transferred from one device to another.
  14. Once the transfer is complete, the recipient can access the file in the Downloads folder on the target device.

    After pairing, the devices stay paired until you unpair them. To unpair devices, access Bluetooth settings on one of the connected devices. Next to the paired devices, select the Settings icon and then select Unpair.

How to Move Files With NFC

NFC (Near-Field Communication) is another method of simple wireless transfer between Android devices. NFC makes it possible to exchange information between Android devices quickly. To share content this way, both devices must work with NFC, have both NFC and Android Beam turned on, and be unlocked with the screens on.

Android Beam works on some phones with Android 9.0 and older. However, some Android 10 devices still have this feature.

  1. Make sure that NFC and Android Beam are both on.

  2. Open your device's Settings app.

  3. Tap Connections > NFC and payment.

    • For 9.0 and 8.0, go to Settings > Connected devices > Connection preferences.
    • For 7.0, go to Settings > More > NFC.
    navigating to NFC.
  4. Check that NFC is turned on.

  5. Tap Android Beam.

  6. Check that Android Beam is turned on.

    Enabling NFC on Android.
  7. After Android Beam and NFC are turned on, it's time to share content.

  8. On your device, open the content that you want to share. For example, a file, map, photo, or web page.

  9. Move the back of your device toward the back of the other device.

  10. When the devices connect, your device makes a sound or vibrates, and the image on your screen gets smaller.

  11. When you see Tap to beam or Touch to beam, tap the screen.

  12. Your content is sent. After you send the content, the image on the screen returns to normal size.

    With some devices, you may need to touch a specific part of the device to the other device. If the other device doesn't have the app needed to see the shared content, a notification on the other device opens Google Play, where the other device can download that app.

    A file is being transferred via NFC.

How to Transfer Files From an Android Phone to a Computer

There are a few simple ways to move files from an Android device to a Windows computer or a Mac computer. The easiest ways include moving files using your Google Account and moving files using a USB cable.

Move Files Using Your Google Account

Whether you want to access Android files on a Mac, PC, or an iPhone, using your Google Account makes the transfer process simple. When you upload files to your Google Drive, you can access those files on any device where you can access Google Drive.

To upload documents, images, audio files, and video files from your Android phone to Google Drive:

  1. On an Android phone or tablet, open the Google Drive app.

  2. Tap Add (the plus sign).

  3. Tap Upload.

  4. Find and tap the files you want to upload.

  5. Your files upload into My Drive, and you can access them from Google Drive on your desktop PC or Mac computer when you go to drive.google.com.

    Need to access Android files on an iPhone? Uploading files from your Android device to Google Drive makes files accessible on Google Drive on an iPhone.

    Screenshots from an Android phone showing a file uploading to Google Drive

Transfer Files to a Windows 10 PC Using a USB Cable

Use a USB cable to transfer files from your Android phone to a PC.

  1. Unlock the phone.

  2. With a USB cable, connect the phone to a computer.

  3. On the Android phone, swipe down to view the Notification bar and drawer.

  4. Tap the Android System notification for USB.

  5. Tap Tap for other USB options.

  6. In USB settings, select Transferring files/Android Auto.

    Screenshots from an Android device showing how to set up USB sharing settings
  7. On the Windows 10 PC, open File Explorer.

  8. In File Explorer, go to This PC. You should see the phone listed as one of the available Devices.

    Screenshots of a Windows 10 PC showing a Samsung Phone attached as a drive
  9. Open the device in File Explorer. You should see Phone and, if installed, Card (for an SSD).

    Screenshot of a Windows 10 PC showing an attached phone
  10. Copy or move files from the Android device to the Windows PC.

    Files on an Android phone viewed in File Explorer.
  11. When you're done, eject the phone from Windows, and unplug the USB cable.

    Ejecting Android device from Windows 10.
  12. Files from your Android phone are now available on your Windows PC.

How to Transfer Files to a Mac Computer Using a USB Cable

Use a USB cable to transfer files from your Android phone to a Mac.

Your computer must have Mac OS X 10.5 or newer to perform this function.

  1. Download and install Android File Transfer on your computer.

    Screenshot of Android File Transfer for Mac
  2. Open Android File Transfer. The next time you connect your phone, the program opens automatically.

  3. Unlock the phone.

  4. With a USB cable, connect the phone to the computer.

  5. On the phone, swipe down to get to the Notification bar, then tap Android System > Tap for other USB options.

  6. In USB settings, select Transferring files/Android Auto.

    Screenshots from an Android device showing how to set up USB sharing settings
  7. An Android File Transfer window opens on the computer. Use it to drag over the files you want to transfer.

    Android File Transfer on a Macbook screenshot
  8. When finished, unplug the USB cable.

  9. Files from your Android device are now on your Mac.