How to Connect an Android to a PC

Corded and wireless options to connecting your phone to your computer

Image of a phone connected wirelessly to a computer

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If you want to connect an Android to a PC, there are several options. The most common approach is to use a USB cable, but there are a number of wireless solutions that'll work just as well, and often offer a faster connection.

How to Connect an Android to a PC

Most Android devices come with a USB charging cable, with the charger end connected via the USB end of the wire. If you unplug the USB end from the charger, you can plug that end into your PC to initiate a connection with your computer.

However, if you don't have your USB cable with you, or prefer a wireless solution, these are the ways you can connect an Android to a PC without a cable:

  • Using AirDroid: This popular app uses your home network to establish a connection between your computer and Android device and transfer files.
  • Bluetooth: Most modern computers have Bluetooth available. You can use Bluetooth to transfer files from your Android.
  • Microsoft's Your Phone App: Microsoft now offers a new app for Windows 10 users called Your Phone, which provides an easy connection with your Android.

Connect an Android to a PC With USB

Using a USB cable to connect your Android to your PC is easy, but it only allows you to transfer files back and forth. You can't remotely control your Android using this connection.

  1. First, connect the micro-USB end of the cable to your phone, and the USB end to your computer.

    Image of plugging in an USB cable
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  2. When you connect your Android to your PC via the USB cable, you'll see a USB connection notification in your Android notifications area. Tap the notification, then tap Transfer files.

    Screenshot of USB options on an Android phone
  3. On your computer, you'll see a notification asking what you'd like to do with the new USB device. Select this notification.

    Screenshot of an Android connection notification
  4. This will open a window to select how you'd like to use the device. Select Open device to view files.

    Screenshot of USB device selection in Windows 10
  5. Now, when you open Windows Explorer, select This PC and you'll see your device available. Select the device to expand it and browse through all of the folders and files on your phone.

    Screenshot of browsing an Android phone with a connected Windows PC

Connect an Android to a PC With AirDroid

AirDroid is an impressive app because it allows you to not only transfer files to and from your Android, but it also includes a number of remote control features.

  1. Install AirDroid from Google Play onto your Android device.

  2. Open the app and enable the features you plan to use. You may need to create a new AirDroid account if this is the first time you're using the app.

    Screenshot of the AirDroid app on Android

    Some features, such as remotely controlling your Android screen, requires root access to the device. Additionally, some features are disabled unless you purchase the Premium plan.

  3. Visit AirDroid Web, and log into the same account you created above.

    Screenshot of AirDroid web login
  4. Once you connect, you'll see the main dashboard. On the right, you'll see a toolbox with a summary of information about your phone storage. On the left, you'll see all of the apps that let you control your phone.

    Screenshot of AirDroid dashboard
  5. Select the Files app to browse files on your phone and transfer files back and forth.

    Screenshot of Files app on AirDroid
  6. Select the Messages app to review stored messages on your phone or to launch a new SMS session with anyone in your contacts list.

    Screenshot of messages in AirDroid
  7. You can even use the Camera app to remotely view and control the camera on your Android phone.

    Screenshot of remote camera control with AirDroid

Connect an Android to a PC With Bluetooth

If you only need a connection to transfer files, bluetooth is an excellent option because it requires no wires and the transfers are fast and easy.

  1. Make sure bluetooth is turned on for both your Android device and your computer. When it is, you'll see the computer show up on your Android as an available device to pair with.

    Screenshot of Android available bluetooth devices
  2. Tap this device to pair with it. You should see a pair code appear on both the PC and on your android device. Tap Pair to complete the connection.

    Screenshot of pair code on an Android
  3. Once connected, on your PC right-click the bluetooth icon on the right side of the taskbar, then select either Send a File or Receive a File.

    Screenshot of sending a file from a PC to Android over bluetooth
  4. Next, browse to the file on your PC that you want to transfer and select Next.

    Screenshot of browsing to PC file to transfer over bluetooth
  5. This will initiate the file transfer from your PC to your Android.

    Screenshot of bluetooth file transfer from PC to Android

Connect an Android to a PC With Microsoft Your Phone

Another convenient cloud bases service that'll let you access your phone's files, texts, and notifications is a new service provided by Microsoft called Your Phone.

The Your Phone app is ideal for those situations when you've forgotten your phone at home. From your laptop, you can still see all messages and notifications you might have otherwise missed.

  1. Install the Microsoft Your Phone app from Google Play onto your Android. You'll need to accept all of the requested security permissions.

  2. Install the Your Phone app from the Microsoft Store onto your Windows 10 PC.

  3. Launch the Your Phone app on your computer and select Android as the phone type that you want to connect to. Then select Get started.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Your Phone launch page
  4. Your computer will connect to your Android phone. Select Photos from the left panel to view all photos on your phone.

    Screenshot of viewing photos on Android from your computer
  5. Select Messages to view messages, or send and receive new messages, from your computer through your Android phone.

    Screenshot of accessing Android messages from Your Phone app
  6. Select Notifications to view all recent notifications on your Android phone.

    Screenshot of viewing Android notifications with Your Phone app