Tech Solutions

How to Connect Android Phone to Computer

Connect Android Phone to Computer

Your Android device can connect to your computer by using a USB cable. This allows you to browse the files stored on your Android device much like any USB drive. If you’re using a Mac, you’ll need a special program from the Android developers called Android File Transfer. You can also use a cross-platform program called AirDroid that enables quick wireless transfers.

Method 1

Using macOS

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  • 1 Visit the Android File Transfer website on your Mac. You’ll need the special Android File Transfer software in order to connect your Android device to your Mac and browse the files.
    • Visit android.com/filetransfer/ in Safari to open the download page.
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  • 2 Click “Download Now.” This will download the installation file to your Mac.
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  • 3 Open the installer after downloading it. The DMG file is only a few megabytes, so it should only take a moment or two to download, even on slower connections.
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  • 4 Drag “Android File Transfer” to the Utilities folder. You’ll see both icons in the window that appears when you run the installer.
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  • 5 Open your Applications folder. From the desktop, click the “Go” menu and select “Applications.”
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  • 6 Start Android File Transfer. Click “Open” when prompted to run it. You’ll only be prompted the first time after installing.
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  • 7 Unlock your Android’s screen. Your screen will need to be unlocked in order for your Mac to access the Android’s storage.
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  • 8 Connect your Android to your Mac via USB. The Android File Transfer window may jump to the front if your Android’s settings are already correct.
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  • 9 Open the Notification Panel on your Android. Swipe down from the top of your screen to open the panel that displays all of your notifications.
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  • 10 Tap the USB option. This will allow you to select the USB mode for your device. Look for the USB logo in your list of notifications.
    Computer & Tech SpecialistOur Expert Agrees: The biggest mistake that people make when they’re trying to connect an Android phone to a computer via USB is they don’t check the box that allows the phone to be used as a USB drive.
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  • 11 Select “File transfer,” “Media transfer,” or “MTP.” This mode allows your Android to connect to your Mac as a USB storage device and open in Android File Transfer.
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  • 12 Browse your files in the Android File Transfer window. The Android File Transfer window will display the folders on your device much like a Finder window.
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  • 13 Disconnect your Android when finished. Once you’re finished transferring and accessing files on your Android, simply unplug it to disconnect it from your Mac. Make sure you’re not in the middle of any transfers when you unplug it.

Method 2

Using Windows

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  • 1 Plug your Android device into your computer using the USB cable. You can use the same cable that you use to charge your Android device.
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  • 2 Open the Notification Panel on your Android. Swipe down from the top of the screen to display all of your notifications.
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  • 3 Tap the “USB” option. You’ll see this in the list of notifications in your Notification Panel. Look for the USB logo.
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  • 4 Select “File transfer,” “Media transfer,” or “MTP.” The wording will vary depending on your device. This will make your Android appear as a device on your computer.
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  • 5 Wait while the drivers are installed. Windows will typically be able to automatically install any necessary drivers to allow your Android to communicate with your computer. If the driver installation process fails or Windows cannot find the right drivers, you’ll need to install the drivers from the phone manufacturer.
    • You can perform a Google search for “phone model drivers” and then follow the link of your manufacturer. Make sure to not download drivers from unknown sources.
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  • 6 Open the “Computer/This PC” window. This will display all of the devices and drives connected to your computer. You can open this from the Start menu or press ⊞ Win+E.
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  • 7 Double-click the Android device. It may only be identified by the model number. It will be listed in the “Devices and drives” or “Devices with removable storage” section.
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  • 8 Browse your Android’s files. After opening your phone in the Computer/This PC window, you’ll be able to see the various folders for the Android file system. Common folders include DCIM (camera), Pictures, Videos, Music, and Ringtones. Apps will often generate app-specific folders as well.
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  • 9 Eject your Android device when finished. Once you’re finished moving and accessing files on your Android, click the Safely Remove Hardware button in the System Tray in the lower-right corner of the desktop. Select “Eject” for your Android device.
    • You may have to expand the hidden icons to find the Safely Remove Hardware button.

Method 3

Using AirDroid for Wireless (Mac and Windows)

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  • 1 Install the AirDroid app on your Android device. You can get this app for free from the Google Play Store. This app will allow you to connect to AirDroid on your computer and transfer files wirelessly.[3]
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  • 2 Create an AirDroid account. This will make it easier to get your Android and computer connected. Tap the “Sign Up” button when you start AirDroid for the first time and follow the prompts to create an account.
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  • 3 Download the AirDroid program for your computer. The desktop app is available for free for Windows and Mac. You can download it from airdroid.com. Scroll to the bottom of the site and click the Download button for your operating system.
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  • 4 Run the installer for AirDroid. After the download it finished, run the installer to install the desktop client.
    • Make sure to decline the offer to install McAfee Web Advisor if you don’t want this additional unnecessary program.
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  • 5 Allow access through your Windows Firewall when prompted. Launch the app after installing it and you’ll be prompted to allow access to AirDroid for your Windows firewall. This will enable remote access to your Android device.
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  • 6 Sign into the AirDroid desktop app. Sign in with the same account you’re using on the AirDroid Android app. This will automatically connect you to your Android phone.
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  • 7 Send files to your Android from your computer. You can quickly add files to your Android device by dragging and dropping them into the AirDroid window. Click the “Transfer Files” button and select the “Device” tab, then drag and drop files that you want to add to the Android.
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  • 8 Send files to your computer from your Android. Tap the “File Transfer” button in the AirDroid app’s main menu. Select “AirDroid Desktop,” and then browse for the files you want to send. The files will be transferred wirelessly to your computer.

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