How to Transfer Photos from Android to Computers with USB or Wirelessly

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How to Transfer Photos from Android to Computers with USB or Wirelessly

Key Points

  • You may wish to learn how to transfer photos from an Android device to a computer if you run out of storage space on your device.
  • You must first use a USB cable to connect the android smartphone to the computer.
  • Follow the instructions below to enable transfer mode and transfer your photos.

While Android smartphones can store thousands of photos, they have fixed storage. That means they’ll run out of space at some point. Knowing how to transfer photos from Android to computers can ensure you never lose any of your precious images due to space constraints. The good news is there are multiple ways of transferring photos. We’ll touch on all the best methods and share tips for fast and error-free transfers.

How to Transfer Photos from Android to Computers with USB

The sheer number of Android smartphones available is staggering. While all allow you to transfer photos from Android to computers with USB or wirelessly, the easiest way for most people to transfer large batches of photos is to use a USB cable.

The type of cable you need depends on your phone, but the cable used to charge your Android smartphone will suffice. With newer models, it’s probably a USB Type-C cable while older smartphones may have a USB-A port. USB-C provides faster transfer speeds, although both types of cables can send photos to PCs with ease.

We performed these steps on a Samsung smartphone. The screens and menus may vary to a degree depending on your device, but the overall process remains the same on Windows PCs and Chromebooks.

1. Connect your Android Smartphone to the PC

Take the USB cable and plug it into a USB port on your computer, and then plug it into your smartphone. Make sure your phone is unlocked, or the computer won’t be able to “see” your device.

2. Enable Transfer Mode

If you see a window pop up on your PC showing your phone and receive a “USB for file transfer notification”, skip to the next step. If you haven’t already enabled file transfer through USB, this is where you’ll do so.


When the cable connects, tap on the Charging this device via USB notification that appears. Select File Transfer under the “Use USB for” setting.

3. Locate your Photos

If successful, you’ll see a window like the own shown below. When you click that folder, you’re given access to the internal storage of your device where your photos are located. In most cases, that will be the DCIM Folder. Find that folder and click on it to proceed to the next step.

How to create and send zip files in easy steps.


4. Transfer Files

From this Window, select the Camera folder, which opens a new window that shows all the photos on your phone. You can pick the ones you want to transfer, or select them all in bulk and drag them to a folder of your choosing on your PC.


Transfer Photos from Android to Macs via USB

Android and Windows PCs work well together, but we can’t say the same for Macs from Apple. While you can still transfer photos from an Android smartphone to one of Apple’s computers, the process isn’t quite as streamlined. To transfer photos from Android to Mac via USB, follow these steps.

1. Download Android File Transfer

Before you grab a USB cable, you’ll need to head over to Andoroid.com and pick up the official Android File Transfer app. This allows a Mac computer to recognize an Android smartphone or slate through USB and works on macOS 10.7 or higher.

2. Set up the App

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you need to open AndroidFileTransfer.dmg and then drag Android File Transfer over to Applications.

3. Connect to your Mac

Take the USB cable that came with your phone and use it to connect your Android smartphone to the Mac you want to transfer photos to. When connected double click the Android File Transfer app.

4. Transfer your Photos

When the Finder comes open on Mac, you can browse through the files and folders on your device as we outlined in Step 3 of our section on transferring photos from Android to computers via USB. Select the photos you want to transfer to send them to your Mac.

Here is a brief, step-by-step video for further reference:

How to Transfer Photos from Android using Bluetooth

If you only have a handful of photos you need to send to a PC, you can use Bluetooth. It’s a great solution for people that charge wirelessly and you’ll never have to worry about finding a USB cable for transfers.

1. Turn on Bluetooth on your PC

The first step is to turn on Bluetooth through Windows settings. You can do this by typing Bluetooth into the search bar and selecting Bluetooth and Other Device Settings from the menu.  From the new screen, use the toggle to turn on Bluetooth and make your PC discoverable.

2. Turn on Bluetooth for Android

On your Android smartphone, pull down the notification panel to access your shortcuts. Tap on the Bluetooth icon to turn Bluetooth on for your smartphone.


3. Scan and Pair

When you have Bluetooth turned on for your PC and smartphone, it’s time to sync the devices up. From the Bluetooth screen on Android, tap on Scan and look for your PC. Select it to begin the syncing process and you’ll get a message on the PC asking you to add a device. Follow the instructions until you get the confirmation screen below.


4. Transfer Photos via USB

Once paired, you can go into the Gallery on your Android smartphone and select any photos you want to send over to the PC. When you’re ready, select the Share icon and scroll until you see the Bluetooth icon. Confirm the PC you want to send the photos to, and Bluetooth will take care of the rest.


Transferring Photos from Android through Cloud Services

Another way to transfer and safely store photos or files on a PC from Android is by using the cloud. It’s something your phone may already be doing through Google Photos if you have it set to back things up, but you can also select and transfer files through a number of services.

While not designed for photos specifically, Dropbox is a popular option and a great choice when you want to send a variety of files to your PC or Mac. If you’re using a Mac, you may prefer iCloud, however, especially if you have other iOS devices.

Amazon Photos is a direct competitor to iCloud for photo storage and is widely used by photographers. They have more storage options, and you can see how the service stacks up against Apple’s cloud-based storage in our comparison. Google Drive, pCloud, and OneDrive are other excellent alternatives depending on your needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to eject your smartphone before disconnecting it from a PC or Mac?

While you need to make sure files is complete before you disconnect, doing so without ejecting the device won’t cause any harm. Doing this early may corrupt the files you’re attempting to transfer, however.

Why doesn’t Android File Transfer open on my Mac?

One primary reason is USB transfers aren’t enabled. You can fix this in the USB settings in your notification bar when you connect.

Is transferring photos from Android to computers slow using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi?

You can send a small photo in a few seconds by either protocol, but times slow down considerably with larger photos or formats.

Can you transfer photos from Android to Ubuntu using a USB cable?

Yes, you can transfer photos via the same process as you would with Android. Just remember to turn on File Transfer MTP beforehand or when prompted.

What’s the best way to transfer photos from Android to a PC using Wi-Fi?

Through a file manager application or your phone’s built-in sharing capabilities. What’s available varies by manufacturer, although dozens of apps can perform this task on Google Play or the App Store.

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