How-To Geek

Control Your Android from a Browser with AirDroid

AirDroid for Android replaces your USB cable with your web browser. Transfer files back and forth, send text messages, play music, view your photos and manage applications — all without installing anything on your computer.

AirDroid is completely free; it doesn’t even contain ads. It functions as a web server, allowing your Android device and your computer to communicate over the network.

Getting Started

AirDroid is available for free from the Android Market. It supports Android 2.1 and later. Android 4.0 isn’t as well supported at the moment, but AirDroid should update with improved support soon.

Launch the AirDroid app once it’s installed and tap Start to start the AirDroid server.

AirDroid tells you exactly what to do — plug the IP address into your web browser’s address bar.

You’ll see a login page. Use the code from your Android to log in. This prevents unauthorized access to your device.

If you don’t see a login page, your Android device and computer are probably on different networks. They must be on the same network to connect. If your computer is connected via a wired connection, it’s possible the Wi-Fi network and wired network are isolated from each other.

AirDroid’s Home Screen

Once you’ve connected, you’ll see AirDroid’s main page, which contains links and statistics about your device. At the bottom right corner, you’ll see the Wi-Fi connection strength, bars of cellular coverage and battery level of your Android device.

Click the Detail link to see more information about your device’s storage and the files it contains.

Transferring & Managing Files

Click Files to view the contents of your SD card. If you want to clean out your file system, deleting files from here is quicker than going through a file manager on your Android.

Use the right-click menu to manage files — Delete deletes them permanently, while Export downloads them to your computer. Export as ZIP downloads several files or directories to your computer as a single file.

Use the Import button to add files to your device over the air, without lifting that USB cable.

Sending Text Messages

You can send SMS messages using the Messages panel. No need to pick up your Android and type messages in; participate in a conversation right from your web browser.

The Contacts and Call Logs panels allow you to browse your Android’s contacts and view its call history.

Playing Music

The Music panel allows you to use your Android device as a jukebox. Search for music and play it — you’ll get a widget that stays on AirDroid’s home screen.

The same Export and Import options allow you to transfer music files to and from your device.

Ring tones can be managed separately from the Ringtones panel

Viewing Photos

Use the Photos panel to show off photos on your monitor instead of your Android’s small screen.

Managing Apps

From the Apps screen, you can view your device’s installed apps. You can search for specific apps, or sort them by their size or installation date.

Use the Uninstall button to remove an app or the Export button to download it as an APK file to your computer.

If you want to install an app from an APK file, use the Install App button to upload it to your device and install it. To install apps from the Android Market, click the Market icon.

You’ll have to confirm each app removal and installation by tapping the option on your Android’s screen.

Using the Clipboard

If you want to copy and paste between your computer and your Android, use the Clipboard option. The From Device button copies the clipboard from your device into the clipboard box. The To Device button sends the text in the box to the Android clipboard.

Now you’re ready to replace your USB cable with your web browser. If it wasn’t for charging, you’d never have to touch your Android’s USB cable again.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 02/15/12

Comments (25)

  1. Karl

    This is awesome. Thank you.

  2. Andrew Lam

    Wow this looks amazing. Wish iOS had more cool stuff like this.

  3. metallikris

    I used this since 6 month maybe and i totally loved ! It’s very awesome, quicky quick and usefull !

  4. AlasdairGF

    My Galaxy S II came with Samsung’s Kies Air pre-installed – I wondered if anyone had used both and was able to compare? The Kies Air interface looks more cluttered… I wonder if that might be because it can do more? Or perhaps just a design issue…
    Right now I’m at work where there is no wireless network. Are there similar programs that allow you do transfer files via the internet?

  5. AlasdairGF

    …apart from filesharing services like DropBox etc of course!

  6. abdallh

    wow !!
    it’s a really awesome app
    gathers all the apps i want in one application !

  7. paula

    This is nice, but I would really like to open apps in browser as well… like at work have browser tab with my “Tiny Tower” game open in it !

  8. Ali

    I cant believe my eyes! I just cant :D

  9. Ali

    How did they manage to put these awesome graphics in just 2 megs! I can only conclude that others sucks :)

  10. Bob

    Thanks for publishing this! It’s the best thing I’ve added to my LG since rooting it and upgrading the os.

  11. unknownBut2Me

    Very impressive app! Totally useful. Thank you for promoting it.

  12. Pete

    Really marvelous little program. Superbly useful whilst so many are just Ok.

    Well done.

  13. Atakan


    I also have an s2 and so far ive used samsung keis to transfer files and to organized, but this just feels more slick. keis is just black, orange, and white boxes while this has amazing graphics. The pictures up there are not his os, its airdroid.

    Besides graphics, they are pretty much the same (including playing music). I think keis give you a couple more extra options, or not, cant remember. But this app should take care of any of your needs

  14. Atakan

    note: using the app on your phone you can also view device,apps,files,tasks,settings, and about. They are the buttons on the bottom

  15. Chris Hoffman

    That’s true, there are utilities on the phone itself. But apps that do that are a dime a dozen. Most people will be interested in the web browser interface.

  16. Chris Hoffman

    And thanks everyone for commenting! It’s a brilliant app and I’m glad I could share it with you all.

  17. Cody Blevins

    I’ve been using this for around 6 months now, and it works flawlessly. I even modded my Galaxy S to use Android 4.0, and the functionality is still there for me. I’m still able to use the messaging and file management features (which is what I use this app for). Definitely one of my essential apps and I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t like pulling out their USB cable to make a quick transfer or two.

  18. Chris Hoffman

    @Cody Blevins

    Good to hear it works on Android 4.0 for you. The developers provide a warning about Android 4.0, so I passed that on to readers.

  19. Abdeali

    Its an awesome app … n its Size even more awesome
    In short – Its big dynamite in small size package

  20. GirlGeek

    Finally…this is what I’ve been waiting for! I’ve been a root user for about 6 months and use just about every program imaginable but, even so, everything has been so cumbersome to do. I’m off to the Market to give it a try. Thanks a lot for your review!

  21. Andy

    This is awesome.

  22. Catherine A. Macleod

    I’m a fairly new user of an android tablet, which I bought mainly so I can get ebooks.
    Will this app work on my android tablet (3.2) , or is it just for android phones?
    Hope it will work as it sounds great.

  23. Chris Hoffman

    Yup! Should work on tablets too; it’s all the same OS.

  24. Dark Reality

    Thanks! The default port did not work for me for some reason. I changed it to four random numbers and it worked. Maybe that will help somebody else who has problems.

  25. aaron

    @dark reality.

    – possible something was using the default port. Like another app.
    – possible it defaults to low port number which would require root. If the random number were high enough. @more than 1024 it may also help.

    : )

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