How-To Geek

How to Easily Synchronize Music, Videos & Photos with Your Android

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Apple users have iTunes to synchronize their media libraries back and forth, but what do Android users have? Google doesn’t provide any official method of synchronization. Enter Synx, a simple, open-source tool for synchronizing your media files and your Android.

Synx synchronizes media folders on your computer with the equivalent media folders on your Android. You can also use your Android’s storage like a USB flash drive if you’d rather copy files back and forth manually.

Getting Synx

You can download Synx for free. It’s only for Windows at the moment, but the developers promise a Linux version in the future.

They only offer Synx in .zip file form at the moment, so you’ll probably want to dump the contents of the zip file into another folder.

Mounting Your Device

You’ll have to mount your device’s storage before Synx or any other program on your computer can access it.

First, connect your Android phone or tablet to your computer using its included USB cable. After it’s connected, drag the notification bar at the top of the screen down to reveal the notification area.

Tap the “USB connected” option in the notification list.

Tap the “Connect storage to PC” button

Using Synx

You’ll have to tell Synx the drive letter of your Android device. You can find this under Devices with Removable Storage in your Computer window.

On my computer, it’s drive F:, so I typed F:\ into the Android Device Drive box.

By default, Synx uses the default Windows media folders as your music, video and pictures folders. If you have your media files in custom folders, you can enter their paths manually.

If you’re an iTunes user, you can use the “Find iTunes Content” button to point Synx at your iTunes media library folders.

Click the Synx check box under every type of media you want to sync. If you want to back up your device’s photos to your computer, enable the “Back Up DCIM” check box under Pictures. Synx puts the photos into your computer’s Pictures directory.

Click the massive “SYNX!” button when you want to perform a sync.

Manually Managing Files

Double-click your Android device’s storage in the Computer window if you want to browse it manually.

You can place files anywhere in here, but you should probably use the default folders for better organization. You’ll find music in the Music folder and videos in the Video folder. You can create subfolders in here to better organize your files, if you want.

If you’ve taken photos with your device’s camera, you’ll find them in the Camera folder inside the DCIM folder on your device’s storage.

You can copy files back and forth to your computer using drag and drop or copy and paste.

Disconnecting Your Device

When you’re done using your device’s storage, tap the “Disconnect storage from PC” button before unplugging your device.

If you don’t see the USB Mass Storage screen, pull down the notification bar and tap the “Turn off USB Storage” option to bring it up.

Synx doesn’t have a lot of advanced features for controlling the sync process — the ability to exclude files would be nice — but it gets the job done with just a few clicks.

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 02/28/12

Comments (13)

  1. Tom Wilson

    I prefer rsync.

    cygwin +rsync for windows or rsync for linux.

    set the excludes if necessary and off you go.

  2. YB

    My music is to large to synchronize with this software. Actually all of my data is.

  3. dima

    same here, can’t fit all my music on my phone so I stream it with Subsonic instead :)

  4. Lodhi

    Or you can use AirDroid without installing anything on computer and without having a USB cable.

  5. welshblood

    I use iSyncr. You can sync everything, or select playlists as required. Brill!

  6. mjschmidt

    Option 1 (for music): Connect device to PC with USB cable. Run Windows Media Player. Create a sync list. Sync.

    Option 2: Dropbox + Dropsync. No wires required, you don’t even need to be near your computer.

    Option 3: Microsoft Sync Toy.

  7. hArLtRoN

    @ mjschmidt
    Dropbox already has an app for Android, so Dropsync isn’t necessary if your using Dropbox

  8. trinity343

    eh i don’t care for syncing my stuff to my phone…especially if i have to plug in to do it. all my music wouldn’t fit so i just stream it using Audiogalaxy app on my media PC and my phone and play my music that way

  9. vida

    AirDroid is a much better and easier app for this.

    I use it all the time.I have a Galaxy S2 and the crappy Samsung Kies software is a joke so was really glad to find AirDroid

  10. mjschmidt

    @hArLtRoN: Yes, I know, i suppose I should have been clearer. I meant not only that you should have Dropbox on your PC, but on your Android device you should have _both_ the Dropbox app _and_ the Dropsync app.

    Why? Because… the Android Dropbox app, by itself, will not auto sync files (yes, I know, the new version will auto-upload photos and videos from your device, but that’s not what we’re talking about). and even if it did, the Dropbox folder is not in an obscure sub-folder of the Android “data” folder on the SD card.

    Next you install Dropsync (there is a free version, and a paid version) and tell it which folders on your SD card you want to have AUTO-sync with which folders in your Dropbox account. The free version lets you choose only 1 folder on the SD card, but it can have sub-folders within it. The paid version lets you choose multiple folders on the SD card.

    This way when you make dump something from your PC into the folder you’ve indicated with Dropsync, it will automatically be downloaded to the device and put in that folder (thus skipping the step of having to open the Dropbox app, navigate to the files and then exporting one by one to your SD card).

    I have a “Photos” folder on my Android devices (Nexus S, and Transformer Prime) in which are a number of sub-folders, including a “new” folder. After i have taken photos with my phone, I move them from the DCIM folder to the “new” sub-folder within the “photos” folder.

    At regular intervals, Dropsync checks for changes to any/all folders/files within “Photos”. so anything in the “new” folder gets synced by Dropsync to the corresponding folders in my Dropbox account. Now on my PC i can see what’s “new”, back them up to CD/DVD for protection, and then sort them on the PC as I see fit into the other sub-folders, like photos of my son, other people, things I want, etc. Later, dropsync on my Android devices checks my Dropbox account, sees I’ve sorted these photos to different sub-folders, and then re-syncs to rearrange them on both my devices.

    As I am using the free version atm I can only sync one folder, which is why I do it with my photos, but I will likely buy the paid version so i can sync other folders, like documents, ebooks, videos, and music.

    Of course I only have 2GB of space on Dropbox. It would be nice if we had this sort of cloud sync functionality built in to Android, and that is likely coming down the road. It would also be cool if Microsoft finally gave Android an app for SkyDrive 9like they did for iPhone) so i could sync with my 25GB SkyDrive account. Something like Windows Live Mesh for Android would be very cool as well.

  11. Firas

    @mjschmidt: I like the way you got it setup, thanks for sharing that. by the way there is a app named “browser for SkyDrive” on the Android Market but it will not support or upload some audio files & some other file formats.

  12. Nick

    Great article but it would be nice if you could do one about AirSynx as well.

  13. Chris Hoffman


    Sure, I’ll take a look at it — thanks!

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