How to Transfer Files from an Android Device to Your Mac

By Matt Klein on September 4th, 2015

If you use a Mac almost exclusively, but you’re still an Android holdout, you can manage your device’s storage using a handy, free app called Android File Transfer.

Unlike on Windows, you can’t just plug your Android device into your Mac and access its file system. To do that, you need a special application.

Android File Transfer is the best way to transfer files from your Android device to your Mac and vice-versa. It’s lightweight, free, and a cinch to use.

So, say you have files, such as pictures or music that you want to quickly save to your phone, you can use Android File Transfer and perform the process in just a few minutes using the staid USB transfer method.

Before you begin using Android File Transfer, it’s a good idea to make sure your Android device is properly configured. First tap open the “Storage” settings, then from the upper-right corner open “USB computer connection”.

Make sure your device is configured as a “media device (MTP)” and you should be good to go.

If you try to start Android File Transfer without your Android phone or tablet plugged into your Mac, you will receive the following message.

Also, if your device is locked, you will need to first unlock it and then restart Android File Transfer before you can access its files and folders.

Using Android File Transfer isn’t likely to throw you off too much. You’ll be presented with a pretty typical file/folder view, which will be your device’s SD storage.

Here you will be able to perform the usual file/folder operations like copy, move, and delete.

If you try to delete something, it’s important to understand that it is permanent, meaning that it doesn’t first go to the Trash. Luckily a warning dialogue will appear before you can finish the operation.

You can also create new folders such as if you have a bunch of files that need their own special place. Use “Cmd + Shift + N” or click the new folder icon in the upper-right corner.

Android File Transfer is not only a good way to perform easy file and folder operations, but you can also use it to quickly clean up your phone. If you have tons of old photos clogging your storage, it is much faster to clean them out using your Mac than to go through and tap them all one by one.

We recommend you give Android File Transfer a try if you want to interface with your Android device in a manner much similar to how you would on Windows. You’ll likely find it much more time-efficient and you can make sure everything on your device is organized the way you want.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave your feedback in our discussion forum.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and died-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.

  • Published 09/4/15
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