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Transfer your files between a Windows and Mac desktop using your Android phone

Concered about the security of storing in the Cloud or just limited by a lack of WiFi? Here is how to transfer files between devices using just your Droid

If you can’t access the Cloud or just prefer to transfer a large number of files between local devices, it is surprisingly easy to turn your Android into a USB stick to migrate from Windows to Mac.

The majority of the time, connecting to a Windows PC, particularly a new one running Windows 8 and above, should be easy, but it is slightly trickier on a Mac.

A small amount of setup is required, but once you have done that, it should be quite easy to use your Android device as a hub to move photos, videos and indeed any kind of file between them.

If your device has expansion card support, this makes the entire process much easier, but there are ways around this which we will demonstrate for anyone else who needs this type of functionality.

This tutorial first appeared in Android Magazine. For more tips, tricks and tutorials for all things Android, buy the latest issue here.


  1. Step1

    Connect to Windows

    To connect to a Windows PC, simply attach your Android device to the USB cable and connect it. You will see a box appear and you will need to leave the initial setup to complete, which can take some time. Be patient and the process will eventually finish and you should be ready to start.

  2. Step2

    Choose an option

    Your first task will be to add a trigger that ultimately has an effect on some part of your device. The app lists the most common triggers at the top of the menu, but scroll down to view more before selecting one.

  3. Step3

    Move your files

    When you click the Android device drive in File Explorer you will now be able to move files to and from the device as you like. This is a manual solution, but it is extremely versatile and also feels more familiar than using any other method. Your Android device is now working with Windows.

  4. Step4

    Android File Transfer

    Setting up an Android device as a drive in Finder on a Mac can be difficult, but you do still have options. One is Android File Transfer, which is available from and provides an elegant and simple solution for moving files to and from expansion cards and main drives..

  5. Step5

    Bespoke software

    It is likely that the manufacturer of your Android device will also offer bespoke software to help you manage files. Take some time to see how well the solution works because often the simpler options are more efficient and less resource hungry than manufacturer solutions.

  6. Step6

    Wireless file sharing

    If you do have WiFi, but don’t want to use the Cloud, there there are many apps available in Google Play that will enable you to transfer files wirelessly to your desktop PCs. Apps such as WiFi File Transfer are free and very easy to set up. In the right hands it can make the process of sharing files quicker than the USB solution.