How to transfer files from Android to macOS

Android and macOS have never been best friends ever. While creating Android apps for Apple’s desktop operating system is an easy task, the situation is very different with simple file transfers. There’s Google’s Android file transfer app, but the software is hopelessly out of date, fussy, and prone to falling if you’re transferring lots of data at once. However, you don’t have to rely on Google’s transfer method – there are tons of third-party apps out there that solve transferring files between Android and macOS a lot easier, especially if all of the apps are showing you that Android file transfer is not working.

Wired solutions

When creating a cable connection to a device, Android uses MTP (Media Transfer Protocol). Unlike exFAT, this does not allow your computer to have complete control over the device’s file system, which essentially prevents you from tampering with the system partition and other sensitive data. While both Windows and MacOS offer built-in support for MTP, only the former can natively mount MTP devices. In general, MacOS has to rely on third-party applications to do this.

Use the cable that came with your phone to ensure high quality and to keep it connected while in use. However, if you don’t have it on hand, any cable suitable for data connections should be perfect.

The simple web tool: Snap Drop

If you don’t want to go through setup for nearby sharing, you can just open Snapdrop.net in both browsers on your computer. You can then drag and drop files into the browser window to transfer them to your computer, or tap your Mac’s random code name on your phone to send them the other way. Tap and hold or right-click can send messages that are useful when you need to copy login codes or phone numbers.

Open source is a progressive web app that can be saved on the home screen of your Android phone and was developed using WebRTC, WebSockets and NodeJS. Files are moved to your local network, but the first handshake between your devices is established over the Internet. If you don’t trust the developers, you can host your own Docker case.

The FTP server: Solid Explorer

If you don’t want to rely on outside services that require a handshake internet connection at all, you can also use an app like Solid Explorer to start an FTP server on your Android phone and connect to it through the Finder.

With Solid Explorer enabled, open the hamburger menu on the left and scroll down to the Toolbox where you will find the FTP Server option which shows a simple FTP address interface.

In order to protect your files from other people and devices in your network, you can set the user and password in the three-point menu at the top right.

Then press the start button. Open the Finder window on your Mac and go to Go-> Link to the Server in the menu bar.

Enter the FTP address shown in Solid Explorer and the username and password you selected.

SMS synchronization and notification mirroring: EasyJoin

EasyJoin is much more than just a tool to get files from a to b. As with Push Bullet, you can send text messages from your phone, make voice calls, provide mirror updates, share your clipboard, and control your computer remotely. The link is encrypted and local so it doesn’t depend on external servers to forward your data. The app uses accessibility resources for some of its functions. EasyJoin costs $ 13.99 in the Play Shop. Once purchased, you can use Pro Edition on all of your computers, including your desktops, and share your purchase with your family using Family Sharing on Google Play.

Notification mirroring and more: Air Droid

If you prefer a locally installed application over a website, you can use AirDroid. In addition to allowing files to be sent between your phone and Mac, AirDroid can mirror your alerts, monitor your phone on your device, embed a remote viewfinder, and help you move the phone. AirDroid ships as a mobile app (on airdroid.com) or as a properly installed app on your Mac.

AirDroid is free when you use it on your local network. However, if you want to connect over the internet, you are limited to 200MB per month and cannot use a remote camera. You should upgrade to a premium to remove these limitations.

All cloud services

If your ISP gives you a decent amount of upstream bandwidth, you may also want to use your current cloud service to send files from your computer. You can do this with almost all services including Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Locker, etc.

USB drive

You can still use a USB drive if you want to physically move files. Depending on your phone, you may need additional software to support your USB drive. There is a paid USB OTG plug-in for Strong Explorer, but you can also use the free Google Files tool. Some USB drives also have USB-A and USB-C connectors. So you can use this option if you have an older Mac that doesn’t yet have a USB-C port.

Backups and more: X-Transfer

If you regularly plug your phone into your computer to back up your files, it may be time to automate the X-Transfer process. In addition to performing simple file transfers, the tool allows you to back up personal information like addresses, text messages, and call logs. You can repeat the transfer jobs so you don’t have to select anything to copy manually. The service is available on Linux, iOS, macOS, and Windows, although the features supported may vary.

The tool can also create a Wi-Fi Direct connection if you don’t want to transfer your files over the Internet.

Free and Open Source: OpenMTP

OpenMTP is a fairly new project from a developer who is dissatisfied with Google’s Android File Transfer Tool released in mid-2019. You will get a two-pane view of the files on your screen and the files on your Android phone or SD card (or any other device that actually connects via MTP). The software supports drag and drop and has a number of keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately, some of them are not the same as those in the Finder.

The tool works great with my Pixel 3, but others on the Android Police Team are complaining that OpenMTP doesn’t recognize certain devices at all. As with Google’s file transfer app, it won’t let you access or edit files on your phone. You need to toggle them on your Mac first. You may also disapprove of the fact that OpenMTP doesn’t feel too native to macOS (an Electron app), but hey, it’s free, open source and should work well enough for most people.

Complete Finder Replacement: Commander One

If you don’t particularly like Finder anyway, Commander One might be for you. It is a two-window file manager written in Swift that copies and enhances the functionality of Complete Commander (also known as Windows Commander) that it loved. It offers multiple tabs, customizable hotkeys, root access, advanced search options, personalized file previews, and much more.

To connect your Android phone to Commander One, you need a Pro version that offers you additional features such as FTP manager, Dropbox and drive integration, process manager, themes, file compression and extraction, and terminal emulator. It comes with a one-time purchase of $ 29.99. You can try for 15 days if you are still undecided. Also check out our in-depth analysis of Commander One.

Simple web tool: file space

FileRoom.io is similar to Snap Drop, but its main aim is to share files between friends and family. If you open the page on both your phone and Mac on the same network, you will see both anonymized animal code names. Click the Send button or select your preferred file transfer device. There is also a Room news Section where you can transfer codes and texts. When you share the public room code, you can also transfer files between devices that are not on the same network. They are limited to 2 GB per file, and the company promises files will typically not remain on the server for more than 10 minutes


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