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How to download media from your Android smartphone

A smartphone isn’t just ‘smart’ because it lets you watch YouTube, browse the net and check your emails, it’s become the nexus for communication beyond just a phone call; sharing images and videos, voice clips and music, letting you pay for services without your wallet, each year we see more inventive ways to access, consume and create digital content and store all of it in the palm of your hand. But what about when you want to take all of that content, out of your hand and put it onto your computer?

method of transfer android

We all know at least someone with hundreds of pictures on their smartphone gallery and chances is, that’s the only place they live. You may have amassed a number of amazing photographs or downloaded your favourite album straight to your Android device, but it’s not always clear of the best way to move it onto your computer.

Depending on the content and convenience, it sometimes makes more sense to use one method over another. One big influential factor is which operating system the computer you’re transferring to runs. In some cases the transfer methods for Mac OS and Windows are very different.

Mass Storage

The process of transferring files from an Android device to a computer is typically easiest when placing the smartphone into Mass Storage mode. For the most part, practically all Android Gingerbread devices can be placed into Mass Storage mode on Mac OS or Windows.

HTC Android smartphones demonstrate Mass Storage mode particularly well. When plugging an HTC (running any version of Android) into a computer, you’re immediately presented with an option to switch to Disk Drive mode on the device. The process to enable mass storage mode is typically a case of selecting the option from the notification that will appear in the notifications tray once you connect your device via USB.

Enabling this mode then shows your smartphone’s storage on your computer as you’d expect to see a typical USB stick. You can then access files as you would any folder, simply by dragging and dropping. When finished, eject the drive as you would on any computer and remove the USB lead from your droid smartphone.


In longhand referred to as Media Transfer Protocol, this is the more recent method of file transfer found on Android devices. Some newer Android Gingerbread devices, as well as practically all Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean toting Android handsets make use of MTP.

Windows – The process of connecting your Android smartphone to a Windows computer will remain unchanged with respect to Mass Storage. Your device should appear as removable media, much like a USB stick as before and transferring content is simply a case of dragging and dropping into the desired folder.

Mac OS – MTP isn’t supported in the same way as with Windows computers, although the process only requires one extra step. Before having the ability to drag and drop files from your Android device you’ll need to download the Android File Transfer software which you can find here. Once installed, connecting your Android device to your Mac should automatically start the software up, or you can find it in the Applications folder on your hard drive.


A fast, convenient, wireless method for sharing files. If you’re unsure of how to access your Bluetooth options on your Android smartphone, we’ve covered that here. Bluetooth has the added convenience of not having to attach your device to a computer, but at the same time is only geared towards small file transfers; sending full-length movies isn’t advised as using a USB lead would make transfer much faster.

Multiple files, provided they are small batches and small files sizes should also be alright to transfer using Bluetooth. The technology only works if the computer you’re trying to transfer to also has Bluetooth capabilities.

Samsung Kies

Although most Samsung Android devices allow for files transfer using a combination of the previously mentioned methods, Samsung have also given Samsung Kies: their own proprietary software, file transfer capabilities as an alternative to their customers.

Not only can you connect your Samsung smartphone to your PC or Mac via USB and manage files over Kies, but you can also access your files over a local Wi-Fi network, allowing you to transfer files from your computer to your smartphone and vice versa, so long as both Samsung smartphone and PC are connected to the same Wi-Fi network locally.

Sony PC Companion

Although there are third-party file transfer solutions, Sony android handsets are designed to work best with Sony PC Companion software. It allows you to group/manage video clips, music and photos independently and purchase content from the Sony store to place on both your phone and your PC simultaneously if you so choose. Download it here.


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