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Transfer files between your computer and Android device

You can move photos, music, and other files between your computer and phone or tablet with a USB cable. You can also move files via your Google Account.

Note: Some of this information may not apply to all devices because Android isn't exactly the same on every device. These instructions are for devices with Android 4.4 and up. See what version of Android you have.

Move files with a USB cable

Windows transfer
  1. Unlock your device’s screen.
  2. With a USB cable, connect your device to your computer.
  3. Swipe down from the top of your device's screen to see your notifications.
  4. Tap the USB for... notification.
  5. Select Transfer files.
  6. A file transfer window will open on your computer. Use it to drag and drop files.
  7. When you're done, eject your device from Windows.
  8. Unplug the USB cable.
Mac transfer

To transfer files, your Mac computer must be running OS X 10.5 and up and have Android File Transfer installed. Your Android device must have Android 3.0 and up.

  1. Download and install Android File Transfer on your computer.
  2. Open Android File Transfer. (The next time that you connect your device, it should open automatically.)
  3. Unlock your device’s screen.
  4. With a USB cable, connect your device to your computer.
  5. Swipe down from the top of your device's screen to see your notifications.
  6. Tap the USB for... notification.
  7. Select File transfer.
  8. An Android File Transfer window will open on your computer. Use it to drag and drop files.
  9. When you’re done, unplug the USB cable.

Troubleshoot moving files with a USB cable

If you’re having trouble moving files:

  • Try a different USB cable. Not all USB cables can transfer files.
  • Test the USB port on your device by connecting your device to a different computer.
  • Test the USB port on your computer by connecting a camera or other device with USB.
  • Update your Android version to the latest available. Learn how to update your Android version.
  • Restart your device by pressing the Power button for about 30 seconds, until your device restarts.
  • Restart your computer.

Windows troubleshooting

Check your Windows computer’s settings to make sure that Windows automatically detects new hardware.

Mac troubleshooting

Check that your:

  • Mac computer has Mac OS X 10.5 and up.
  • Android device has Android 3.0 and up.
  • Android File Transfer application is open.

Move files via your Google Account

After you upload files to your Google Account, you can use them on both your computer and Android device.

Related links


Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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