If you are someone who is into the Apple ecosystem, you know how convenient and fast AirDrop is. My work machine is a MacBook Pro and after I recently switched from iOS to Android, AirDrop is undoubtedly one of the features I miss the most. Since I shoot a lot of videos on my smartphone, it’s sometimes painful to transfer a lot of footage from an Android to my Mac to edit them and that’s something you probably face too. So, we decided to compile a list of five ways in which you can transfer files from your Android to your Mac or even vice-versa, based on our experience.
How to Transfer Files from Android to Mac and Vice-versa
1. Use a USB Flash Drive and an OTG Adaptor
If you’re going to transfer large files from your Android to your Mac, like multiple videos or pictures at a time, this method is one of the most reliable ones. It is, of course, one of the more rudimentary methods but is often ignored in favor of modern wireless methods, which we will also talk about in the latter part of this article. Flash drives are something that all of us certainly have and if you don’t have an OTG connecter, you can find one for really cheap online.
The reasons we prefer using a flash drive and an OTG adaptor to transfer large files from Android to Mac are that it does not depend on any external factor like network speed or if the devices are in close proximity to one another. This means that there’s no chance of packet loss happening which can take place while transferring wirelessly. Using a USB flash drive also means you get much faster write speeds while copying to/from your device when compared to a wireless transfer.
If both, your Android phone and Mac have USB-C ports and you have a USB-C flash-drive, you don’t even need an OTG adaptor and the transfer speeds will also be faster on USB 3.0. We usually use this method to transfer multiple large videos which add up to a file size of 5 to 6 GB which would take a lot of time if you are transferring them wirelessly but can be done in just a few minutes using a physical drive. You can even use portable hard disks or SSDs. Also, before you use any external storage device with your Mac, make sure it is NOT formatted as NTFS or you will not be able to write on it.
2. Upload and Download through Google Drive/Dropbox
This method is useful only if you have a fast and reliable internet connection, preferably over Wi-Fi at home or your office. Needless to say, do not use this method over mobile data or a hotspot because one, it’s going to be really slow and two, you do not want to exhaust your data limit by uploading and downloading large files. This method is also preferable if the file size is not so large and you’re uploading a single file.
The idea is self-explanatory. Just upload the file you want to transfer through the Google Drive app (or any other preferred cloud storage platform that you use) on your Android smartphone and once uploaded, you can download the same file back on your Mac through the Drive website. A few default/stock file manager applications make this process even simpler by providing access to your cloud storage inside the file manager app itself. Samsung and OnePlus, for example, have options to grant permission to the default file manager to access your Google Drive and OneDrive storage so you can access the files directly within the app itself which is quite nifty. An alternative to this is using a NAS or a Network Attached Storage to which you can upload your file from and Android and access on a Mac or vice-versa.
3. Send Anywhere
Send Anywhere is a popular application that does exactly what its name says – send files anywhere with cross-platform compatibility. Send Anywhere is available as an app on the Google Play Store on Android as well as the App Store on Mac so the first thing you would want to do is install the app on both devices. Once done, fire up the app on your Android as well as your Mac and select which one is the sender and which one the receiver.
Once the sender chooses the files to send, Send Anywhere will generate a unique six-digit key that needs to be entered by the receiver within the app and the transfer will begin. Send Anywhere makes use of Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi Direct to transfer files, much like AirDrop, except for it’s much slower. While Send Anywhere is quite reliable for relatively smaller/limited files, it can get rather slow or even fail at times if you have multiple large files to transfer.
Things like your phone’s screen turned off or if your Mac goes to sleep when you leave it unattended for long are also factors that lead to the transfer being failed. Send Anywhere basically works like Shareit, which is way more popular of course. However, Send Anywhere does not shove ads into your face, unlike Shareit’s Android app which makes it a much cleaner alternative.
AirDroid is similar to Send Anywhere or any other wireless file transfer app/service out there. However, AirDroid has some added benefits which make it more useful. You need to download the AirDroid app on your Android smartphone and sign in. Once done, all you need to do is visit the Airdroid website through your preferred web browser on your Mac and sign in with the same credentials. Note that both your Android device and Mac have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
You will now have complete access to your phone’s internal storage as well as some other features like the ability to mirror your screen, access photos, apps, contacts and various other content from your phone on your Mac. There’s even a file manager through which you gain access to all your phone’s folders so you can seamlessly copy the content to/from your Android smartphone.
The biggest catch, however, is that on the free version, AirDroid only lets you transfer files up to 200MB per month which is a shame given how good the features actually are. To increase the quota to 1GB, you will have to purchase their subscription which also does not let you transfer unlimited files. AirDroid is useful mainly if you want to transfer small documents or photos or for its other features like screen-mirroring.
5. Use a File Manager with an FTP Client
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and while it’s been there for a long time, not a lot of people are aware of the fact that some file managers on Android come with the ability to act as an FTP server to access files remotely. You can find multiple file managers on the Play Store with FTP access, but we recommend using the Mi File Manager as it comes pre-installed on all Xiaomi/Redmi devices and is also free to download from the Play Store for other devices. And yes, there are no ads to be worried about.
Once you’re in the app, hit the hamburger menu on the top-left corner and select the FTP option. Then hit “Start” and choose whether you want the connection to be unsecured or password protected and select ok. You will then see a web address that you need to enter into the browser on your Mac and you will see a list of all your files. You can then choose to download those files on your Mac. FTP isn’t the fastest way to download files, but it’s reliable and you don’t need a third-party app on your Mac.
These were a few methods that we use personally to transfer files from an Android smartphone to a Mac. Again, if you have large files, using an external drive is always your best option. To find the one that’s best suited for your needs, you can try every alternative to see which one does it the fastest for you or you can use each method for different scenarios based on file sizes or the nature of the files.