If you want to move files between an Android phone or tablet and a PC – perhaps you want to take photos from your phone and put them on to your laptop for editing, for example, or shift music off a phone – it’s reasonably straightforward.
Make sure you’ve got the right cable and any adaptors necessary. Modern Android phones come with a USB-C connector, and modern laptops increasingly only have USB-C ports.
Connect your phone to your laptop, and then look at your phone. A panel should pop up offering you three options for the USB connection: Transfer photos, Transfer files or Charge only.
Tap Transfer files, and then on your computer, launch File Explorer. Look in the left-hand column for This PC and click the arrow to the left of that label to expand its contents. Look for the name of your phone and click on that. Then click on the arrow next to your phone’s name to expand that, and you’ll see beneath the phone name its hard drive, usually called Internal storage. Navigate to the file where your phone stores photos – and beware that it might not be the obvious Pictures folder. Most phones (and digital cameras) store photos in the Camera subfolder of the DCIM (Digital Camera Images) folder.
Double click on that and then copy or move the photos you want over to your PC as you require.
Want some more help with your Android phone or tablet? Our friendly tech team can help you with one-to-one support on a range of tech issues. Find out more here.
If you want to explore the files on your phone or tablet before you connect it to your PC, it’s worth installing a file-management app, as not all Android phones come with one already installed. We like ES File Explorer: there’s a free version that should do everything you need, although it will show you ads, and a paid-for version that removes the ads and gives you more customisation options. And there are plenty of others to choose from in the Google Play store too.
Modern Android phones and tablets should have Google’s own Files app already installed, but it’s a bit rudimentary compared with some of the third-party options, while phones by other manufacturers such as Huawei, OnePlus and Samsung also usually come with a proprietary file-management app. It’s up to you which you choose.