Whether you use a top Android phone or a budget one, you probably take pictures with it. While watching them on your phone’s screen is perfectly fine, you might want to transfer them to your computer. Once those photos are on your computer, you can edit them, view them on a larger screen, or save them. There are several ways to achieve this, but some are specific to some brands or don’t always work with Macs.

You’ll find plenty of free options to transfer photos across devices without prerequisites, allowing you to send files seamlessly from your Android device to your PC or Mac. Read on to find which ones work best for you.


Transfer photos using a USB cable

Using a USB cable is a fast and straightforward way to transfer photos and files from your phone to your computer. You can use a basic USB-A to USB-C cable. However, it’s best if your computer has a USB-C port and you have a USB-C to USB-C cable. Here’s how the process works:

  1. If you have a Mac, install Android File transfer.
  2. Connect your phone to your Mac or PC using a USB cable. If your computer has a USB-C port, use a USB-C to USB-C cable or a USB-A cable with an adapter. Otherwise, use a USB-C to USB-A cable.
  3. Unlock your phone and open the notification tray.
  4. Tap the notification mentioning the USB status. It may say USB charging via USB.

  5. If you’re using a USB-C to USB-C cable, look for the USB controlled by section at the top and select This device.
  6. Under Use USB for, select Transferring files.

  7. If prompted, tap Allow on your phone.
  8. A file transfer window opens on your computer.
    Android file transfer 3

  9. Browse your folders to drag and drop the photos you’d like to transfer to your computer. Your camera roll is located in the DCIM folder.
  10. When you’re done, eject your phone from your computer’s operating system and unplug the USB cable.

Transfer photos using Bluetooth

If you’re transferring a few pictures, Bluetooth can be a decent option. Bluetooth doesn’t require a cable and works seamlessly, no matter which operating system you use. It offers relatively slow transfer speeds, so it’s not the most appropriate method for sending more than a few photos. The process to send files over Bluetooth is slightly different on macOS than on Windows, but it’s still relatively simple.

Set up Bluetooth sharing on a Mac

  1. Open System preferences.
    Mac Bluetooth 1

  2. Click Sharing.
  3. Select Bluetooth Sharing.
    Mac Bluetooth 2

  4. Go back to the main System preferences screen.
  5. Click Bluetooth.
    Mac Bluetooth 3

  6. Make sure your Mac is shown as discoverable. You’ll find it under the big Bluetooth logo on the left.

Set up Bluetooth sharing on a Windows PC

  1. Open Windows settings.
  2. Click Bluetooth & devices.
  3. Click Devices.
    Windows Bluetooth 1

  4. Click Send or receive files via Bluetooth under the Related settings section.
    Windows Bluetooth 2

  5. Click Receive files.

Transfer photos from your phone to your computer

Once you’ve completed the above steps, head over to your phone to share your photos:

  1. Open your Android phone’s Gallery app.
  2. Locate the photos you’d like to transfer. If there’s one after the other, press and hold the first one and slide your finger over the others to select them together.
  3. Tap the Share button.
  4. Select Bluetooth.
  5. Tap your computer’s name to initiate the transfer.

  6. If you haven’t paired your devices, you’ll receive a prompt on your phone and computer. Accept it on both to pair the two devices.
  7. You may be asked to accept the inbound transfer on your computer.
  8. Once the transfer is complete, the pictures are available through your computer’s file explorer or Finder.

Transfer photos with Google Photos

Another simple way to move pictures from your phone to your computer is to use Google Photos. Since pictures from your phone are automatically uploaded to the cloud, it’s easy to retrieve them on your computer without much effort. This requires an active internet connection, but you don’t need to select the pictures to send.

Before you start, allow Google Photos to upload your pictures automatically to the cloud. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Google Photos.
  2. Tap your profile picture.

  3. If it says, Backup is off, tap Turn on Backup.
  4. Confirm by tapping Turn on Backup again.

Now that your photos are backed up to the cloud, it’s easy to retrieve them on your computer:

  1. Using your favorite web browser, navigate to Google Photos.
  2. Select the photos you’d like to download.
  3. Tap the ⋮ overflow menu in the upper-right corner.
    Google Photos backup 3

  4. Click Download.
  5. Google Photos creates a ZIP archive with your selected photos that you can download on your computer.

Easily save your photos

Most modern smartphones take good pictures, but we often have to transfer them to a computer to edit, save, or view them. The process is relatively easy and doesn’t require much fiddling. A Bluetooth connection might be the fastest option available, depending on the number of pictures you’d like to transfer. However, if you’re sending more files, consider using a cable connection, as it’s faster and easier. Still, the Google Photos app is an excellent way to back up your files to the cloud and download them on your computer if you have a reliable internet connection.

Regardless of the method you pick, Google Photos is a valuable companion that helps you organize your pictures, both locally and online. If you’re not convinced, check out our selection of the best Android photo gallery apps that act as alternatives to Google Photos. Most of them won’t let you upload your photos to the cloud, but you can use a USB cable or Bluetooth to transfer pictures from your phone to your computer.

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