Smartphones have evolved to the extent that they can easily replace our PCs for day-to-day tasks such as email, video streaming, and web browsing. Regardless of your primary device, sooner or later, you will need to share files from your phone to a PC or vice-versa.
There are plenty of different ways to share files from a PC to your Android phone, but the best method depends on the amount of data you need to transfer. Let’s look at how you can easily share files from a PC to an Android mobile phone.
1. Transfer Files From Laptop to Phone Using a USB Cable
If you have to transfer many files between your Android phone and PC, you should opt for the oldest and most reliable transfer method. It’s still quick and easy to share files from a phone to a laptop, as long as you’ve got a compatible cable on hand. Plug your charging cable into the PC and connect it with your phone.
Once you’ve got it set up, do the following on Windows or a Chromebook:
- Connect your phone.
- Tap on the notification Android shows labeled Charging this device via USB.
- Under USB settings, set Use USB for to Transferring files or File transfer.
That’s it. A file transfer window will open on your computer, showing your phone (and SD card if you’ve got one). Then you can start copying your files across.
The instructions are almost the same on a Mac, but you will need to install the Android File Transfer software first.
This method is suitable for copying large amounts of data. Try it when you want to transfer some movies or your entire music collection. It makes it easy to move files to your phone’s SD card as well.
2. Share Files Between Laptop and Mobile Without a Cable
The Google account you’ve set up on your phone gives you access to 15GB of cloud storage space through Google Drive. This gives you a convenient way to move files between your laptop and phone.
You need to install the Google Drive app on your laptop. If you’d rather, you can use Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive, as they all work pretty much the same way.
When you set up Google Drive, you need to sign in first. Then select Back up all file types and click Next.
On the next screen, choose Advanced Settings at the bottom. Select Sync My Drive to this computer, then click OK.
This creates a Google Drive folder on your computer. Everything in this folder will sync to and from your Drive account. So to upload files to your phone, just move them into the Drive folder. Open the app on your phone, and they’ll be there after syncing.
The main caveat to remember here is that the files shown in your Drive app are not stored on your phone. If you try to open one, it needs to download first—a gigantic file can take a big bite out of your monthly data allowance.
To get around this, you have two options for downloading the files you need to your phone. Select a file, and from the menu, choose either:
- Make available offline. This downloads the file for you to view offline within Drive. Any changes you make to it will sync next time you go online.
- Download. This saves a new copy of the file to your Downloads folder, and you can open it in any compatible app. However, any edits you make won’t sync—you need to re-upload the file to your Drive account.
A lack of free space is the main limitation of this solution. You can always set up an extra account, though, and it is possible to transfer files from one Google Drive account to another.
Download: Google Drive for Desktop (Free)
3. Share Files From PC to Mobile Using Email
Emailing files to ourselves is hardly the most efficient way of moving data from a laptop to a phone, but we’ve all done it at one time or another. It works for quick sharing of files when you can’t use any of the other methods.
You’re limited to 25MB attachments in Gmail. If you need something larger, check out WeTransfer. That allows you to send files up to 2GB for free, with no registration.
Enter your email address on the website, then drag your files into the browser window and send. You’ll then receive an email on your phone with a link to the files you may download. For security, files are encrypted and erased after seven days. You’ll need a Pro membership if you wish to erase your files sooner or keep them up for longer.
4. Share Files From PC to Mobile With Messaging Apps
Alternatively, another easy way to transfer files between your Android device and PC is to use WhatsApp Web. This is an excellent way to quickly share images, documents, or even videos if you have a fast internet connection.
One popular method to sharing files with WhatsApp is to make a new WhatsApp group with just one contact and remove them as soon as you create the group. Now that you’re the only participant, you can use this chat to send and receive files from either device privately.
To send files from your PC, you will first have to log in to WhatsApp Web from your PC and upload the required files in the newly created group chat.
5. How to Transfer Files From Laptop to Mobile Wirelessly
You can share files between your phone and your laptop wirelessly, using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
When you’ve got a few smaller files you need to move to your phone, Bluetooth is an excellent way to go. It’s pretty easy, too, once you’ve got it set up.
To send a file over Bluetooth from your Windows 10 laptop to your phone, you first need to pair the two devices. Go to Settings > Devices and hit the toggle to turn on Bluetooth. Make sure it’s also enabled on your phone.
Now go to Add Bluetooth or other device > Bluetooth to start scanning. After a short delay, your phone will show up. Select it, then click Connect on your PC and Pair on your phone to complete the process.
To share a file over Bluetooth, go to Settings > Devices > Send or receive files via Bluetooth > Send files. Then choose the file you want to share.
For other platforms, the names of the menu options will be different, but the process is the same. First, you need to pair, and then you can share.
Bluetooth is slower than some of the other methods we’ve listed, and it’s best for smaller files and casual use.
When you need to regularly move large amounts of data to your phone, you cannot beat Wi-Fi. As long as you connect your phone and laptop to the same Wi-Fi network, you can move files quickly and securely.
To copy files over Wi-Fi, you need a particular app on your phone but nothing extra on your laptop. We recommend Portal by Pushbullet, which is free and requires no signup. It works with any platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS. Download and install the Android app from the Google Play Store to begin.
Next, open a web browser on your laptop or desktop and go to the Portal by Pushbullet website, where you’ll see a unique QR code. You need to scan this QR code from the app on your phone.
Now open Portal on your phone and tap Scan. When the camera launches, point it at the QR code to scan it. This establishes a direct wireless connection between your phone and desktop or laptop. It’s only temporary, so next time you run the app, you’ll need to scan the QR code again to pair it.
Finally, drag your files into the browser window, and they will instantly begin uploading to your phone.
By default, Portal places images and music into your phone’s Photos and Music folders. Everything else goes into the Portal folder. You can leave them there and access them through the Portal app, or you can use a file managers to move the files to any other folder (and even to your SD card).
Portal is extremely convenient because you don’t need to install it on your laptop.
Download: Portal by Pushbullet (Free)
More Ways to Move Your Data
There are more methods to move files between devices. You can use your SD card or a USB flash drive with an On-The-Go cable if your phone supports them. Or for ultra-techie solutions, try using FTP with the Wi-Fi FTP Server app, or even utilizing Network Attached Storage (NAS). With this option, you share a single hard drive with all the devices connected to your network.
Share Files From PC to Mobile
For most people, the five methods outlined above are the best ways to move data from your laptop to your Android phone. Some are better for quickly sharing small files, and some excel at moving huge amounts of data. If you want to transfer large amounts of data, we recommend using a USB cable to transfer data. Otherwise, it is better to use wireless sharing methods.
Bluetooth isn’t the only way to do wireless file transfers. A faster solution exists in Windows 10 called Wi-Fi Direct.
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