Six ways to transfer files between Android and PC (or Android) Wirelessly

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In our ultra mobile and wireless world, it seems somewhat ‘low-tech’ to have to physically connect your Android device to a PC in order to transfer files. The good news: there are many ways to transfer files wirelessly, and you can do it whether your Android and PC are connected to the same WI-FI network or not.

This post will discuss SIX different methods that you can use to access or transfer your files, including very large files, remotely (and wirelessly) from your Android device to a PC or another Android, and the apps you need to use to do so.

Rest assured that the FREE app selections that we showcase in this article are NOT handicapped in some of the usual ways we’ve seen for free apps in this space. We have chosen apps that (a) do not restrict the size of the transferred files to an unnaturally small small size; (b) the apps showcased will allow file transfer in batch, and (c) they all have been verified as being able to access files on the external SD card on your Android.

Six ways, as follows:

  1. Synchronize or access folders using torrent technology, without uploading to a server
  2. Access your PC via WiFi with SMB Server
  3. Connect two devices directly without a WIFI network
  4. Connect through the browser via shared WIFI
  5. Use free cloud storage services to transfer your files (such as Dropbox or Skydrive)
  6. Set up a shared folder on Windows that you can access from your Android

Apps mentioned in this article

Here’s a list of apps mentioned in this article. We liked some of the apps so much that we would like to grant several our highest ‘Freewaregenius Pick’ accolade (left column below).

These apps deserve our highest 'FreewareGenius Pick' accolade. They are must haves, free and ad free!

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick"
BitTorrent Sync | Go FileMaster | 3CX DroidDesktop | ES File Explorer
These following apps are also mentioned (and are excellent). Most are ad supported: Fast File Transfer | AirDroid | SuperBeam WIFI direct share | Astro Cloud and File Manager | AndSMB | Send! File Transfer | WiFi File Explorer

1. Connect or synchronize folders and PC folders using Torrent technology (without uploading to a server)

Recommended App: BitTorrent Sync

BitTorrent Sync1BitTorrent Sync2

This is a beautiful app that can synchronize any folder on your Android with a folder on your PC.  It can be set to automatically sync (or not). By default it only syncs when your Android is connected to WIFI, but you can allow data connection syncing as well. It requires the BitTorrent Sync client running on your PC (or Mac/Linux) as well as the BitTorrent Sync app on Android. It does not require that your devices be connected to the same WIFI network, though.

Unlike cloud services like Dropbox, your files are not uploaded to any third party server, making it ideal for those of us who like simplicity (and those who are security conscious).

Requires a WIFI connection: Yes
Requires that both Android and PC be connected to THE SAME WIFI ? No.The two devices can be in completely different places.
Desktop client required on your PC: The BitTorrent Sync client has to be running on your PC (or Mac/Linux/NAS).
Will upload your files on a third party server: No. It uses Torrent infrastructure to sync peer-to-peer without uploading to a server."
Transfer To/From: Android to PC; PC to Android. One and Two way older sync supported. Android to Android also possible for individual files if both Android devices are running the app."
Can access files on an external SD card: Yes
Other app options: None that use Torrent technology.

2. Access your PC via WiFi with SMB server

Recommended App: Go FileMaster

go-filemanager-screenshot1 go-filemanager-screenshot2 go-filemanager-screenshot3

With SMB server you can access any PC that is connected to WIFI, assuming you have a username and password. But what I like about it is that it will also allow connection to some Linux servers, such as the NAS home server I have at home, without having to set up anything in advance.

Most Android apps which connect to SMB servers, in my experience, either require a rooted device or were somewhat complicated to setup, or both. Not so with Go FileMaster, which delivers one of the easiest ways to connect to a SMB server (and probably the easiest way to connect your Android to a PC on the fly without having to install or set up anything). All you have to do is select ‘Computers (SMB)’ from the left sidebar (upper left screenshot), click ‘Scan’ (middle screenshot), and select the computer(s) on the network that you want to access (screenshot on the right). You have to have a valid username and password, and you will be able to access that user profile.

Requires a WIFI connection: Yes
Requires that both Android and PC be connected to THE SAME WIFI ? Yes
Desktop client required on your PC: None. All you need is a username and password.
Will upload your files on a third party server: No
Transfer To/From: Android to PC; PC to Android
Can access files on an external SD card: Yes
Other app options: I have not found anything that is as easy to setup as Go FileMaster; however AndSMB is great and does not require rooting. Also you can find tutorials on the internet on how to set up SMB server with ES File Explorer and other file managers.

3. Connect two devices directly, without a WIFI network

Recommended App: Fast File Transfer

Fast File Transfer Screenshot1Fast File Transfer Screenshot2

Most suited for instances where there is no WIFI network to log on to, and many many times faster than Bluetooth file transfer, Fast File Transfer will create a WIFI Hotspot on one device that the other can connect to, and then use it to transfer files between them.

This app works great. [Corrected Jan 24th 2014]: ‘Fast File Transfer’ ONLY needs to be installed on the device you send from, and the recipient can virtually be any device with WIFI (including a PC). You will need to use a browser.

Requires a WIFI connection: No
Requires that both Android and PC be connected to THE SAME WIFI ? No. It will connect directly.
Desktop client required on your PC: No.
Will upload your files on a third party server: No
Transfer To/From: Android to Android | Android to PC | Android to any device with WIFI and a browser.
Can access files on an external SD card: Yes
Other app options: SuperBeam WIFI direct share is a great app that connects via WIFI direct. Send! File Transfer also can transfer using WIFI direct but the free version is limited to transferring media files (pics/audio/videos).

4. Connect through the browser via shared WIFI

Recommended App: 3CX DroidDesktop

3CX DroidDesktop Screenshot

You may have inferred that this requires that both your Android and your PC have to be connected to the same WIFI network.

There are many free apps that do this, but we wanted to feature one that was fairly feature rich yet simple, and most importantly one that is not handicapped in the free version.

Our first choice would have been AirDroid, which is an excellent program that looks good, but it now requires registration with a valid email to work (which really is only needed for its cloud files functionality). Instead, we chose 3CX DroidDesktop, which works great, is free and not handicapped in any way, supports a number of different ways to connect (including FTP), offers a beautiful web interface with a wide range of functions, will let you transfer files back and forth from your Android and PC, and can access the external SD card on the device (which to my surprise not all of like-programs do).

Requires a WIFI connection: Yes
Requires that both Android and PC be connected to THE SAME WIFI ? Yes
Desktop client required on your PC: you can connect from any browser.
Will upload your files on a third party server: No
Transfer To/From: Android to PC | PC to Android.
Can access files on an external SD card: Yes
Other app options:  Quite a few. AirDroidGo FileMasterWiFi File Explorer (thanks y0himba for the tip) and many others. Many alternatives do not support files on external SD cards though (all the programs mentioned here do)"

5. Use free cloud storage services to transfer your files (such as Dropbox or Skydrive)

Recommended App: ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer Screenshot3ES File Explorer Screenshot4

Most any cloud storage service you may be using will probably have an Android app that can be used to download (and upload) files from them over WIFI. What we wanted to highlight in this article, however, is that it is possible to use file manager ES File Explorer (a must-have file manager for Android that is feature rich, ad-free, and very powerful) to connect with Dropbox, SugarSync, Box, Skydrive, Gdrive, Amazon S3, Yandex and Ubuntu – all from the same place.

Want folder syncing with Dropbox? You can do it using free app Cloudpipes. Check our our guide for setting up Android syncing with Dropbox which details the process.

Requires a WIFI connection: Yes
Requires that both Android and PC be connected to THE SAME WIFI ? No. Your PC does not need to be online.
Desktop client required on your PC: No
Will upload your files on a third party server: Yes
Transfer To/From: PC to Android | Android to PC
Can access files on an external SD card: Yes
Other app optionsGo FileMaster an excellent program that supports Dropbox; Box; SkyDrive and Google Drive at the time of this writing. Astro Cloud and File Manager (ad supported) connects with Dropbox; Box; SkyDrive; Google Drive; and Facebook)"

6. Connect your Android with a shared folder on Windows

Recommended App: ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer Screenshot1ES File Explorer Screenshot2

Once again, we recommend ‘ES File Explorer’ to do this. All that is required is that both your Android and PC be connected to the same WIFI network. You can set up any folder on your PC as a shared folder and transfer files to and from it WIRELESSLY.

Setting up a shared folder in Windows and connecting it with ES File Explorer is a fairly simple process, which I am not going to describe here as it has been written about endlessly (here’s a Google search if you need it). Overall, a great way to send files back and forth from your PC wirelessly.

Requires a WIFI connection: Yes
Requires that both Android and PC be connected to THE SAME WIFI ? Yes
Desktop client required on your PC: No. But you do have to set up a shared folder.
Will upload your files on a third party server: No
Transfer To/From: PC to Android | Android to PC
Can access external Can access files on an external SD card: Yes
Other app optionsAstro Cloud and File Manager (ad-supported) and many others."

Do you know of any other ways or apps that are interesting to know about? Please share in the comments section below.


 
 
 
  • Justin

    don’t forget AirDroid. one of the best web based phone/tablet managers. Easy authentication using camera/QR codes as well, so no need to type a full web address.

    • SamerKurdi

      Justin: AirDroid is indeed one of the best. I wrote more positively about AirDroid in a comment below.

  • disillusioned

    Samer, thank you, this is a fantastic article!

    I used to use AirDroid but eventually had ROM & browser incompatibility issues, so I switched to 3CX DroidDesktop, which I liked and I’m happy to see you recommend.

    Then I discovered the magic of Samba, which enables me to have my Android SD card appear as a drive in my Windows file manager. The app called Samba Filesharing works really well for me–it only took a couple minutes to set up, it starts with Android, and it’s so transparent I forget it’s there. But whenever my phone’s near my PC, I can just drag & drop files between them from the PC without having to do anything at all on the phone.

    What I see of GO FileMaster in the Play Store leads me to wonder if it will be as seamless, but since you recommend it, I’ll try it out.

    Thanks again, from a freeware aficionado who’s been reading you since almost the beginning.

    • SamerKurdi

      I saw Samba, but it only works with a rooted device, which is why I skipped it. Would be interested in your experience with Go FileMaster.

      Thanks for the compliment re: the article

      • Michael Campbell

        Another completely free solution is to use Pic Share It http://to.ly/xrfu to send the files over Wi-Fi from your Mac to your iPad. You just connect to the iPad over Wi-Fi and drag and drop photos to your iPad.

    • Puppy

      Another great freeware you could try is airmore. http://airmore.com/ It allows you to manage your phone on any computer browser. No need for cable or client. It supports Windows and Mac. And the connection process is very easy. All you need to do is to scan the QR code. Totally free.

  • AirDroid requires registration as it does a lot more now than it used to. You can connect to your device even over 2G/3G/4G as well as get it’s location. This is just some of the reasons it requires you to have an account.

    • SamerKurdi

      @ Carbonize: you are right. I will have to take a second look on AirDroid. I had the impression the new features belonged to the paid version. Is that not the case?

      • Find my phone and all the standard features work on free version. Although personally I use Android Lost and Cerberus for my anti theft.

  • y0himba

    Love the Bittorrent option! I already use ES File Explorer. Here are two more ways:

    Wifi File Explorer which comes in free and pro versions. I have been using this for years: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dooblou.WiFiFileExplorer Requires the same Wifi network

    AirDroid: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sand.airdroid I have been using this awhile because it offers a TON of functionality, and you do not need to be on the same Wifi network (Pro). AMAZING app, creates a desktop in your browser, for your device.

    • ParanoidPete

      Dude did you bother reading the article or did you just jump to the apps? WiFi File Explorer caps you at 2mb on the free version and AirDroid requires email registration now.

      Sorry Samer couldn’t resist.

      Nice write up.

      • y0himba

        Yes I did. The criteria:

        “We have chosen apps that (a) do not restrict the size of the transferred
        files to an unnaturally small small size; (b) the apps showcased will
        allow file transfer in batch, and (c) they all have been verified as
        being able to access files on the external SD card on your Android.”

        Wifi Explorer (Free or Pro) does not limit to 2mb. It says that nowhere on either page. Airdroid has not required me to register with an email. The only time you are asked if you would like to register is for a premium account which adds more remote and cloud features such as transfer when not on the same Wifi and locate your phone.

        If you like, this can be verified with the developer of Airdroid.

        The article above is extremely useful, and I am now using the Bittorrent option as well.

        • ParanoidPete

          ooops, sorry dude I wasn’t trying to bash you but wifi file explorer (or at least the one I used a few months ago) does cap you at 2mb for the free no ads version and as far as airdroid goes I mis- understood the context of the article vs. your reply, my bad.

          I’m using my phone for this conversation and I think it might be possessed 🙂

          Airdroids awesome but does require registration for some of its functionality but absolutely worth it!

          I currently just use ES File Explorer and a little portable FTP server on my USB stick for plugging into PC’s called Serva for my file transfer needs.

          Works for me, cheers

      • SamerKurdi

        Pete: I just tested by attempting to download a 35 meg file and it worked with AirDroid. So no 2mb limit, I don’t think.

    • SamerKurdi

      y0himba: thanks so much for your input. Indeed WIfi File Explorer is a great app, in that it displays thumbnails when browsing image folders, which is something that I was thinking about/looking for. (I added the app to the article above).

      As for AirDroid, the question for me in this particular case is whether “less is more”. or “more is more”. I was not aware that registration is optional, and was referring to the need to log in to a service in a situation where I just want to transfer files from my Android and PC. The remarks from you and others in this section strongly suggest that for many people, with respect to this app, more is indeed more, or in any case AirDroid obviously provides such a great user experience that many users love it. I will keep that in mind for my upcoming post entitled “the best 100 free Android apps” 😉

      Thanks again for your comments.

      • y0himba

        I meant no disrespect, and after using 3CX Desktop, I actually quite like it. I am a bit confused by the versions however, there is 3CX DroidDesktop, and 3CX Remote Android Desktop, both of which seem to have the same functions?

        At any rate they are both lighter and faster than Airdroid. They have a bit less functionality, but seem more friendly.

        I like Wifi Explorer for it’s simplicity and interface, but it is same network only.

        I am in love with Bittorrent Sync, which I knew nothing about until this article. I point it at my DCIM folder and any photos or movies I take are instantly synced to my PC over Wifi, no need to open an interface. Also, I just drag a file to my PC sync folder and it is on my phone, just like that. It doesn’t get better.

        Thank you again for the article. I am an avid reader of the site, I follow by RSS and come here when I am looking for tips.

        • SamerKurdi

          y0himba: I see your comments frequently on these pages and I appreciate them. I worry that some of the sharp interchanges that can happen in the comments section from time to time might turn some readers off of commenting. I hope that will not be true in this particular case. 🙂

          • y0himba

            I just look at it like this: It’s the Internet, take it with a grain of salt. 🙂

  • Chris

    Another alternative: I still use MyPhoneExplorer for both backing up, syncing and controlling
    my Android. Works well, several ways to connect. Donationware
    http://www.fjsoft.at/en/

    • SamerKurdi

      Yes. A great program.

  • gern blanston

    I prefer Go Filemaster. Easy to use. I had some connection issues with ES file when sharing to LAN. I like the concept but couldn’t make it work.

  • Sinhalaya

    Thanks!

  • Semihacker

    just use copy.com, its incredibly easy to use, and free.

  • logic

    3cx droid is the best
    thank you for doing this

  • Unanoch3

    Hey Thanks for this.. Bitorrent Sync worked like a dream.. LMAO when it activated the camera and recognized the QR Code before I even realized what it was doing.

  • Susann

    When I was installing the BitTorrent Sync I checked the privacy policy it wanted me to agree to and it said it trades pieces with other users. So now I am confused – is using this app the same as downloading torrents (in a situation where I understand of course that this is the case)? I thought this was a way to have a shared folder between my PC and my tablet but not also share it with others. Am I reading the privacy policy incorrectly?

  • Alberto

    The ways 2, 4, 6 seem to be very similar. Could you explain better which are their main differences?
    (Sorry for English)

    • SamerKurdi

      Alberto. #2: you don’t have to do anything on the PC; all you need is to know the login information for a user on the computer. A great way to connect with a Linux home server, not just Windows, and is actually my preferred way. #4 you have to set it up on both the Android and PC, but great and straightforward; #6 lets you share a specific folder, which is a great way to give access to someone other than yourself, and only let them share what you want.

      All require the Android device and computer to be connected to the same WIFI.

  • MaJack

    +1 Airdroid.

  • saba pathi

    is it possible for file transfer when that pc is act as a hotspot and serving the internet to android phone

  • I don’t work for 3CX, or have anything to do with the company, but I happen to know how to clear-up the confusion about the various apps and versions. In the process, I will provide the best two ways to transfer files bidirectionally between the Windows machine and the Android device, both,

    a) via a WI-FI LAN to which they’re both connected; and,

    b) via the Internet with the Windows machine connected to its home or work WI-FI, and the Android device anywhere in the world, connected either via 2G/3G/4G, or whatever WI-FI to which said Android device is connected, wherever it happens to be.

    All anyone needs is the following (all of them free):

    1) A web browser on the Windows machine, and said Windows machine connected to a WI-FI network which, in turn, is connected to the Internet (which is pretty much how everyone’s home and work Windows Vista, or Win7 or Win 8 desktop, laptop/notebook — and even Win8 phones/tablet — machines are connected); and,

    2) a copy of “3CX Droid Desktop” | http://bit.ly/1kedVPz | installed onto the Android device; and,

    3) a copy of “3CX Mobile Device Mgr” | http://bit.ly/1kee5GD | installed onto the Android device; and,

    4) an account at | http://www.mobiledevicemanager.com

    That’s it! With just those four things, one may transfer files (and do a whole lot more, while one’s at it) bidirectionally between the Windows machine and the Android device, always controlling from the Windows machine, no matter where on the planet the Android device happens to be physically located. And so, yes, begged by that is the question of how the person with the Android device does it (controls it) if s/he’s out in the world, not proximate to the Windows machine. More on that later, herein Let’s first deal with how to do it with the Windows machine always controlling.

    THE LOCAL WI-FI METHOD

    If the Windows machine and Android device are proximate to one another so that they may both be connected to the same WI-FI network, then one simply uses the browser on the Windows machine, and the “3CX Droid Desktop” app on the Android device. One simply launches the “3CX Droid Desktop” app on the Android device to both start the server and provide the IP address that needs to be keyed-in to the browser on the Windows machine; and then one launches the browser on said Windows machine and keys-in said IP address, and, voila!, the Windows machine is “talking” to the Android device via the Windows machine’s browser. A 3CX “desktop” appears in the browser, and what can be done by clicking on the various icons should be obvious. File transfer is but one of the things. A couple of the things require the Android device to be rooted, but file transfer isn’t one of them. Those with unrooted Android devices will have no problems doing file transfer and tons of other cool stuff; and those with rooted devices will likely agree that they’d have been just as happy if their devices hadn’t been rooted; and it all happens at (is controlled from) the Windows machine’s broswer, keyboard and mouse, trackball or touchpad. That’s it. That’s all there is to it… all in one paragraph.

    If, on the other hand, the Windows machine is at home or work connected to its normal WI-FI network, but the Android device is out in the world somewhere — be it connected to the Internet using its 2G/3G/4G, or using WI-FI at its nearest Starbucks — then one simply uses the browser on the Windows machine, and the “3CX Mobile Device Mgr” app on the Android device…

    …and how to do it is gonna’ take more paragraphs. [grin]

    THE OVER-THE-INTERNET METHOD

    If the Windows machine is at home or work, connected to its local area network (LAN) via either WI-FI or hard-wired Cat 5 Ethernet cable; and if said LAN is, in turn, connected to the Internet (via cable modem, or DSL, or whatever); and then if the Android device is wherever out in the world it happens to be, as long as it is somehow also connected to the Internet (either via its own 2G/3G/4G, or via WI-FI at the nearest Starbucks), then it is 3CX’s “Mobile Device Manager” (MDM) system, consisting of…

    * the Windows machine accessing the 3CX Mobile Device Manager (MDM) website in its browser; and, then, through said website, said browser, in turn, connecting with the Android device, which,

    * is running the “3CX Mobile Device Manager” (MDM) app,

    …by which it all happens.

    The very first time one connectes the Windows machine to the Android device via MDM, one must first set things up, and so both the Windows machine and the Android device should be in the same room, controlled by the same person. Both should be connected to the Internet, and since they’re not “talking” to one another through the local WI-FI network (even if they’re both connected to it) as when using “3CX Android Desktop,” then it matters not how either the Windows machine or the Android device are connected to the Internet… just so they both are during this intiial configuration process.

    First, launch the browser on the Windows machine and use it to get to the…

    http://www.mobiledevicemanager.com

    …website. Create a free account, and write-down the login credentials. Then login to said free accout, and land in the MDM web app. You’ll see items like “Dashboard,” and “Devices” and “Pending Approval” and “Group Policies,” etc., down the left side. Don’t click on any of them; just let the browser stay there for the moment.

    Then pick-up the Android device and use the Google Play Store to download and install the “3CX Mobile Device Manager” app to the Android device.

    Don’t start it from the Google Play Store app. Instead, exit said Google Play Store app and land on a homescreen; then go up into the Android Device’s “App Drawer” and find the “3CX MDM” app’s icon, and press on it to launch it.

    Use the aforementioned login credentials (actually, all you’ll need is the “Account name”) that you earlier wrote down to login to the 3CX MDM system on the Android device. After keying-in the “Account name” you’ll be prompted to allow the 3CX MDM to become a “device administrator” on the Android device, which you must allow by pressing “Activate.” At that point you’ll be taken to the screen on the Android device which tells you that it’s “waiting for registration approval.” Set down the Android device, and…

    …go back to the MDM interface (or web app) in the Windows machine’s browser. Over on the left, go into the “Pending approval” area, and on the right you’ll see the Android device waiting to be approved. Click the checkbox next to/left of the Android device listed there, and then click on the little green checkmarked “Approve” button just above. It will pop-up a box to tell you the device has been approved, and then said device will disappear from the “Pending approval” area, and will show-up in the “Devices” area, which you access over on the left. Now return to the Android device.

    The Android device’s copy of the 3CX MDM app may or may not now show that the device is connected, with a green dot. It may, in fact, show a red dot, and that it cannot connect, and that it’ll retry in however many seconds, while counting-down said seconds. Don’t worry, that’s a phone-specific behavior… does it on some phones, not on others. If it’s not doing it on your phone, then it should show a green dot and the words “your device is conneected.” And, if so, you can now just skip down four paragraphs to the one beginning: “…having it show, on the Android device’s screen…”

    However, If it’s doing the red dot and “cannot connect” thing, then the geeky-techie way to fix it is to either use the Android device’s BACK key to leave the 3CX MDM apps white-screened interface and return to a homescreen; then get into the Android device’s “Task Manager” and forcibly close the 3CX MDM app; then go back up into the Android device’s “App Drawer” and find the “3CX MDM” icon and press it and re-launch it, at which point it should show that it’s connected. And, if so, then you, too, may now skip down to the paragraph beginning: “…having it show, on the Android device’s screen…”

    However,, sometimes even that won’t work, and if so, then the only real way to fix it, at that point, is to just restart/reboot the Android device. That being the case, one quick-and-dirty way to fix it, no matter who you are, is to just cut to the chase and restart/reboot. It’ll only take a few minutes, but just don’t rush it; make sure you allow the device to fully boot back up again before moving on.

    Either way — whether you simply force-close the MDM app, or reboot/restart the Android device — what you’re shooting for is re-launching the MDM app, and…

    …having it show on the Android device’s screen “your device is connected” to the right of a green dot. At that point, you may press on the Android device’s BACK key and just leave the MDM app’s white-screened interface. It’ll run in the background, all the time; and will auto-start in the background whenever you reboot/restart (or first turn on) the Android device without you ever having to worry about it again; and so you’ll never really have to launch the MDM app on the Android device again unless maybe it somehow becomes disconnected or something. From that point, and from that day forward, no matter where the Android device is on the planet, everything happens in the Windows machine’s browser, in the MDM web app, there.

    So, then, fine: go back to the Windows machine’s browser, in the MDM web app, there, and click on the “Devices” item over on the left. Notice that the Android device is now listed there. The free version of the “3CX Mobile Device Manager” (MDM) system will allow you to have up to five Android devices listed there; and you’ll have to pay for a commercial account to get more. In my and my wife’s case, we’ve only two Android devices between us (mine a Samsung Galaxy Note II “phablet;” and hers is a Samsung Galaxy family smartphone, and her tablet’s a Win8 device) , so one free 3CX MDM account works just fine for us. Your mileage may vary.

    As you can see from poking around the MDM interface in the browser, there’s a buncha’ stuff you can do, much of it of more interest to a corporate manager of a fleet of smartphones; but even home users can do a buncha’ cool stuff…

    …including, for our purposes, here, FILE TRANSFER! To do that, just get to the “Devices” area, where your Android devices are listed; and put a checkmark over on the left next to the Android device you want to transfer files to/from. You’ll notice that it’s location on the planet will show-up in the map, below… and so begins some of the aforementioned cool stuff.

    Click on the “Remote control” tab over on the right, above the map. It’ll go through a “loading interface” and then will display a desktop nearly identical to the desktop you see when you use “3CX Droid Desktop” using the “LOCAL WI-FI METHOD” herein, above. And if you have used that system, then you’ll know, intuitively, how to do file transfer. If you can’t see the full desktop in that lower-half of that side of the browser, then just click on the “Fullscreen” button on the far right, immediately above the desktop to make the 3CX desktop full screen. Then click on the “File Manager” icon over in the upper left, and, voila!, you’re able to see the entire file structure of the Android device, and you can transfer files back and forth between the Windows machine and the Android device exactly the same as in the “LOCAL WI-FI METHOD” herein above…

    …except that you’re doing it over the Internet… with the Android device wherever it happens to be on the planet.

    I’ll leave to you to poke around and figure out all the other cool stuff you can do. It’s a lot… some of it a little dangerous, so be careful: you don’t want to accidentally wipe your Android device, or something equally devastating. But trust me when I tell you, it’s a lot… from installing/uninstalling apps, to tracking the device, to checking call history and data usage, to locking/unlocking the device… and I could go on and on.

    If you click on the “Support” item at the very top of the MDM web app interface page, a new tab will open with a plethora of documentation. To keep from doing something bad, you might want to actually… oh… I dunno… READ it. [grin]

    So that you don’t break connection, just close the browser tab when you’re done, rather than logout (though you can logout if you want; it’s just nice to simply go to the site and have it auto log you in and take you to the interface).

    Yes, the MDM app will run in the background all the time on the Android device (whether or not you stay logged-in to the web app, so don’t logout thinking that that will save battery on the Android device), but it’s not as big a battery hog as you might think. Honestly, only when it’s being communicated with by the web interface does it really use any battery, per se. Oh, sure, it uses a little battery to run in the background all the time and occasionally ping the 3CX server and stay connected, but, seriously, it’s negligible. So don’t even worry about it. The capabilities of the MDM system are worth it.

    3CX’s MDM is so potent, in fact, that if you’re using an app on your Adroid device to find it if it’s lost, or wipe it if it’s stolen, etc. (something like the “Android Lost” app, for example), you may even find that you can uninstall that, and just use MDM for those purposes. That said, Android Lost (just to mention one) has cool stuff on it that MDM doesn’t, so you may still want to use both. Just look at them and compare and decide.

    So, then, as you can see, between the two 3CX apps, you can transfer files (and a whole lot more) via either,

    a) local WI-FI, using the “3CX Droid Desktop” app on the Android device, and a simple browser on the Windows machine, with both of them connected to the same WI-FI network; or,

    b) the Internet, using the “3CX Mobile Device Manager” (MDM) app on the Internet-connected Android device, and a simple browser on the Internet-connected Windows machine.

    All for free! Slick, eh?

    The reason for the confusion about the various “Droid Desktop” apps (since this article came out, 3CX changed the name of the one that used to be called “Remote Android Desktop” to the even MORE confusing “Droid Desktop 2”) is because 3CX purchased them from others. They used to be competing apps. Those of you who’ve been around a while will recognize these names…

    3CX first bought the old “LazyDroid Web Desktop” app; and after some re-working to make it look 3CX-like, “LazyDroid” became “3CX Remote Android Desktop.”

    But 3CX never really wanted LazyDroid as much as it wanted a lesser-known, but far better app called “Remote Web Desktop Full” by Smartdog Studio HK (in Hong Kong). Through version 2.3.x of the Android OS, Smartdog Studio’s product was superior in every way to LazyDroid… but a lot of Americans, at least, didn’t know it. I did, though, and I had purchased the Smartdog Studio product, and loved it.

    But the Smartdog Studio guy’s wife had a new baby, and after a while he just couldn’t keep-up, anymore. And so he finally gave-in and let 3CX buy his product, but only after it had already purchased LazyDroid… which made 3CX none too happy at first; but then it realized that if it wanted to own that market, it would have to own both apps, so it ended-up being fine.

    The Smartdog Studio product also got reworked by 3CX to make it 3CX-like, and it was released by 3CX as “3CX Droid Desktop.” Of the two products, trust me on this, what is now known as “3CX Droid Desktop” (formerly the Smartdog Studios product) is better. Always was, even back when it competed with LazyDroid.

    The old LazyDroid product, first turned “3CX Android Remote Desktop,” has now been renamed “3CX Droid Desktop 2.” And with that renaming, it has become almost identical to the “3CX Droid Desktop” product.

    Because I used to use the Smartdog Studios product (and never really liked the old LazyDroid product), I use “3CX Droid Desktop” today (along with MDM, of course). But, honestly, I think 3CX is trying to consolidate them, over time; and so it wouldn’t surprise me if what I’m using eventually went away, and only “3CX Droid Desktop 2” remained; or maybe, by then, they’ll come out with “3CX Droid Desktop 3” or something, and do away with both of the old ones. It’s silly for them to maintain two products that basically do the same thing; and I suspect 3CX won’t do it for much longer. Time will tell.

    Because I’m an old-timer, who’s seen the entire history of products like this for Android, I’m here to tell you that these 3CX products are best-of-breed for what they do. Look no further. Use either the “Droid Desktop” or “Droid Desktop 2” product, at your option, for local WI-FI file transfer, and MDM for over-the-Internet file transfer…

    …and, in both cases, all kinds of other cool stuff, as well.

    As promised, I’m including what to do if one wants to initiate and control the file transfer from the Android device, and not from the Windows machine, especially if said Android device is out in the world, somewhere, and nowhere near the Windows machine.

    Any of the VNC-based “remote desktop” products that allow the Android device to take “remote desktop control” of the Windows machine will work for that (that is, as long as it’s capable of file transfer). TeamViewer for Android is superior at remote Windows desktop, as far as I’m concerned, but there are others. And now, finally, TeamViewer for Android is capable of file transfer (it wasn’t at first, and so I had to use Wyse’s “PocketCloud Explore” to intitiate and control file transfer from the Android device; but that product verily sucks, now).

    There’s a Russian guy who has by-golly done a pretty darned good job of putting together a pretty credible free Windows remote desktop app. It’s called “GPP Remote Viewer” and while it does what TeamViewer can do, it does it less elegantly, and not quite as either simply or reliably. But how to transfer files in GPP is a heck of a lot easier and more intuitive than even in TeamViewer; so for people who don’t need to use TeamViewer for support of multiple Windows machines out there, honestly, GPP would probably be a good choice. Just download the free GPP app to the Android device, then launch and configure (and have auto-start with Windows) the GPP client on the Windows machine…

    …and you can login to said Windows machine from said Android device at any time, from anywhere, over the Internet. Again, it’s not as simple and elegant and generally wonderfuul as TeamViewer, but it’s by-golly perfectly fine; and, again, how to transfer files is infinitely more intuitive in GPP than in TeamViewer. And, of course, GPP will allow you to do all kinds of other stuff from your Android device commuicating with your Windows machine, too… like turn on the camera and see who’s sitting at your desk; or stream music, or… well… just go to the GPP website and read about it.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are other apps for the initiated-and-controlled-by-the-Android-device file transfer over the Internet, but, honestly, GPP will do. And it’s free.

    These thee free Android apps…

    1) 3CX Droid Desktop (plus the browser on the Windows machine)

    2) 3CX Mobile Device Manager (plus the Windows machine browser)

    3) GPP Remote Viewer (plus the Windows machine client)

    …used, variously, as needed, will completely handle all — and I mean *ALL* — wireless file transfer, of *ALL* kinds, initiated and controlled either by the Windows machine, or by the Android device, depending on which one you use.

    And more.

    For free.

    Gotta’ like that.

    You won’t need AirDroid, or any of the others. These three will handle it all. And they’re really easy to use. And did I say they were free?

    Hope that helps!

    __________________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
    Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

    • ADDENDUM

      Obviously, as long as it’s okay to have the transferred files go out over the Internet, even if both the Windows machine and the Android device are right next to one another, then “3CX Mobile Device Manager” (MDM) could handle all Windows-machine-initiated-and-controlled wireless file transfer. Period.

      If so, then “3CX Droid Desktop” isn’t even necessary; and so that, right there, would get things down to just one app for Windows-machine-initiated-and-controlled wireless file transfers of absolutely any and all kinds.

      That, then, would leave wireless transfers initiated and controlled by the Android device from wherever it is in the world, and I still say “GPP Remote Viewer” is the easiest (maybe not necessariily the best, but certainly a good) choice.

      I, personally, don’t mind using all three… but, hey… that’s just me.

      __________________________________
      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

      Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
      Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

  • FDMobileInventions

    Hi there!
    I am the developer of FastFiletransfer and have to correct your description of FastFileTransfer:
    FFT does NOT require the receiver to install the app, so it CAN be used for transfers to a PC. That’s one of the most important features the app comes with.
    The recipient can virtually be any device that has a Wifi module.

    • SamerKurdi

      Thanks for letting me know. I fixed the text accordingly!

  • Dave

    ES File Explorer is the easiest one in my opinion, I already have it in my Android phone and I figured it in less than one minute. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I user wifi ftp server android app and it is working out well for me: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.medhaapps.wififtpserver

  • Mike

    ES File Explorer works great and I was able to figure it out without really thinking about it to much. Everything was in a logical place. It is very well designed. I just installed it and was able to see the shared folders on both my laptop and tower without a problem. The FTP site feature for my droid is also nice. The only thing to know about setting up the FTP from the droid is that the user name can not have spaces in it.

  • Mikel

    Checkout Qikshare for small to medium sized files. http://www.qikshare.io

  • ahmedaletby

    thx for this great explanation
    put i have a question and looking forward to replay on me
    the question is :can i use the third method vise versa which means transferring files from pc to android phones and if i can , what is the method

  • EdPC

    ShareBox: https://play.google.com/store/… is a new free app that provides a good way to select, share and transfer files to other devices over wifi

  • JFK
  • Jay

    They’re all crap. I need a simple app that don’t run in the background all the time draining battery, but that can be waken via C2DM or GCM push message, so u can have the phone far away from you and you just open the browser, navigate to a login page, and after login the server trigger a push message on the pone, activating the application just when u need to use it without having to take the phone and activate it fisically. Send Anywhere do something like that but don’t have the option of browse files on target phone so, still crap.

  • ammar

    thankyou very much about the these ways

  • freddielore

    Software Data Cable (Play Store link) is also one great app, and it’s FREE. It works like 3CX DroidDesktop. Works like a charm for me.

  • Xkoiul

    I want to introduce a great tool to transfer files between Android and pc– MobiKin Assistant for Android, you can choose WIFI connection as well to manage your phone data on computer.

  • Velden

    Used ES File Explorer for over a year to transfer files between phone and computer. The app have received a lot of updates. It was perfect a year ago, now it’s loaded with ads and have gotten a very bad UI. Uninstalled and looking for replacement, there are hundreds.

  • Artjom König

    I use Pocketshare (https://goo.gl/yBCtUd) for sharing files, it does not require root permissions.

  • Shubh?m Meen?

    Thanks dude for sharing an awesome article on how to transfer files from android to pc using wifi. I am looking for it from so many days and finally I got it. It’s really helpful for me

  • HelloJina

    I use flyingfile. I think it’s the most fast one

  • Sameer

    This article is great. I tried Liwi (http://liwi.io) and the app is really fast. I can browse all files of my PC on mobile & can download it on demand and vice-versa. They are also available on cross devices.

  • Nice sharing. To transfer files between Android and PC, the easiest way is using Android data manager program. It helps us directly transfer data between them via usb cable.
    https://goo.gl/BVgxwC