How to Transfer Files from an Android Device to PC or Mac

By Jessica RegheliniUpdated on November 9, 2018

If you have files on your Android device, you might want to keep a second copy of them on your computer. That way, in case it ever happens to get deleted from your Android, you’ll have another copy saved elsewhere. However, it can be a little confusing trying to move files from your Android to your computer. That’s why we’re here to help you out!

What is covered in this article:

Both methods we’ll show you will work with both PC and Mac computers. First up, we’re going to show you the first method, using your Google account. This will allow you to transfer files easily and wirelessly.

How to transfer files from Android to your computer with your Google account

Android next to PC on a desk

1. Launch the Google Drive app on your Android.

Google Drive comes built-in on most Android devices. Tap the Google Drive icon on your home screen to start up the app. If for some reason you don’t have the app on your device already, you can download it for free from the Google Play Store. This will require you to have a Google account. If you don’t have one yet, sign up for one.

Download Google Drive here.

Google Drive icon

2. Tap Add.

To add a file to Google Drive, tap the blue Add button in the bottom right corner.

click plus icon to add files to Drive

3. Tap Upload.

In the menu that pops up at the bottom of your screen, select Upload.

Upload icon

4. Tap a file to add it to Google Drive.

You’ll now be able to see all your device’s data in various folders. Scroll through and tap a file to add it to your Google Drive storage. Repeat steps 1-4 for each file you want to add to your drive.

click File option in Drive

5. Access Google Drive on your PC.

On your computer, open your web browser and go to If you aren’t automatically signed in to your Google account, enter your email address and password to sign in.

Google Drive website

6. Right click on a file you want on your computer, then click Download.

Look through your drive to find the files you’d like to save to your computer. The ones you just added should be easy to locate near the top. When you find a file you want to save, hover your cursor over it, then right click. A menu will appear beside your cursor. In this menu, click Download. Your computer will do a quick scan of the file, then the download will start.

Download option for files

7. Move the file from your Downloads folder to wherever you’d like to store it.

At the bottom of your web browser window, click the upwards arrow icon beside the file(s) you’ve downloaded. In the menu that pops up, click Show in Folder.

Show in Folder option for files

Then you’ll be able to see the files you downloaded in your Downloads folder. If you want to store them in a particular place on your computer, you can click and drag them to another folder in the menu on the left side of the File Explorer window.

Move to Folder option

That’s all you need to do to transfer files from Android to a computer with Google Drive.

How to transfer files from Android to your computer with a USB cable

1. Plug your Android into your computer.

Using the USB cable that came with your device, connect your device to one of your computer’s USB ports.

Android plugged into a PC

2. A window will open on your computer allowing you to view your files. Select the files you want to transfer.

You should see a File Explorer window (or Finder if you’re using a Mac) appear on your computer screen. You’ll be able to see all the information stored on your device. Look through the folders to locate the one(s) you want to transfer. If you’d like to select multiple files, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard then click on each file you want to select. If you’d like to select all of them, hit Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select them all at once.

Select files to move

3. Copy the files from your Android and paste them in a folder on your PC.

Once you’ve selected all the files you want to save to your computer, right click on them and select Copy from the menu that appears.

Copy option for files

Then choose another folder from the menu on the left side of the window and double click on it to open it.

Pictures folder in list of accessible folders

With the folder open, right click in the blank space to open a pop-up menu. Then click Paste to add a duplicate of all the data you copied into that folder on your computer.

+ Paste option for files

4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you’ve transferred all the files you want saved.

If you didn’t copy all your files at once and have more data on your Android you’d like to move over to your computer, you can repeat the previous 2 steps to copy more information to your computer.

Those 4 steps are all you need to do to copy data from Android to your computer using a USB connection. Curious what kind of files you can move from Android your computer? We’ll give you a list in the next section.

Types of files you can export from Android

  • Documents
  • Contact lists
  • Notifications
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Podcasts
  • Ringtones
  • Device Data
  • App Data (depending on the app)
Android file icons

Now you have all the information you need to transfer your contacts, photos, documents, and other data from your Android device to your PC or Mac. We’d recommend transferring information to your computer regularly so that you always have an updated copy of the files on your Android. If you’d like to find out about other things you can do with your Android device, check out our Android page for more tutorials and informational articles.