How to Transfer Files from Android to Mac and Back

Read this article to find out how to transfer files from Android devices to Mac computers. How to take photos, videos, music or documents from Android to Mac.

How to Transfer Files from Android to Mac and Back

Exchanging files between devices is a commonplace task that we face almost every day. However, it can be a little challenging if you are new to using Android and Mac devices. Today we’ll explore a few easy yet effective ways to transfer files from an Android device to a computer with macOs.

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Transferring files by USB cable

The first method is to use a USB cable for file transfer. For example, when connecting an Android smartphone to a Mac with a USB cable, the computer will not recognize the connected device, so it’s impossible to transfer files without third-party software.

To make it possible, download a special application to help macOS “see” the connected device. In Appstore, you can find a few utilities for this purpose, but I recommend using this specific utility, Android File Transfer.

It’s a free tool that lets you exchange files between a macOS computer and various Android devices in a comfortable and effective way. You can download the utility from the official website. From your Mac computer, open a browser and go to the official website of Android File Transfer.

Android File Transfer: official website

Find the Downloads tab and get the application. When the download is complete, open the file and install the application by following instructions on the screen.

Android File Transfer: installing the app

To enable file transfer, connect your Android device to the Mac computer. If you’re dealing with a smartphone, select the corresponding data transfer option.

Mac: select the data transfer option

Swipe down the notifications panel to access quick settings. Tap on the connection icon and select the file transfer type.

Android: select the data transfer option

When you complete these steps, your Android device is ready to transfer files.

A new device will appear on the Mac screen, which can also be seen in Finder.

A new device will appear on the Mac screen

Now just copy the necessary files from Android to Mac.

Android phone contents on Mac

Using a cloud storage or messengers to transfer files

The second method to transfer files from Android to Mac involves using cloud servers or messengers. To use this method, download and install a cloud storage app to your Android device. This could be Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive. I will show it with the example of Google Drive.

After it is installed, all you have to do is to upload to Google Drive the file which you need to transfer. Select a file, tap Send, and choose Google Drive as the destination.

Send file to Google Drive

Go to your Mac, open the browser and go to the cloud storage website. Sign in to your account and download files from Google Drive to your computer.

Download files from Google Drive to the computer

In addition to cloud storage services, you can use messengers for the same purpose. Many messenger apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and others allow users to transfer files between devices. So you can send a file from your Android device with a messenger, and then download it to Mac by using a web version of such messenger or other available methods.

WhatsApp: the web version

Using a cloud storage or messengers is a convenient way to exchange files between Android and Mac devices, without any hassle of messing around with cables or installing extra apps. This method is particularly good for sending small files and for people who prefer to keep their stuff in a cloud.

Transferring files via Bluetooth

In this case, you don’t need to install anything. The only thing you do is to set up your Mac.

On MacBook, go to System SettingsGeneralSharing.

Mac: System Settings - General - Sharing

Scroll down the menu and drag the slider to enable Bluetooth Sharing.

Mac: Bluetooth Sharing

Click on the “i” symbol next to this option and change the action for “When receiving items” to “Ask What to Do”. This is necessary so that no one can connect to your Mac by Bluetooth without your permission.

Mac: When receiving items - Ask What to Do

Now any Android device will be able to “see” your Mac without any issues.

To transfer files, select “Share to Bluetooth” and choose Mac as the device that will receive them.

Android: Share to Bluetooth
Android: choose Mac as the device that will receive files

The transfer speed may not be as high as in the case with Wi-Fi or AirDrop. However, if you need to send data from Android to Mac right here and right now, this method will do, without messing around with extra apps and cables.

Mac: Incoming file transfer - Accept
Mac: Incoming file transfer – Time remaining

This method also allows you to show the phone on the screen of your Mac and transfer files in both directions. To send files to your phone, go to LaunchpadOtherBluetooth File Exchange.

Mac: Launchpad – Other - Bluetooth File Exchange

Choose a file for transfer and select the specific phone in the menu that appears.

Mac: in the menu that appears, choose the necessary phone

You only have to enable this setting once and then never go back to that again. From now on, your phone appears on your Mac and you can exchange files via Bluetooth in any place and environment, even if there is no Internet connection.

Transferring data by Wi-Fi

You can send files from an Android device to Mac by Wi-Fi with an app called ShareMe.

ShareMe is a default application for Xiaomi smartphones previously known as MiDrop. Nowadays, it can be installed to any Android phone, regardless of its actual manufacturer. If you don’t have this app yet, download it from Google Play.

Then open the app, go to its side menu, select WebshareShare.

Android: ShareMe - Webshare
Android: ShareMe - Share

Select the file you want to transfer, and click Send.

ShareMe: select the file you want to transfer, and click Send

A mobile hotspot will appear on the screen.

ShareMe: mobile hotspot

Go to your Mac and connect to this hotspot by Wi-Fi. The access password can be seen on the screen of your phone.

Мас: connect to ShareMe mobile hotspot by Wi-Fi

When connected, type the address that you see on your phone into the address bar of your Safari browser.

Type the address that you see on your phone into the address bar of your Safari browser

After the connection is established, the transferred files will appear in your browser. Next to each file, you can see the download button. Click Download, and they will be downloaded to your Mac.

Safari: files from ShareMe

This is how you can send any file from your Android phone to a computer with macOS.


Summing up, now you know several methods to transfer files from an Android device to a macOS computer, so you can choose the most convenient and effective way for your particular situation.

Recover data from pen drives, memory cards, HDDs and SSDs in macOS.
Vladimir Artiukh

Author: , Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: , Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.

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