• Android smartphones are not immediately recognized by Macs as storage volumes
  • To transfer files between an Android smartphone and a Mac you have to go through a special application (Android File Transfer)
  • But it is also possible to go through the cloud

As you know, Apple products are particularly well thought out to work together. But as soon as you leave the ecosystem even a little bit, everything gets complicated very quickly. If you use a Mac, chances are your smartphone is an iPhone – and we understand you. Between Airdropl’application Files et iCloud (not to mention automatic syncs like for photos) it was hard for Apple to make transferring files between iPhone and Mac easier.

However, many prefer to use an Android smartphone even though they swear by Mac on the computer side. The latter usually quickly realize how little is done in macOS to facilitate this use case. However, by adopting new reflexes, using an Android smartphone with macOS is nothing really more complicated or less practical. In this tutorial we immediately explain the official solution for transferring files when the smartphone is connected to the Mac.

But also what is probably the most popular and practical alternative: the cloud.

How to transfer files when Android smartphone is plugged into Mac?

© Lemon squeezer

To do this, it’s very simple (even if we admit it, Google and Apple have some room for improvement to make things much simpler…):

  • Download Android File Transfer by clicking here
  • Install the program
  • Connect your Android smartphone to your Mac
  • If Android File Transfer has not already opened on its own, launch the program
  • On your smartphone tap the notification mentioning USB
  • Select Files transfert

Your smartphone’s file tree should then appear in Android File Transfer. You can then drag your files to and from this window to initiate the transfer.

Note: according to our tests, this method, although official, is not completely free of bugs, especially if you try the manipulations on a Mac M1 or M2. This is why we tend to recommend using the cloud instead, which is much more convenient for transferring files from one ecosystem to another.

Note also that there are relatively reliable alternatives to Android File Transfer but which are not officially recommended by Google. Among these solutions we can cite OpenMTP or Commander One.

How to transfer files via the cloud?

It’s still a bit weird to have to install a special program for a computer to recognize a smartphone, in 2023. That’s why transferring files via the cloud is undoubtedly a much better alternative. By default, your smartphone, if it is entitled to Google applications, is already synchronized with Google Drive.

In any case, it has the Google Drive application which allows you to very easily put files in the cloud that you can then retrieve on your Mac. To put a specific file in the Google Drive cloud:

  • Open the app Google Drive on your Android smartphone
  • Tap the add (+) button
  • Select the option that best matches what you want to upload
  • Select the file(s) to put in the cloud
  • Validity

From your Mac, once the transfer is complete, open Google Drive from Google Chrome and then download the files you want. Note that if you’ve enabled Google Photos syncing, all your photos are already in the cloud (just open Google Drive on your Mac to retrieve them).

It is entirely possible to use third-party cloud services, such as Dropbox or OneDrive with substantially the same steps as with Google Drive. Another quite functional alternative: WeTransfer.com. All you have to do is go to the transfer site, and follow the instructions to upload any file, even very large ones. You will then have a temporary direct link to this file, allowing you to download it to your Mac or any other device.

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