Mobile

How to Copy Large Files From Your Phone to Your Computer

You need to copy a huge file from your phone to a computer. Maybe it’s a lengthy video or a large document. If the file is too large to transfer directly through email, a USB cable, or other conventional means, how can you get that big file on your computer?

Apple devices can use AirDrop to transfer the file to your computer. However, neither Windows nor Android support AirDrop. In that case, there are other options that work between Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, including Google Photos, Nearby Share, and Bluetooth transfer, as well as third-party programs.


AirDrop

airdrop iphone

If you haven’t yet used AirDrop to transfer files between your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, it’s fairly straightforward. On your phone or tablet, open the file you wish to copy. Tap the Share icon and select AirDrop. In the AirDrop screen, select your Mac.

airdrop mac

You should see an AirDrop notification on your Mac, at which point the file is automatically copied. Open the Downloads folder on your Mac to access it. For more detailed help, check out our AirDrop guide.


Google Photos

google photos settings

Google Photos should automatically save and sync photos and videos on your Android device, which means you can access them on your phone and computer.  If this isn’t working for you, open the app, tap your profile icon in the upper right, and go to Photos settings > Back up & Sync and turn on the switch for Back up & Sync.

You can also use Google Photos on an iPhone or iPad if you download the app from Apple’s App Store. Inside the app, tap your profile icon and select Google Photos settings > Back up & Sync and turn on the switch for Back up & Sync.

google photos

Open the Google Photos website on your computer, and you should see all your synced photos. To download a specific photo, click it and open the three-dot menu in the upper right corner, then select Download.

If you do use Google Photos to sync and store every photo and video you take on your phone, just keep an eye on your Google storage space. The company no longer offers unlimited photo storage for free and limits you to 15GB of space for all your online files (Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos combined) unless you shell out for the Google One monthly subscription. (Here are some alternatives.)


Nearby Share

nearby share settings

Another option just for Android is Google’s answer to AirDrop, Nearby Share. To get started, go to Settings > Google > Devices & sharing > Nearby Share and then turn on the switch for the feature. You can use Nearby Share to send and receive files as long as both devices are running Android 6.0 or higher, and Bluetooth and location services are turned on. 

nearby share options

From the Nearby Share settings page, you can tweak a few options. Tap Device name to change the name of your phone as it would appear to the other person when sharing a file. Tap Device visibility to determine if you want to use Nearby Share with all contacts or just some contacts, or keep it hidden. Tap Data to control whether Nearby Share works over cellular data, over just Wi-Fi, or without internet.

send share

With Nearby Share enabled on both the sending and receiving devices, open an Android app on the sending device, such as the Files app, Gallery, or Google Photos. Tap the Share icon and select the Nearby Share icon. If you don’t see it, tap the More icon, and it should appear.

receive share

A notification on the receiving phone prompts you tap it to become visible to nearby devices. On the sending device, tap the name of the receiving device. After both devices connect, tap Accept on the receiving device. Then open the received file in an associated app to view it.


Bluetooth

your phone

Android devices can use Bluetooth to send files to a Windows 10 computer, but it won’t work with an iPhone or iPad. You first need to link and pair your Android phone with Windows 10 and then make sure Bluetooth is turned on for both devices.

bluetooth file transfer

Go to Settings > Devices on your Windows 10 computer and click the Send or receive files via Bluetooth link on the right or at the bottom of the page. At the Bluetooth File Transfer window, tap the Receive files option. 

send file

On your Android phone, go to the file you want to transfer to your PC. We recommend the Files by Google app or Google Photos for this. Open the file, tap the Share icon, and select Bluetooth. At the next screen, select the name of your PC.

receive file

On your Windows PC, browse to and select a location to save the transferred file and click Finish. Open the location to view the file.


Snapdrop

snapdrop

Snapdrop is a web-based file-transfer tool that can copy photos, videos, and other files between different devices and computers. Fire up the site on both your computer and on your mobile device. The screen on your computer should identify your phone or tablet, while your mobile device identifies the browser on your PC.

snapdrop mobile

To transfer a file from your phone to your computer, tap the computer icon on the phone screen. You can select Photo Library to grab an existing photo, Take Photo or Video to snap something new with your phone’s camera, or Browse to transfer an existing file from your phone. Whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you should be able to transfer a file saved on the device itself or saved on an online storage site.

snapdrop save

On your computer, the file should show as received. Click Save to save it to your hard drive.


Documents by Readdle

docstransfer website

Available for iOS and iPadOS, Documents by Readdle lets you view the folders and files on your computer from a mobile device. You can then select the files you want to download to your PC. This can be done by downloading and launching the app on your mobile device, then opening the Docs Transfer website on your computer.

documents app

From the mobile app, go to Connections > Computer to view a four-digit code. Enter the number on the Docs Transfer website on your PC and wait for both devices to confirm the connection.

Your PC then displays certain folders and files from your phone, such as your photo library. On your PC, drill down to the folder that contains the file you wish to transfer. Check the box for the file you want and then click the Download link.

documents photos

At the File Save box, click OK to download the file and then choose a location to store it. When you’re finished, tap the Disconnect button in the mobile app to sever the connection.

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