How To Best Export Photos from Your Android Phone

By Ryan Whitwam

Lose the cable, and take advantage of the web.

Here's the scenario, you just took a picture with your Android phone, and you want that file on your computer. Sure, you could drag out the cable and plug in your phone to transfer it over. But what is this, the stone age? Android is designed to be a connected operating system that doesn't rely on being tethered to a PC. So why break out the cable when you need to move some images off? 


Email It

Android does not scale the images you send in email, so if the file in question is a large video, you will want to make sure you're on Wi-Fi. This method is good in a pinch, but grabbing multiple images from Gmail can be a little clunky. 

Wi-Fi File Browser

 If you are on the same Wi-Fi network with the phone and the PC, you can use one of several very good Wi-Fi file system browsers. With this method, you only need to have an app on the phone. The PC will need no special software to access your files. With most of these apps, you just type a local network address into the  to see the files.  

WebSharing. It will cost you $2.99, but it is very well designed. There is a tab at the top of the browser interface for different types of files. One of these is Photos, but you also get quick access to Video and Music. If you click one of these, you can see all the folders on the phone with images. This relies on you knowing where the files are though. Once you find the file you need, just click on it and use the integrated File > Download command to save it to the PC. You can also control-clock to select multiple images, and download them as a ZIP file. 

If you use an FTP client on your PC, you might like to just add you Android phone to hat program for quick access. There are a few FTP server apps on Android that we like, but the best seems to be SwiFTP. This method is a little more complicated, but more powerful. These methods are excellent choices because you can grab any file you like, not just images. 


If you're just using the Picasa web interface, you will have to go there and download the image. But if you are using the Picasa Desktop software, you can get access to the newly uploaded pics much faster. This method requires little configuration, and is fairly fast.  

If you are willing to branch out to third-party apps, you can get use something like Photobucket to automatically upload your pictures. This is a great solution if you often need quick access to images on your PC, and you have a solid data connection. This app will copy all your snapshots to your Photobucket site. The only problem, is that you need to have this set up ahead of time. Otherwise, it's not much more convenient than the cable route. 


You should probably have a Dropbox account anyway, so many will have very little setup to do. If you are not a Dropbox user, sign up, and get the desktop program and the Android app. Dropbox will tie in with your Gallery Sharing menu. So all you have to do is find the files you want to copy over, then use Sharing > Dropbox. This will pull up a Dropbox file browser that lets you pick the folder you want to put the files in. Hit "Send to this folder", and you're done. 

Whichever method you choose, it is worlds better than using a cable to transfer files. If you have a home Wi-Fi network you will be able to get things done very fast, and use more powerful options like Wi-Fi disk and FTP apps more easily. Picasa is great if you like to have images in the cloud, and don't mind downloading them via the web or Picasa software. But Dropbox is definitely our favorite. As long as you have it set up, this is the most convenient way to wirelessly get files onto your computer. How do you move images off your phone?

 Image credit Flickr user wackybecks