Today we will talk about a highly convenient method of wireless file transfer between Android device and computers using FTP or HTTP mode. We will explore some apps which assist wireless transfer mode between devices.

Very often we need to transfer data from the smartphone to computers. It arises out of casual need or backup purposes. In fact, I highly recommend the backup task due to the mobile nature of smartphones. When this need arises we often look for data cables for the transfer.

1. CABLE BASED FILE TRANSFER MODE- 2 STAR (★★)

Though the cable method looks easy but involves a lot of inconveniences. First, the overall implementation of USB transfer mode in Android is slow and it takes ages to list & view files and then another to copy them. Second, the transfer is very slow as compared to regular USB transfer or even wireless transfer.

Also, once you start the copy task, you can’t browse further contents or do another copy task in parallel, as it gives an error that the device is in use or the resource is in use or the device is currently busy. (See below)

These issues limit the use of this method and ask for alternatives that don’t plague with these issues. Here comes the need for wireless transfer which is really handy and doesn’t involve the hassles of managing the cable. Wireless transfer uses the file transfer protocol (FTP) or hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). So before going into the details, let us briefly explore both.

WHAT IS FTP OR HTTP?

FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a standard protocol or way or method for the transfer of files in between client and server on a network. FTP is a very common way of transferring files across a network and supports plain (anonymous) file transfer or secure file transfer with username-password combo or even SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or SSH (Secure Shell). It all depends on server configuration and the way it allows for FTP transfer to occur. For more details head over to the Wikipedia link.

HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol is somewhat similar to FTP in the way that it is also used to transfer files, but specifically webpages. HTTP is a standard protocol across internet webpages. You see HTTP before any website address. For more details head over to the Wikipedia link.

2. WIRELESS FILE TRANSFER USING FTP (Traditional way)- 3 Star (★★★)

First things first. For wireless file transfer from the Android device, we need to first make it an FTP server. For that, we will use file explorer apps. When we create an FTP server, the app assigns an IP address to the device. Then we can access that FTP server from the computer with all the files and folders visible there. For this purpose, we can use any internet browser and key in the IP address in the address bar. Let’s see the steps in detail:

Download File Manager or Solid Explorer from Play Store or ES Explorer apk from Apkpure or Apkmirror. We will talk about the first two apps here.

USING FILE MANAGE APP

  1. In File Manager go to the hamburger menu and select FTP.
  2. Tap on Start and select portable or password mode as per choice (if asked).
  3. Select volume or storage space for access (if asked).
  4. It displays FTP server IP address (eg: ftp://192.168.29.131:56505, where 56505 is port number).
  5. Go to any browser on the computer and put the above address in the address bar.
  6. If you selected the password-based access browser will prompt you to enter username & password.
  7. Then it will display Android device storage here with a proper hierarchy of folders with links to every file or folder.
  8. Simply right on the file and click on “save link as” to download the file.
Browser based wireless file transfer for Android
Right on the file and click on “save link as” to download the file

USING SOLID EXPLORER APP

  1. In Solid Explorer go to the hamburger menu and select “FTP server”. It displays the FTP address by default. (eg ftp://192.168.29.131:9999)
  2. Tap on Start. You can change FTP options (port, username-password-based access, etc) via the settings menu.
  3. Go to any browser on the computer and put the above address in the address bar.
  4. If you selected the password-based access browser will prompt you to enter username & password.
  5. Then it will display Android device storage here with a proper hierarchy of folders with links to every file or folder.
  6. Simply right on the file and click on “save link as” to download the file.

Password-based access is a nice secure option to prevent anyone else on the network to access your files and folders. It is also inconvenient as it asks for username password on every action done here in the browser, say you open another folder, you try to download a file, etc. It’s not a one time process.

Browser based wireless file transfer for Android with Secure access
Browser based wireless file transfer for Android

If you were trying this browser-based wireless file transfer method along with, you must have noticed that in order to download multiple files, you need to manually download them one by one. There is no way to download multiple files or folders at once via a browser. Here comes the need for an FTP client which automates this process of downloading multiple files at once or entering username password every time.

3. WIRELESS FILE TRANSFER USING FTP Client- 4 STAR (★★★★)

There are various FTP clients that ease the work of file transfer to and fro the FTP server, which in our case is an Android device. You just need to key in the details once (FTP address, username, password, port, etc) and the client manages the rest. It makes it super easy to transfer multiple files that too at high speed. Transfer speeds depend on speed supported by your router as the Android device connects to the network via WiFi router, while the computer can use any of LAN or WiFi. FTP is also widely used to transfer files to web servers as they support secure FTP file transfer, which is an easy and effective way to transfer small or large files say websites to the webserver.

To use this method you need to first download any FTP client like Filezilla, FreeFTP, FireFTP, WinSCP, etc. Of this FireFTP is add on for Mozilla, so if you don’t want to install any specific software and use Mozilla, you may try this one. Today we will explore Filezilla client as i am using it for 10 years plus and it works well. We will use File Manager as the Android app for the task. You may use others as discussed above.

USING FILEZILLA CLIENT & FILE MANAGER

  1. Download File Manager from PlayStore and install it.
  2. In File Manager go to the hamburger menu and select FTP.
  3. Tap on Start and if prompted, select portable or password mode as per choice. Use portable for direct access and password for secure access via username & password to prevent unauthorized access over your network.
  4. Select volume or storage space for access (if asked)
  5. Now it will display the FTP server IP address (eg: ftp://192.168.29.131:56505, where 56505 is port number).
  6. Download Filezilla client from here and install it.
  7. On top, there is a bar with boxes to enter the host, username, password, and port.
  8. Say for eg address was ftp://192.168.29.131:56505. Here 192.168.29.131 is the host while 56505 is the port. Username & password depends on the options set in step 3. If you set username & password in the app for FTP access, key it in here. Else leave it blank.
  9. Click on quick connect.
  10. Storage of Android device will appear on the right panel with proper folder hierarchy. The left side displays the storage of the computer.
  11. Simply select files or folders and drag-drop to left pane to download it to the selected folder. You may also right-click on selected files or folders and click on download.
  12. You may also you this way to copy files from computer to Android device. Select files on the left side and drag it to the right side.

4. WIRELESS FILE TRANSFER USING OTHER APPS- 5 STAR (★★★★★)

The above method of FTP based Android wireless file transfer via dedicated client only lists storage space as per folder structure and is unable to classify files according to types or categories. Moreover, it does not let you visualize photos & all before download, just the names.

Here comes HTTP based file transfer which opens storage space in an intuitive user-friendly way where one is able to visualize the contents of the device. It even categorizes the content, say photos, videos, music, documents, other files along with listing the content as per usual folder hierarchy. Some software like Xender and Airdroid offer it for free while the ones like X-plore offer it for a charge.

They also offer different ways for wireless file transfer on Android device, server-based and direct mode. In case of the server-based mode you are free to access & download your files in Android device from anywhere while in the direct mode you can only access files on your personal WiFi network. The caveat here in server-based mode is that the files are routed via service’s own server, so there is always privacy issue. Also, the speed of data transfer (in the form of downloads), depends on your internet speed. The direct mode has no such issue as there there is a direct connection between device and computer and the transfer speeds depend on your router which has a minimum speed of 150 Mbps (~20 MB/s).

USING AIRDROID

Airdroid is a multipurpose utility that also offers wireless file transfer on Android device via the user’s local connection or their server. With Airdroid you can also do many things from computer screen like manage SMS & contacts, access camera, view phone screen, control phone, view call logs, reject or silent calls, manage apps, drag and drop files and apps, change ringtones, etc. We will here see how to transfer files using Airdroid via both methods.

A. LOCAL CONNECTION MODE

  1. Download Airdroid from here.
  2. Open the app and go to the transfer tab.
  3. Tap on AirDriod Web. Note the IP address displayed in one of the options.
  4. Open the IP address (eg 192.168.29.131:8888) in the computer’s browser.
  5. Accept the connection request on the Android device.
  6. The full AirDroid interface opens in the browser with all the options including ones to access photos, videos, files, etc.

B. AIRDROID WEB OR SERVER MODE

  1. Download Airdroid from here.
  2. Open the app and go to the transfer tab.
  3. Tap on AirDriod Web. Note the web address displayed in one of the options.
  4. Open the web address (web.airdroid.com) in the computer’s browser.
  5. Tap on “Scan QR Code” and scan QR code displayed on the browser’s Airdroid interface.
  6. Confirm login on the Android device. Tap on sign in.
  7. The full AirDroid interface opens in the browser with all the options including ones to access photos, videos, files, etc

USING XENDER

A. LOCAL CONNECTION MODE

  1. Download the Xender app from here and open it.
  2. Tap on “+” on the upper corner and select “Connect PC”.
  3. Note the IP address displayed in one of the options.
  4. Open the IP address (eg 192.168.29.131:33455) in the computer’s browser.
  5. Accept the connection request on the Android device.
  6. The full Xender interface opens in the browser with all the options to access photos, videos, documents, files, etc.

B. XENDER WEB OR SERVER MODE

  1. Download the Xender app from here and open it.
  2. Tap on “+” on the upper corner and select “Connect PC”.
  3. Note the web address displayed in one of the options.
  4. Open the address (web.xender.com) in the computer’s browser.
  5. Accept the connection request on the Android device.
  6. The full Xender interface opens in the browser with all the options to access photos, videos, documents, files, etc.

BACKUP PURPOSES

For regular backup purposes or bulk transfer, i would recommend Wireless file transfer using FTP client like Filezilla owing to its simple drag and drop feature for easy bulk transfer. It also provides other options and checks for existing files etc. Just drag and drop files and folders to a backup folder on your computer and forget. In case of any issues, it prompts and asks for the required action.

Bulk android wireless file transfer using Filezilla

Today we explored various options to wirelessly transfer file from Android device to computer. Of all these, i personally prefer the Airdroid app for all the extra features it offers. The free version works well for the above-mentioned tasks. Feel free to explore various options and stick to the one you find best for yourself.

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