Transfer photos and videos from smartphone to laptop

Published: May 31, 2022

Last Modified: March 29, 2023

Transfer photos and videos from smartphone to laptop

Option 1: USB cable

The easiest and fastest way to transfer photos or videos from your phone to your laptop is to use a USB cable to connect the devices. In this case, the mobile device plays the role of a removable media, and all multimedia files or documents stored in the smartphone’s memory can be quickly transferred to a computer:

Connect your phone to your laptop using a USB cable. A line with a choice of connection type should appear in the blind of the mobile device. Expand it fully and tap on the notification to open the settings window.

  • As the purpose of use, select “File transfer” . The exact name may differ and depends on the version of the operating system and the device itself.

 

  • A notification will appear on the laptop screen that a third-party device is connected, and a window will pop up with a list of available actions. But if automatic launch of new media is disabled, double-click the This PC icon on the desktop or launch File Explorer . There will be a mobile device in the list of disks – open it.

 

  • In the device memory, find the folder with the photo or video. If they are made using the built-in camera, then by default they will be located in the “Camera” folder in the “DCIM” directory . Select the files you need, select them and copy them to the clipboard through the context menu or using the key combination “Ctrl + C” . Instead, you can simply drag them to another folder or, for example, to your desktop.

 

  • To paste the copied items, navigate to the desired folder on the laptop and use the right-click context menu feature. The combination “Ctrl + V” also works .

 

Photos and videos that were received through instant messengers, such as Telegram or Viber, are stored in the “Pictures” folder .

Our separate material has detailed instructions on how to connect a smartphone to a computer via USB. Although it is designed for Samsung, for the most part it is universal and suitable for many mobile devices based on Android. The article also discusses the most common connection problems and how to solve them.

Option 2: Cloud service

Storing and transferring data using cloud services is a fast and universal way for most devices. But it works if you have an internet connection with a good speed.

It is better to skip the recommendation if you are using mobile data with a limited data plan, since multimedia files weigh a lot on modern devices.

Using the most common cloud services as an example, let’s look at how to transfer photos (tips also apply to videos) from a phone to a laptop. Our separate guide demonstrates how to download photos from virtual storages, so we will not analyze this procedure in the instructions below.

Method 1: Google Drive

Most Android devices come preinstalled with Google’s cloud storage client. You can upload files to it through a proprietary mobile application, and special tools are provided for this.

Our author examined in detail how to upload files from the phone to the cloud from Google, not only from Android, but also from iPhone. The instruction is relevant for uploading photos or videos, so that later they can be downloaded via a laptop.

Method 2: Yandex.Disk

Another popular cloud storage is Yandex.Disk, through which you can transfer photos and videos from your phone to your computer. First you need to install the application on a mobile device, if necessary, create an account, then upload the files to Disk and download them to your computer.

    1. Install the cloud storage client and run it. Go through the authorization procedure. In the main window, tap the plus icon and select From Applications .

  • Find a video or photo in the list that opens. Click on it to start uploading to the cloud.

 

You can also activate automatic uploading of photos and videos to Yandex.Disk. All pictures taken with the camera will immediately be placed in the cloud service: all you have to do is open it from your computer and download what you need.

    1. To enable the function, click on the avatar thumbnail, then go to “Settings” .

  • Tap the line “Auto upload photos and videos” . In a new window, you will need to use the radio buttons to select what to download in the background. Additionally, you can specify from which folders on the phone the files will be used.

 

In the settings, you can activate downloads via mobile Internet, but this only makes sense when using an unlimited plan. By default, photos and videos will automatically be uploaded to the cloud only when connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Method 3: Cloud Mail.ru

Mail.ru cloud storage works on the same principle as the previous options. By default, the service provides 8 GB of free space for free, which should be enough to upload photos and videos from your phone.

    1. Launch the application and go to the “Files” tab Tap the plus icon at the bottom.

  • A list of available options will open, from which select “Add photos and videos” . The folders and files stored on the phone will be displayed.

 

  • With a single tap, select the data that you want to download. A line will appear at the bottom with the number of selected files and the amount of information. To confirm the action, click on “Add” .

 

After uploading photos and videos, it remains to go to the Mail.Ru Cloud from a computer and download them.

As in the previous method, the application provides an autoload function.

    1. To activate it, tap on the three horizontal bars to display the main menu. Select “Settings” in the block “Account” .

  • A window with options will appear, where you tap the line “Auto upload photos and videos” . Switch the toggle switch to the active state, after which additional settings will open below, allowing you to flexibly configure the process.

 

Option 3: Wireless technology

A method of wireless data transmission is also possible, which does not require removable media or wires. Most modern laptop models are equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules, so there should be no problems with transferring photos and videos. The only thing is that it can take a long time if you need to copy a large amount of information.

Method 1: Bluetooth

Synchronizing devices via Bluetooth is one of the most common ways to transfer data. First you need to activate the adapter on your laptop and smartphone. We have already told you how to turn on bluetooth in current Windows operating systems.


You can turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone through the system “Settings” or the curtain if it has the corresponding icon.

After Bluetooth is activated on both devices, it remains to transfer photos and videos through the smartphone’s built-in function:

    1. Right-click on the Bluetooth icon in the laptop OS tray. From the context menu, select the “Accept File” item .

  • Through the built-in “Gallery” or any file manager on your smartphone, find the files you need. Select them and find the “Share” function For example, in Android 11, the button appears after selecting pictures and videos at the bottom, and in some file managers you will need to call up a menu with advanced actions. A list of available file transfer options will appear, among which find bluetooth.

 

  • A new window will display the devices you can sync with. Touch the name of the laptop.

 

On the screen of the smartphone, you can see the process of transferring the file. The speed depends on the version of the Bluetooth module used: the more modern it is, the higher the transmission speed.

Method 2: WiFi

The easiest way to transfer files from your phone to your computer via Wi-Fi is to use a dedicated mobile app. In this case, you do not need to configure access to folders on a laptop.

To organize remote access, you will need to download any advanced file manager, such as CX Explorer. It is also necessary that both devices are connected to the same wireless access point.

    1. Download and run the app on your mobile device. In the main window, go to the Network tab , then tap the Network Access button .

  • Click on “Start” . The FTP server address, login and password will appear, which will be needed to synchronize the phone and laptop.

 

  • On the computer, open “Explorer” and enter in the address bar the address that the mobile file manager issued. Press the “Enter” key to go.

 

  • In a new window, enter the login and password from the application and click on the button “Login” . After that, the files stored on the smartphone will become available. Find photos and videos in folders and copy them to your laptop memory in any convenient way.

 

The principle of operation of similar applications is similar: an FTP address with a password is provided, by entering which in the “Explorer” line on a laptop, you can view and manage files located on your smartphone. Note that most file managers for Android provide a remote access function.

Option 4: Memory card

Some mobile devices have the ability to expand the memory using a microSD flash card. It can be used as removable media and connected to a laptop using a special adapter. In this case, the PC must be equipped with an SD slot.

If the laptop does not have such a slot, but this data transfer option is most preferable for you, purchase a special card reader that works via USB. There are different MicroSD readers, for example, a memory card is inserted into some of them without an adapter, but sometimes you need it anyway.

If photos and videos are saved to the memory of the mobile device by default, then additional manipulations will be required to copy data on the smartphone:

    1. Launch any file manager through which you can copy pictures and videos. For example, in the already considered CX Explorer, you need to find files in the internal memory of the device and select them. If there are several of them, then touch them in turn on the special checkbox on the right. When the data is selected, find the additional toolbar at the bottom and select the copy function.

  • By clicking on the return arrow at the top, go to the main screen and select removable media. If necessary, specify a folder, then click on the button below “Insert” .

 

When the files are copied to the flash drive, remove it from your mobile device and connect it to your laptop using a special adapter. You can find photos and videos through the Windows Explorer system.

Option 5: Flash drive

Using a flash drive as an intermediary between two devices is far from relevant for everyone. Firstly, you need to purchase a special adapter to connect your smartphone and flash drive, and secondly, very weak mobile devices can periodically disconnect from the flash drive. Nevertheless, if using a USB flash seems like a suitable option for you, read the article at the link below – it tells and shows the procedure.

Option 6: Special Programs

Proprietary software for synchronizing a mobile device with a computer or laptop is no longer popular, but exists. Through such programs, you can exchange files between devices, including various data, such as contacts, messages, or notes. Often you have to use applications from third-party developers. We have an overview of the best programs on our site that allow you to connect a PC and an Apple phone.


We also have a separate instruction about synchronizing a Samsung smartphone with a PC, where the Samsung Kies utility is analyzed with a link to download it.


For other brands, you can search for a similar application or use third-party software that provides synchronization not only via a USB cable, but also via Wi-Fi. Our author analyzed the most popular and effective programs for Android devices in a separate guide.

Option 7: Email

Another option, not very popular, but having the right to exist, is sending photos and videos by e-mail. This will require one email (if sending to yourself) or two addresses: yours and the one used by the addressee.

It should be noted that when sending a large number of photos or large video files, the files are automatically uploaded to the cloud storage, which is tied to the mailbox (not supported by all mail services, but only by the most popular ones, such as Google, Yandex, Mail.ru). Almost all such mail services provide free free space in the cloud after registering an email address.

    1. Launch the email client you are using and select the “Write” function . In the “To” line, enter the second address that will open on the laptop. Usually, to attach files, you need to tap the paperclip icon.

      If you plan to use mail to send files to yourself, you can not fill in any fields – just attach the file and save the letter as a draft. Well, or specify your own mail as the addressee – email boxes allow letters to yourself.

  • In the explorer that opens, select photos or videos. Yandex.Mail , for example, offers a way to compress files.

 

  • When everything is ready, click on the submit button. Then you can go through the browser on your laptop to the second mail and download the received data. Or open drafts (depending on what recommendation you used in the first step) and download the file from there

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