Sunday, July 24, 2011

Supernova Article: How To Transfer Files Wirelessly Between Your Phone/Tablet To/From Your PC

We've all need to do it at some point - transfer files between our Android phones/tablets to/from our PCs be it music files, videos, photos, 3rd party APK files, etc. In most cases, the easiest way is to use the cable provided by your smartphone/tablet to connect to your PC in either mass storage or USB mode to perform the transfer. This is the easiest and fastest way to get your files across. 

But what if you don't want to use the cables because its too troublesome to connect them over and over again? If you're on a wireless network (or even 3G connection), you're in luck. This guide will teach you how to easily transfer files wirelessly between your android device and your PC and vice versa. Full details after the jump.

First you need to get the FTP Server software for your Android Device which is available for free at the Android Market here. After you have downloaded and install the FTP Server software, run it and you should see it startup with a screen that looks something like this (you may click for a larger view of the pic):

You first need to configure your username and password, to do this, tap on the context menu icon on your android device (the one that looks like a few straight "lines"). Then tap on the preferences button. You should see a dialog like this:

Fill up your username, password and port details.For the default dir, you might want to leave it as /sdcard OR /mnt/sdcard by default, it will load up your SD card root folder to allow you to transfer files to/from that folder. Leave every other setting as it is and move on to the next step.

The next step is to find your wireless access point SSID and tick the checkbox on the left. This is important otherwise you will not be able to connect to your Android device from your PC. Once you've done that, scroll to the end of the dialog and click on the "Save and restart service" button. This will save the settings and restart the FTP service.

After that, you need to grab a freeware FTP software called "FileZilla" which is my favourite FTP client from this link here. Just grab the client not the server version and install it on your Windows machine. Once you're done downloading and installing FileZilla, run it on your Windows machine and fill up the "Host", "Username", "Password" and "Port" fields at the top of the program and then click on the "Quickconnect" button.

If you're not sure what is the Host for your Android Device, it is the IP Address that is listed in the FTP Server program at the top, it should read something like: FTPServer ( - 0 Sessions - Your IP Address and port number should be listed in bold, separated by a colon (:).

Once you are successfully connected, you should see your Windows machine local files on the left side panel and your Android Device SDCard folder on the right side panel which looks something like this:

You then browse the folders on both side of the panels as you would in a Windows environment, then when you have found the files or folders you want to transfer to / from your Android device, simply right click, then choose Upload/Download and the file transfer process will begin immediately. 

You can also create and delete folders with FileZilla. To delete a folder, just select the folder and press the "Delete" key on your keyboard. A confirmation dialog should appear to confirm your action. You can also create folders by right clicking on any file and click on the "Create Directory" item to create a new folder.

That concludes the article, you may explore the depths of the applications as you please, I've only provided this simple guide to get you started, so feel free to explore around both applications and set them according to your personal preferences. Have fun!


oliwek said...

thanks, but I think it's easier to just install and use WiFi File Explorer :

Malcolm said...

Hi There,

Yes, it is easier to use wifi file explorer but the free version is crippled, you can't upload multiple files unless you get the full version. With an FTP client you have more freedom and less restrictions.

Sparky said...


Interesting article - but I think there are a few details left out:

On the FTPServer Side - what do you use as the User (User Name already created on the Wi-Fi Router?) and password (again, already created on the Wi-Fi Router?) or do you create something else for the Tablet (Tablet_Name, Tablet_Password) - in this case how do you connect to the router?

On the "FileZilla Side, what do you use for the Host (192...?), UserName, Password?

Thanks in advance for the clarification.



Malcolm said...

Hi There,

For the FTPServer side, the username can be anything you wish, just keep it simple so you can type it in in FileZilla easily. The same goes for the password as well.

It has nothing to do with your router, so don't get confused. For host, you should specify the IP address listed in the FTP Server's title window and the port number is between the colon ":". In this example:

The IP is while the port is 2121, so key that into filezilla and connect and you're good to go. Hope this helps.

dobw said...

is it possible to get better than 1mb transfere rates?

Malcolm said...

Nope, that's pretty much as fast as you can get. For transferring larger files its better to do it off USB instead.

dr.alkaf said...

thank you for this article ...
my IP address for the tablet gave me strange long address !! it is : fe80::1a:11ff:fef6:6939%wl0.1:1400

whats wrong ?? i tried that on filezilla but it keep telling me : could not parse server addess ?? any solution please :(

Malcolm said...

The app probably is reporting the wrong IP for some reason. Try to go to the settings section in your android device, choose wireless, wifi settings, press the menu button on your android device and select advanced. use the IP address listed there for filezilla. hope this helps :)

dr.alkaf said...

Ok, it gave me the wright ip now, but still after i press quick connection it says failed to connect to server !!

Malcolm said...

did you key in the correct port number too? if this is too difficult or complicated, try using this app instead:
wifi file explorer (search it in android market).

tasos said...

Hi Malcolm. I've just followed your instructions and made it.
It only toook me a few minutes. Very good work indeed you have done there.
Just one more question please. I dont want to use WIFI because of radiation dangers. My tablet has a network port through wich I get internet access using a network cable. I wonder if I could use the software you suggested so to connect the tablet with my desktop pc.

Malcolm said...

Hi tasos,

In theory you should be able to use the LAN cable I suppose but it has not been tested. Why not just give it a try and see how it goes? Most tablets don't have a LAN port especially the popular ones, usually china-based ones have them.

tasos said...

Dear Malcolm,
You guest right and thank you for your answer.
My tablet is china-based indeed and is not a popular one.
I'd like to try LAN port for file transfer but I'm not familiar with Filezilla. It's a little "greek"to me. Are there any ideas or a little help about how to try this with or without Filezilla?

Malcolm said...

Hi tasos,

as mentioned, just follow the instructions above in the guide - it should be pretty straightforward. or if you prefer an easier way, grab an app called "wifi explorer" from the android market and try it out - it should be easier to use than filezilla as you will be using your browser to do the file transfers and stuff.

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