Android smartphones take some fantastic photos these days, especially with evolving technology and multiple lenses. Sometimes you want to see your photos on a bigger screen and you also want to keep your data in case something goes wrong with your phone. That’s where the PC comes in. Transferring photos from your Android phone to your desktop is easy and there are many different ways to do it. If you need your photos right away, the “wired” method is best. The second method is to configure your phone to backup your photos over WiFi for easy access wherever you go.
Method 1: transfer photos from Android to PC using USB cable
Cable transfer is the fastest and most efficient method of accessing your photos when you want immediate access. Besides your computer and phone, all you need is a USB cable to go from your phone to your computer. Generally, it is best to use the cable that came with the phone to charge it. Unplug the standard USB-A connector (the larger side) from your AC adapter and connect it to the port on your PC.
Once you have connected your phone to your PC, make sure you have unlocked your phone. Use your fingerprint, PIN, pattern, or whatever lock screen input you use to give your PC access to the phone.
You may need to change the USB options for your device. The process varies depending on your version of Android. Here are a couple of examples.
Transfer photos via USB on Android 10 and above
- Connect the phone’s USB charging cable to your PC or laptop and then go to “Settings.” Tap on “Connected devices,” although it shows Bluetooth underneath.
- Please select «USB» from the menu.
- Choose “File transfer” from the list of options.
- Your PC should now show your Android 10 smartphone as a device in Explorer.
Transfer photos using Android 6 (Marshmallow) USB to PC
Then open the File Browser. You will find your device in the list on the left side panel. If you are using a phone with internal memory and an SD card, you will see two different systems to navigate. On my PC, they are (kindly) labeled “Phone” and “Card.” I keep my photos on my SD card, but you will want to select that menu if you save them on your phone.
Once you’re inside your phone’s file system, you’ll want to find a folder titled “DCIM,” which stands for Digital Camera Images. That folder will contain all the images from your camera, but it will not contain other files, such as screenshots or downloads (these are usually found in folders titled “Screenshots” and “Downloads”).
If you save your photos to an SD card, you may find the folders in your phone’s internal memory again. Each file will have a thumbnail of the image and you can sort by date, name, size, etc., just like any other folder on your PC. Once you have found the photo or photos (or if you want to copy everything to your PC), make your selections as usual and drag them to a folder or location on your PC (Photos, Desktop, Documents, etc.)
Once you have dragged your files to your computer, they will be copied, not deleted or moved, simply copied, from your phone to your computer, where you can edit or print them as you wish. This process takes time, depending on how many photos you are copying (the more you copy, the more time you will have). Once you complete the transferring process for your photos, you can disconnect your phone. As with most modern smartphones, you don’t need to eject your device to remove it safely. Just make sure your files finish transferring before doing so.
Method 2: transfer photos from Android to PC using Google Photos
Aside from USB-to-PC file transfers, cloud storage doesn’t require any kind of connection, but it does require a bit of patience when transferring photos to PC. Of course, an internet connection is essential. However, the planned changes to Google Photos altered the way the company handles its images. Towards the end of 2020, Google established a future change to the terms and conditions of personal cloud storage, reflecting the removal of free / unlimited Google Photos storage for images. This policy went into effect on June 1, 2021, but current images remain in Photos, unaffected by the latest policy.
Understand the Google Photos quality options
Google offers two different settings for uploading photos: Storage savings (formerly called High Quality) and Original quality.
Acerca de Google Photos Storage Saver
The “Storage Saver” setting makes compressed copies of your files and saves them to your Google Storage account (combined space of Drive, Photos, and a Google One subscription). These photos are resized to 16MP, which means that most smartphone photos will not lose resolution or quality. Videos are compressed to 1080p (if recorded at a higher resolution such as 4K) and retain their quality, despite compression.
About the original quality of Google Photos
The “Original Quality” setting preserve your resolutions without any compression. If you are a professional photographer or need images with a resolution greater than 16 MP, you can configure Google Photos to load your images with the original quality. These uploads use your Google storage space (15GB free on Drive, Photos, and Google One subscriptions). Each Google user has 15GB of free Google storage, and Google One’s monthly plans increase storage limits from 100GB to 2TB. There are other storage options, but most users will need no more than two terabytes of cloud capacity.
How to use Google Photos to transfer images from Android to PC
For 95% of users, leaving Google Photos in the default settings and in the “Storage Saver” option is enough. To transfer photos from Android to your PC using Gogole Photos, upload them to your Google Storage account and then download them to your PC. It is a very simple process. As mentioned above, some patience is required, but it can also speed up the process a bit. This is what you should do.
- On your Android device, take the screenshot you want to transfer to PC, take a photo, or just go to the next step to transfer existing photos.
- Launching «Google Photos» on your Android device. This step asks Photos to automatically sync new images to the cloud instead of waiting until you decide to sync them in the background.
- Open your preferred browser on your PC and go to Google Photos. Sign in with the same Android account (if you are not already signed in) that contains your photos.
- Find the images you want to transfer to your PC and click on the images for each week, day or thumbnails “Check mark in a circle.” This step adds a check mark to each selected item. Simply clicking on an image opens it instead of selecting it.
- In the upper right section of the page, click the “Vertical ellipsis” (three vertical dots) and select «Descargar.»
- Your photos now start downloading to your PC in a compressed file, unless you only selected one image.
- Open the downloaded zip folder to view the photos or move it anywhere you want. You can also extract the images and place them in a different folder on your PC.
Using Google Photos to transfer images from your Android device to your PC is pretty straightforward. The patience required depends on the photos you want to transfer. There is no “Select All” option here, so you will need to manually choose your images, but at least you have the secondary option to select weeks and days.
There is a second option within Google Photos called “Google Takeout”, which is actually part of Google as a whole. Using Takeout downloads all the photos stored on your PC in one go. You can customize what is backed up by folder name or year. Here’s how to do it.
- Access your synced Android photos by going directly to Google Photos from a browser.
- Click on «Settings» (gear icon) in the upper right section of Google Photos.
- In the “Export your data” row, click “Show more” (arrowhead down).
- Please select “Back.”
- Click on “All photo albums included” to choose which folders you want to download to your PC.
- Check all the folders you want to backup (download to PC).
- Click on “Next Step”.
- Choose Export once. in the “Frequency” section. You can also choose other options, such as file type and delivery method.
- Click on «Create report» when you are ready. The photos will be backed up to your PC.
- The “Export progress” section shows the current status of your download.
- Finally, click on the «Descargar» link to copy your photos to your PC.
By completing the above steps, you will have uploaded photos from your Android device to Google Photos and then have backed up them on your PC. In other words, you have successfully transferred photos from Android to your PC wirelessly!
Method three: transfer images to Amazon photos
Amazon offers cloud storage for images like Google, and the app is called Amazon Photos. Many will flock to Amazon’s free cloud storage with future changes to Google Photos, assuming they have a Prime membership. With Prime, you get unlimited, full-resolution image storage in the cloud. Without Prime, users only get 5GB of space, which is less than Google Photos, including 15GB of storage. However, Amazon uses the cloud for images only, while Google uses Drive for all its data.
Once the phone finishes its initial backup (which I recommend doing overnight), there isn’t much else to do. Amazon Photos is also a great way to manage your photos, edit them, and apply effects. If you are looking for a way to put your photos on your PC, you will be happy to know that all images are available in the Amazon web application at any time.
If you need a fast transfer of photos, the USB to PC solution is the best. However, suppose you are looking for a photo backup solution or have the time to move your library to the cloud. In that case, Google Photos and Amazon Photos are great ways to keep your library safe and clean. Saving your photos has never been easier and now you can view them on the screen that suits you best.