Now and then a user may require to sync his Android phone to a Windows PC. With the advancement in technology, the options are nearly unlimited but will differ from case to case. Some users only want to sync some files/photos, some may want to sync notifications/messages.
For some a shared clipboard is essential, even some may want to receive calls on the phone through their systems, so, a case-to-case scenario is that will determine the best option for a user to follow. Every OEM (Google, Microsoft, etc.) is putting efforts to natively support cross-device compatibility in their OS.
So, the options can be categorized as:
- Using an OTG Adapter or OTG Dual USB Drive
- Using a USB Connection
- Using the Bluetooth Protocol
- Using the Wi-Fi Sync
- Using the Android ADB
- Using the Mobile Data/Internet
- Using Apps
- Using the Cloud Services
- Settings up a Local FTP Server on the PC or Phone
Use an OTG Adapter or a USB With OTG
For a common user who just has to sync some files between the PC and his Android phone, the best bet would be to use an OTG adapter with a USB storage device or use a Dual Drive Storage USB that supports OTG.
- Firstly, connect the OTG cable/adapter to the USB and then plug the OTG side into the USB port of the Android phone. If a USB OTG device is available, plug the USB directly into the Android phone.
- Once the phone detects the newly connected USB, open the USB storage device in the phone’s File Explorer and copy the files to the USB.
- Afterward, unmount the USB from the phone and connect the USB to the Windows PC.
- Then transfer the data to the PC and vice versa.
Use a USB Connection
Although, using an OTG is a good short-term solution, having personal or corporate data on a USB device is generally a not good idea as the lost USB can put the data in jeopardy. Here, using a compatible USB cable to connect the Android phone to a Windows PC would be a better option.
- Firstly, find a compatible USB cable that transfers the data from the phone, not just charges it. If USB 3.0 is supported on the Android phone and Windows PC, then using a USB 3.0 cable is preferred.
- Now connect the USB cable to the Android phone and then connect it to the Windows PC.
- Afterward, slide up (or down) on the screen to open the Quick Settings menu and tap on the USB connection mode.
- Now select Transfer File Mode or MTP mode and transfer the data between the system/Android.
Keep in mind that some users may have to install the Android phone’s drivers from the OEM (or Google) website. In the case of an Ancient Android device of a non-famous brand, a user may have to power off the device to give the system read/write access to the device’s memory.
Use the Bluetooth Protocol
If the system supports a Bluetooth protocol or a Bluetooth USB dongle is inserted into the system, then using a Bluetooth connection is a better option than the USB connection cable as finding a cable every time a file transfer is required can be fuzzy at times.
- Swipe up (or down) on the phone’s screen to open the Quick Settings and tap/hold the Bluetooth icon.
- Now enable Bluetooth and make sure the device is discoverable.
- Then open the Action Centre in the system’s tray and click on Bluetooth. If the Bluetooth icon is not shown, then you may show Bluetooth in Action Centre.
- Now add the Bluetooth device to the system by following the instructions on the screen.
- Then you can share the files/folders between the system and Android phone by using Bluetooth.
At the time of this writing, Google is planning to extend Android’s Nearby Share to Windows as well, so keep an eye on it as well.
Use the Android ADB
The Android ADB is the command-line tool to manage and execute code on an Android device. For larger files (like 30 GB of data), the MTP protocol of the USB connection or Bluetooth may take a longer time with interruptions and the user may have to reinitiate the sync process again and again. In such a case, using the Android ADB (suitable for computer geeks) to copy these files is a good option.
- Install the Android ADB on your Windows system and connect the system to the Android phone with a USB cable.
- Then enable the USB Debugging in the Developer Options of the phone. Afterward, you may use the ADB wireless (if the system and Android device are connected to the same network).
- Now you can use different commands in the system’s administrative Command Prompt to copy the files like the following:
adb push C:\file /sdcard/file To copy a file from the system’s C drive to the Android Device’s SD card.
adb pull /sdcard/file C:\file It is a reversal of the push command which fetches the file from the SD card of the Android device and places it in the system’s C drive.
Keep in mind that whenever, the Android device restarts, a user may have to physically connect the device again to the system with a USB cable to re-initiate the ADB Wireless.
Use the Wi-Fi Sync
In this modern era, using a USB connection or Bluetooth looks a bit old-fashioned and time taking for many users. Here, using a Wi-Fi or wireless sync is a good choice.
Share the Folder on the PC
- Firstly, enable sharing on the Windows PC and enable SMB protocols (at your own risk as these protocols make your system, network, and data vulnerable).
- Now create a folder on the system’s Desktop (or wherever you are comfortable with).
- Then, right-click on the newly created folder and select Properties.
- Now head to the Sharing tab and click on the Share button.
- Then search for Everyone and click on Add.
- Now select Everyone and set the Permission Level to Read/Write.
- Then click on the Share button and open Advanced Sharing.
- Now checkmark Share This Folder and click on Permissions.
- Then select Everyone and checkmark Full Control.
- Now click on OK and head to the Security tab.
- Then click on Edit and select Add.
- Now type Everyone and click on OK.
- Then select Everyone and checkmark on Full Control.
- Now close the Properties windows on the system.
Install a File Explorer Application on the Android Phone and Use it to Access the Windows Share
- Open Google Play Store and search for a File Explorer (like CX File Explorer).
- Now install it and afterward, launch it.
- Then, head to its Network tab and tap on New Location.
- Now switch to the Remote tab and select Local Network.
- Then it will search for your system and once shown, tap on it.
- Now enter the username and password (of the system) e.g., if a user is using a Microsoft ID to log into the Windows PC, then enter the complete Microsoft ID (like firstname.lastname@example.org) and enter the password of the Microsoft ID.
- Then tap on OK and once the PC’s shared folder is shown, you may use the PC’s Shared folder to move data between the PC and Android phone.
Keep in mind that whenever the PC or router restarts, then you may have to re-add the share in the File Explorer app as the PC’s IP is switched. In this case, a user may set a static IP to its PC or one by one add the shared host every time the PC starts. Soon, all the IPs used by the computer will be added to the File Explorer ap e.g., your Wi-Fi is used by 5 devices, then whenever you add the share of a new host, time will come when all the 5 IPs of the PC will be added to the File Explorer app and afterward, you may simply tap on each one to check on which IP the share is available.
Use the Phone or System’s Hotspot
If there is no Wi-Fi network available, then a user may use the phone or system’s hotspot to access the Windows shared folder (as discussed above).
- You may create a hotspot on the Windows PC or enable a hotspot on the Android phone.
- Now connect the other device to the hotspot and then you can access the PC share.
If the PC only supports LAN connection, then you may use an app (as discussed later) to sync the Android device to a Windows 10 PC.
Till now, our effort was to use the OS native approach to sync the data between Android and Windows but for many users, it may be too techy, time taking, or not an ideal one. For these users, there are plenty of applications that can sync the data between Android and Windows, especially, the users who are interested in auto-syncing of a folder’s contents. These applications can be categorized as:
- Microsoft Applications
- OEM Applications
- Cloud Services
- 3rd Party Applications
To enhance the cross-device compatibility of Windows, Microsoft has released many applications. These applications can sync different types of data between Windows and Android devices.
Your Phone App
The first and the most famous app for syncing an Android device to Windows 10 PC is Microsoft’s Your Phone App. It supports the sync of notifications (from apps), Messages, calls, pictures, continue on PC, Apps mirroring (on selected Samsung phones), etc. from an Android phone to PC.
- Click Windows, search and open Your Phone.
- Now click on Get Started and sign in with a Microsoft account.
- Then open the Google Play Store and install Your Phone Companion – Link to Windows.
- Now open Your Phone Companion and sign in with the same Microsoft account that was used in step 2.
- Then follow the prompts on the screen to link the Windows PC to the Android device. If the phone and PC are on a different network, then do not forget to enable Sync over mobile data in the Phone Companion app.
Then you can sync Your Phone App to sync data between the Android device and PC. Keep in mind Your Phone App can support multiple Android devices at once.
To wirelessly sync photos and videos between the Android phone and Windows PC, the Microsoft Photos Companion is the best candidate.
If a user wants to sync reminders from his Android phone, then Cortana is a great option. A user may enable Cortana Cross-Device to sync notifications of missed calls, messages, etc.
OneNote is a perfect choice to sync notes between an Android phone and a Windows system.
A user may use Outlook to sync calendar events between Android and a Windows PC.
If a user wants to sync Windows Timeline with his Android phone, then the Microsoft Launcher is the answer to this requirement. If you are already using the Microsoft Office app (like Word) on an Android phone, then using Microsoft Launcher can make syncing seamlessly as a user can launch a file from Android to his PC.
If a user wants to sync his scans from an Android device, then using the Office lens can make it possible.
If a user wants to resume his browser session from an Android device, then using Edge makes it possible without any hassle. Although, all other major browsers now offer the same functionality.
Microsoft Solitaire Collection
A user can play Microsoft Solitaire Collection in sync on Android and Windows.
There are plenty of other Microsoft apps (like Microsoft To-Do) that you can explore on the Play Store or Microsoft’s website.
Use an OEM App
Many OEMs have released applications that a user may use to sync data between the Windows PC and Android device. These applications include Samsung SideSync, Huawei Share or Huawei HiSuite, Mi PC Suite, etc. You may find the OEM app more than enough to sync the data between the PC and Android.
Use the Cloud Services
If an automatic syncing of data is required, then using a cloud service is a good option. As the Windows PC is involved, then the first natural choice should be OneDrive. You can also search for other cloud storage applications.
3rd Party Apps
There is no shortage in the 3rd party apps that a user can use the sync data between the Android device and a Windows PC. These apps can be categorized as:
- Chat/Email Apps
- Remote Control Apps
- Mirroring Apps
- File Explorers or File Managers with FTP Server
- Sharing Apps
- Automatic Syncing Apps
- Android Emulators
- Local Servers on a Windows PC
You can send the files between the Android phone and PC through chat apps like WhatsApp (or WhatsApp Web), Skype, etc., or send an email to an email address that can be accessed through the PC.
Remote Control Apps
Many remote-control apps (like TeamViewer) give users the option to send files between the devices.
There is a bulk of mirroring apps (like AirMirror or AirDroid) that a user may use to transfer the files between the devices. You may also explore other apps in the category like Push Bullet or Join.
File Explorers or File Managers with FTP Server
Many of the popular File Manager apps (CX File Explorer, Total Commander, MyPhoneExplorer, Solidexplorer, etc.) can be used to access the files from the Windows share but these apps also have a built-in (or plugins) FTP server. With this feature, an Android phone can be converted into an FTP server, which can be then accessed from a browser (or the Windows File Explorer). For illustration, we will discuss the process for CX File Explorer:
- Install the CX File Explorer from the Google Play Store on your phone and launch it.
- Now head to its Network tab and open Access from Network.
- Then tap on Start Service and open a browser on the PC.
- Now enter the address shown in the CX File Explorer e.g., the following:
- Then hit the Enter key and when prompted to, enter the username and password shown in the CX File Explorer.
- Now you can use the FTP protocol to transfer files between the PC and Android phone.
Keep in mind that Windows File Explorer is a preferred option to access the FTP server, just simply copy the FTP address in the address bar of the File Explorer and hit Enter, if asked, enter the credentials and you can easily manage Android files/folders from the Windows File Explorer.
There are many popular sharing apps that a user can use to transfer data between a Windows machine and an Android phone. Following are a few famous apps in this category:
Automatic Syncing Apps
If a user wants to automatically sync particular folders between the Android device and Windows PC (using the local Wi-Fi sync or the Internet), then using automatic syncing applications may solve the problem. Here is a list of some of the popular syncing applications:
- Resilio Sync
- IFFTTT (not a syncing app but can be configured to be a one)
- Syncthing (Our personal favorite)
A user may use an Android emulator (like Bluestacks) to transfer files from the Android to the emulator (by using an app like Google Files) and then copy the files from the emulator to the PC or vice versa.
Local Servers on a Windows PC
If none of the above meet your requirements, then setting up a local server on a Windows PC may fulfill the requirements. The following are a few examples of the applications to do so:
- WinSCP with KDE Connect
In the end, please do not forget to leave us a comment on how it worked for you? Also, do mention any method that we forgot to cover.