Android File Transfer Mac:
how to move data between macOS and Android

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Do you find it difficult to use your Mac with your Android phone? Don’t worry if you do. Both Apple and Google products are amazing for personal and business use. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t give users a lot of flexibility in using Mac devices with Android devices. Yes, you can sync contacts and calendar events between Mac and Android using Google services, and even transfer files using Google Drive - but... this is still a multistep process.

In this article, we'll talk about the best Android File Transfer macOS apps which allow you to transfer files between Mac and Android with ease. Read on to learn more.

Top 3 Android file transfer Mac OS X apps

  1. Android File Transfer from Google
    • • How to use Android File Transfer for Mac
    • • Android File Transfer not working?
    • • Troubleshooting Android File Transfer
  2. SyncMate Expert
    • • How to transfer photos from Android to macOS and vice versa
    • • How to transfer music from Mac to Android and vice versa
    • • How to transfer files from Android to Mac
  3. MacDroid - connects your Mac and Android
    • • How to transfer files between Mac and Android with MacDroid?
  4. Commander One
  5. dr.fone - Transfer
  6. Dukto R6
  7. Droid NAS
  8. MobiKin Assistant for Android
  9. AirDroid
  10. HandShaker
  11. Cloud storages

1. Android File Transfer from Google

Android File Transfer by Google

Android File Transfer app from Google is a tiny utility designed to transfer files from Android to Mac by connecting the two devices together via USB. This app will be enough for those who just need to transfer several files between Mac and Android without compressing them (if we talk about transferring pictures via Google Photos) or emailing files to yourself.

This app can be used only on Mac OS X 10.7 and upwards.

How to use Android File Transfer Mac?

  1. Download the Android File Transfer from Google onto your Mac from this link.
  2. Open the Apple disk image (.dmg) and drag the Android File Transfer app to the Applications section.
  3. Switch on and unlock your Android phone.
  4. Connect your Android phone to the Mac device using a USB cable.
  5. The Android File Transfer should open automatically once you plug your phone to Mac. If it doesn’t, click it and open.
  6. Browse the files and folders on your Android phone and select the files you wish to transfer to Mac device.
  7. Choose from the various options available and manage your files between both Android and Mac devices.

This is what your Android screen should reflect when you connect your phone to Mac:

Connecting Android to Mac

The files and folders from both devices will be organized in a logical manner – alphabetical or date-wise. The only exception to this rule is for photos taken on the phone itself. These photos are usually subject to the de facto DCIM structure. If this is the case, search for the folder named “Camera”, and you’ll find the relevant files there. This is how your screen will look like if your files are in the DCIM arrangement:

Browse Android files on Mac

Screenshots saved on the phone can be found in the folder titled “Pictures” and in the sub-folder titled “Screenshots.”

This Android File Transfer for macOS app allows you to drag and drop files from this window to the desktop and vice versa. You also have the freedom to create, edit, and manage files and folders in the app.

Our verdict: The Android File Transfer from Google does exactly what it promises – allows users to easily transfer files from Android devices to Mac devices. The biggest advantage of the app is that it’s completely free to use. But the disadvantage is that it’s a slightly unstable app (given that it hasn’t been updated in a while).

Android File Transfer Mac not working. How to fix it?

So, what if Android File Transfer isn’t working? How can you troubleshoot it?

Once you install the Android File Transfer for Mac app on your computer and connect your phone to your Mac, the two devices should automatically recognize each other, connect, and sync. But sometimes, you may be shown a message that says “Could not connect to device. Try reconnecting or restarting your device”.

Android File transfer not working

If this happens, it is indicative that the app is faulty.

Here is what you need to do to fix Android File Transfer Mac and successfully transfer your files between the Android and Mac devices.

There are three ways to troubleshoot Android File Transfer Mac:

1. Android USB debugging or USB replacement

One of the most common causes of app failures is a faulty USB cable. Remove the USB cable you are currently using and use a new one. Re-try the process of file transfer. If this doesn’t work, follow these steps:

  • • Connect your Android and Mac devices using the USB cable.
  • • Swipe down on your Android phone screen and visit the “Settings” tab.
  • • Click on the “USB Debugging” option and select “Media device (MTP).”
  • • Retry file transfer.

2. Update your Mac

Here’s how you can do this:

  • • Check whether your Mac is OS X 10.7 or higher. If it isn’t, update the OS.
  • • Make sure Android File Transfer is installed on your Mac.
  • • Restart your computer.

3. Android phone update

The final way to troubleshoot Android File Transfer Mac is to update your Android phone software.

  • • Swipe down on the Android phone screen and go to “Settings.”
  • • Go to the “System Update” section and update your phone.
  • • Restart your phone and reconnect it to Mac. Try to use the file transfer app now.

2. SyncMate as Android File Transfer Mac alternative

SyncMate as Android file transfer for Mac

The SyncMate app supports multiple devices and comes equipped with numerous features.

You can mount your Android devices as separate Mac disks here. This will allow you to look through your collections very easily and transfer files from one device to another without any hassle. A simple drag-and-drop is sufficient.

In addition to file transfer, SyncMate allows users to sync any data they want between Mac and Android.

SyncMate syncs a wide variety of content including pictures, audio files, videos, documents, calendars, contacts and so on. The main advantage of syncing with SyncMate is that the process is performed directly between Mac and Android apps.

How a Mac user can use SyncMate as an Android file transfer tool

  1. Download SyncMate onto your Mac from here and install it. This is the free edition.
  2. If you require more advanced features, upgrade SyncMate from the free version to the Expert version.
  3. Select the “Mount Disk” option. You should find the file transfer feature here (this is available only in the Expert edition).
  4. Once the app is open on Mac, click the “Add New” option in the left-side panel. Select your Android from the list of devices and connect your Mac with the Android. This is what your screen will look like at this stage:

  5. Connect Android to your Mac

  6. You can even connect your Mac and Android using the USB cable. After the device is connected, visit the “Summary” tab on your Mac and select the “Mount Disk Automatically” option. Here is how your screen should look like after you’ve completed this step:

  7. Mount Android as Mac disk

  8. Go to “Finder” and search for your Android device in the list of macOS disks. You can select the files and folders you wish to transfer and move across devices. This is what you should see on your screen:

Transfer data between Mac and Android using SyncMate

How to transfer photos from Android to macOS and vice versa

When it comes to performing a photo transfer from Android to Mac - just the simple transfer, not a full sync - you only need to know the following steps.

  1. Photos transfer can be done with “Mount Disk” feature offered by SyncMate Expert. Just connect your Android device to the Mac and then make sure that you enabled the “Mount Disk” option. That can be easily checked in the ‘Summary’ tab in SyncMate.
  2. On your Mac, access Finder and you will see the Android and all the files and folders on it.
  3. That’s it! You are now connected and you can easily drag and drop photos from Android to Mac or the other way around.
  4. In case you want to add a new folder on the Android device, you’ll be able to do so in Finder without the use of an extra app.

Also, in case you want to sync all the photos ( the difference between transferring a photo and syncing them is that with sync you get the photos on both devices), check out the Photos plugin that SyncMate offers.

How to transfer music from Mac to Android and vice versa

If instead of photos you need to transfer music from Mac to Android or the other way around, just follow the steps below:

  1. Open SyncMate and connect the Android smartphone to the Mac.
  2. Open the Summary tab in SyncMate Expert and make sure the ‘Mount disk’ feature is active for Android devices.
  3. Open Finder and the Android device should show in the list along with the Mac disks. Access the folder where your music is stored and just add music to your Android or from it to your Mac.
  4. Using Finder, you can create new folders directly on your Android device. Alternatively, SyncMate can also offer a sync music option that will sync the tracks on your Android device with the selected ones on your Mac. You won’t be using the Mount Disk feature for that. Instead, you should check the iTunes and Music plugins.

How to transfer files from Android to Mac

Finally, if you want to transfer files from Android to Mac, any other types of files than photos or music, you can do so by applying these steps.

  1. Run SyncMate and then plug-in your Android device.
  2. Check in the Summary tab of SyncMate that the ‘Mount Disk’ function is enabled.
  3. Next, open Finder on your Mac and you should be able to see the Android device in the list of available disks. Select the files you want to transfer and then move them around as needed.
  4. You can also move entire folders at once as simply as dragging and dropping it. Just as before, if you need to create a new folder, that’s possible directly from the Finder.

If you’d like to Sync folder as well, check out the Folder Plugin offered by SyncMate.

Our verdict: SyncMate goes far beyond just an Android file transfer for Mac alternative. It syncs absolutely all data across devices and acts as a versatile and reliable tool for both personal and business needs. In our book, SyncMate ranks Number 1 as the best Android file transfer for Mac.

3. MacDroid - connects your Mac and Android


MacDroid is a compact utility that builds a bridge between your Apple computer and an Android phone or tablet. With MacDroid you can access your Android files on Mac as if your phone is an external mountable drive. This Android file transfer app supports OS X Yosemite and newer Mac OS versions including Catalina.

MacDroid offers effortless connection and access to your Android content on Mac as well as smooth, fast, and trouble-free file transfer.

This app can transfer music, videos, images and other types of files between your computer and mobile device. You'll only need a USB cable - no extensions, drivers, or plugins are required.

How to transfer files between Mac and Android with MacDroid?

  1. Download the application and install it on your computer.
  2. Select one of the available connection modes - ADB or MTP.
  3. Depending on the mode you selected, follow the instructions in the app to connect your device.
  4. Start transferring files!

Users will definitely appreciate that this software allows mounting both internal and external storages of their Android devices as well as the ease of access and management of Android content directly in the Finder. A nice addition to a great list of MacDroid features is the support of all MTP devices, including portable media players, MP3 players, and digital cameras.

4. Commander One as Android File Transfer Mac replacement

The final Android file transfer Mac app under consideration is Commander One. This app mounts Android devices on Mac as extra hard drives, which can be used for file transfer & sharing. Not only does Commander One transfer files across devices, but it also enables file sharing from cloud-to-device and vice versa. This includes Dropbox and Google Drive.

This is how Commander One looks like when it’s installed on Mac:

Commander One as Android file transfer for Mac

How to transfer files to Android with the help of Commander One?

  1. Download the Commander One app from here. Launch it once it’s installed on your Mac.
  2. Connect Mac to your Android phone using a USB cable. Commander One will automatically recognize your Android device and show the files stored on the phone.
  3. Drag and drop the files as needed and transfer content across devices (the dual-pane interface makes this possible).

Our verdict: Users will truly appreciate the amount of flexibility that the Commander One Android file transfer Mac app offers. You can transfer data across a variety of Mac and Android computers, cameras, and smartphones using this app. Just mount the devices onto Mac and access all your content in a single place. There’s no need to switch between tabs or apps when you use Commander One for Android file transfer.

5. dr.fone - Transfer

Dr.fone - Transfer is another excellent example of an app that can help you forget all about Android File Transfer for Mac. As you may have already guessed, it allows users perform swift and trouble-free transfers between Android devices and Mac computers. The files dr.fone can handle vary from simple SMS and contacts all the way to music and photos and another plus is that the user interface is excellent. Using dr.fone, you will be done with transfers in no time thanks to its batch transfer function, making it an excellent solution for all Mac users with an Android smartphone.

6. Dukto R6

If you need to transfer files over a Local Area Network, Dukto R6 is the perfect solution. Not only that this app is available on Mac OS, Windows, Symbian and Android, but it is filled with features while maintaining a compact aspect. One could even say that it’s the perfect replica of the Android File Transfer Mac software. Without all the crashes, of course.

7. Droid NAS

Using Droid NAS you will easily move files between any Android device and your Mac computer. You only need a Wi-Fi connection and making sure the macOS version you’re running contains the Bonjour protocol. Simply connect both devices to the same wireless internet connection and you’re good to go. Update - even though it may seem that Droid NAS download isn’t working at the moment, we are sure it’s something temporary and such a great app deserves its place in our list.

8. MobiKin Assistant for Android

MobiKin Assistant for Android (Mac Version) is the Android File Transfer alternative that doesn’t just transfer all types of files between your Mac and any Android Device. You can use this software to move messages, contacts, photos, videos, books or notes. However, at the same time, you can perform a complete backup or restore the data on your phone with just a click.

9. AirDroid

Taking the title of mobile device management app, it is obvious right from the start that AirDroid means business. With it, you can easily move files and folders from your Android device to a Mac via Wi-Fi.It supports a multitude of operating systems like iOS, AirDroid Web or Windows and moving folders in batches is also possible, if needed.

10. HandShaker

Using a Wi-Fi connection, HandShaker does exactly what its name suggests. It makes two completely different Operating System shake hands and work together. With it, transferring any type of files and folders gets extremely easy. Just connect the two devices to the same Wi-Fi and you will get a high-speed transfer highway. This app is 100% free so you will be able to use it without any limitations, on any device.

11. Cloud storages

If none of the above-mentioned alternatives don’t exactly fit your needs, there’s always the option of using the cloud as a way to move files and folders from one device to another. Sure, it may not be as straightforward as the file transfer apps, however, if that’s your only option there’s nothing much you can do about it. Some of the most popular cloud apps used to store files and folders are Dropbox and SugarSync and we’re going to talk about both in the following sections.

Dropbox is around for a very long time and they established themselves as industry leaders. The main reason behind their popularity is the free cloud storage space they offer. Even more than that, allowing users without a Dropbox account to access data shared by those with an active account is another breakthrough. It adds a lot of flexibility to the entire process and made Dropbox the cloud storage of choice for many. Despite it’s not dedicated to any specific platform, you can easily use it to move files from an Android device to Mac. Just set up a Dropbox account, install it on both devices and then you will be able to use it for transferring any files. Keep in mind that syncing devices, like adding contacts or updating the calendar won’t be possible via Dropbox.

SugarSync offers a service that is very much similar to what Dropbox does. However, they are less successful because they started offering their services a couple of years after Dropbox.The cloud storage space provided by SugarSync can be used to move files and folders from an Android to your Mac computer and you can easily manage all the data on both devices as well. Not being a platform-orientated app, you can use SugarSync on any device with an internet connection.

How did we rate the apps?

Apple Inc. removed its content Sync feature from all devices a few years ago. After this, there were very few apps that offered users the option to transfer files between Mac and Android. The three Android file transfer for Mac apps we’ve reviewed in this article form part of this elite list. While each of the apps offers amazing features, the choice of which one to use depends on your specific needs.

Here are some factors you need to consider when choosing the app:

  • Functionality: The app you select must support numerous Android and Mac devices and must be designed to transfer all types of content like photos, contacts, documents, audio files, videos, GIFs and so on.

  • Flexibility: Data transfer entails many different things. Your Android file transfer Mac app should offer you a wide selection of data transfer options from simple sharing to comprehensive data syncing.

  • OS Support: The Android file transfer for Mac app you select should support the latest versions of Android and MacOS devices.

  • App lifecycle: The app you choose should be at the prime of its lifecycle and must be a recipient of the latest software & security updates, that is, it should not become obsolete a few months after purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Connecting an Android device to Mac via USB cable may seem a simple task until you find out that your phone isn’t recognized so easily by macOS as an external disc. For that, you should install some special piece of software, since there’s no native interface for android file transfer to Mac. Among third-party tools for android file transfer there are those that allow connecting Android wirelessly, as well as through USB, like Android File Transfer. The best option to deal with Android-to-Mac connection would be to obtain a reliable and full-featured tool like MacDroid which supports a wide range of Android and MTP devices.
Since macOS doesn’t natively detect Android devices, you need to obtain special software to move files from Android to Mac. Some users may also try alternative methods of files moving like using Google Drive or Dropbox, which however have storage space restrictions. When choosing an android file transfer app, Android owners often find out that not all types of devices are supported or that there are file transfer limitations. Listed among the best android file transfer Mac tools, MacDroid is a reliable way to move files and folders between the two. Besides, it supports virtually all Android phones and MTP devices, like web cams or PMP.
If you decide to mount Android as an external disk drive on MacBook to move files around, you'll be surprised it’s not a trivial task to accomplish. The majority of Android devices will require a special tool for android file transfer Mac. Surely you can try some other methods like ejecting Android SD card and inserting it into your MacBook’s card-reader or dropping files to online storage like Google Drive and then download them on macOS. But for more serious file management operations a third-party file transfer tool is always the way to go. MacDroid, for example, shows internal Android storage as a local one on your MacBook, so you can freely copy files and folders in both directions, as well as manage them right on Mac - edit, create, delete, etc.
Android File Transfer is the official app for Android-to-Mac connection developed by Google. It is often proposed as an easy way to move files between Android phones and Mac. However, this software has several drawbacks which you might not realize at a glance. Since Android File Transfer hasn’t been long updated, compatibility issues with various Android devices may arise. Besides, it’s a good choice only when you need to move not many files, as its file transfer is limited to 4 GB. MacDroid is listed among the best alternatives for android file transfer Mac since it doesn’t possess functionality restrictions and is fully Android and macOS compatible.
Given that activation of USB debugging is required for file transfers via USB, there’s always a risk that cybercriminals could steal personal data from your Android or install malware through a public charging station. So, just as a precaution, disable debug mode on your device once you've finished downloading files from it to your Mac. Moreover, though Android File Transfer may seem a nice basic tool for android file transfers to Mac, that’s not a reliable solution for more advanced purposes since it imposes certain usage limitations. Other solutions can become a decent substitute for Android File Transfer when speaking about safe and secure android file transfer Mac. For example, MacDroid outstands among the many ones for its compatibility with the latest versions of operating systems and quick transfer of files larger than 4 GB.
Though it may seem reasonable to use the only official android file transfer app provided by Google, the experienced user will quickly find out that Android File Transfer hasn’t been refurbished for long and is incompatible with certain versions of Android. Moreover, Android File Transfer may be hindered from proper functioning by some other apps installed either on your Android or Mac. Tired of the inoperability issues and multiple error messages, the users need a more reliable and stable tool to be called into play. For instance, MacDroid, highly-rated as a safe and comprehensive android file transfer Mac app, comes out fully functional on the latest Androids and Macs.
When searching for a safe and quick android file transfer app for day-to-day usage, it’s worth taking several criteria into account. The method used by the app to transfer files between Android and Mac is crucial, since sending files via Wi-Fi may be extremely time-taking. Moreover, the file transfer tool should possess not only the basics like just moving files around but the ability to manage them as well (edit, delete etc). MacDroid provides a simple and instant connection of Android to Mac via USB cable and uses both ADB and MTP protocols for android file transfer Mac. Now you can transfer multiple files in both directions without any data size limitations enforced by certain apps, like Android File Transfer. With MacDroid you can select between internal memory of the phone and its SD card, and edit Android files directly on Mac.
Thank you for reading. We hope this information helps you make an informed choice about your Android file transfer Mac app.
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