Android smartphones take 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. This is where the PC comes in. Transferring photos from your Android phone to your desktop is simple and there are many ways to do it. If you need your photos immediately, the "hardwired" method is best. The second method is to set your phone to back up your photos over WiFi for easy access wherever you go.
Method 1: Transfer Android Photos to PC via USB Cable
Transferring via a cable 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 connect your phone to your computer. Generally, it's best to use the cable that came with your phone for charging. Unplug the standard USB-A connector (the larger side) from your power adapter and plug it into the port on your PC.
Once you've plugged your phone into your PC, make sure you've 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 your device's USB options. The process varies depending on your Android version. Here are some examples.
Transfer photos via USB on Android 10 and above
- Plug the phone's USB charging cable into your PC or laptop, then go to " Settings. » Press "Connected Devices" even though it shows Bluetooth underneath.
- Select «USB» from the menu.
- To choose “File Transfers” 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 File Browser. You will find your device listed on the left panel. If you are using a phone with internal memory and SD card, you will see two different systems to browse. On my PC, they are (helpfully) labeled "Phone" and "Card". I store my photos on my SD card, but you'll want to select this menu if you keep them on your phone.
Once you are in your phone's file system, you will need to find a folder labeled "DCIM" which stands for Digital Camera Images. This folder will contain all of your camera images, although it will not contain any other files, such as screenshots or downloads (usually these reside in folders labeled "Screenshots" and “Downloads”.
If you keep your photos on an SD card, you might find the folders in your phone's internal memory. 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 find the photo(s) (or if you want to copy everything to your PC), make your selections as you usually do and drag them to a folder or location on your PC (Photos, Desktop, Documents , etc)
Once you've dragged your files to your computer, they've been copied (not deleted or moved, just copied) from your phone to your PC, where you can edit or print them as you wish. This process takes time, depending on how many photos you copy (the more you copy, the more time you spend). Once you have completed the process of transferring your photos, you can unplug your phone. As with most modern smartphones, you don't need to eject your device to safely remove it. Just make sure your file transfer is complete before doing so.
Method 2: Transfer Android Photos to PC Using Google Photos
Aside from USB to PC file transfers, cloud storage does not require any connection, but it requires a little patience while transferring the photo to the PC. Of course, an Internet connection is essential. However, planned changes to Google Photos have changed the way the company treats your images. Towards the end of 2022, Google implemented a future change to the terms and conditions for personal cloud storage, reflecting the elimination of Google Photos' free/unlimited storage for images. This policy went into effect June 1, 2022, but all current images remain in Photos, unaffected by the new policy.
Understanding Google Photos quality options
Google offers two separate settings for uploading photos: Storage saver (formerly named High Quality) and Original quality.
About Google Photos Storage Saver
The "Storage saver" setting creates compressed copies of your files and saves them to your Google storage account (combined space from Drive, Photos, and a Google One subscription). These photos are resized to 16MP, which means most smartphone photos won't lose resolution or quality. Videos are compressed to 1080p (if recorded at a higher resolution, such as 4K) and retain their quality, despite the compression.
About the original quality of Google Photos
The “Original Quality” setting preserves your resolutions without any compression. If you are a professional photographer or need higher resolution images than 16MP, you can set Google Photos to upload your photos in original quality. These downloads use your Google storage space (15 GB free for Drive, Photos and Google One subscriptions). Every Google user gets 15GB of free Google storage, and Google One monthly plans increase storage limits from 100GB to 2TB. There are other storage options, but most users won't have need more than two terabytes of cloud capacity.
How to Use Google Photos to Transfer Pictures from Android to PC
For 95% of users, leaving Google Photos set to default settings and “Storage saver” option is enough. To transfer photos from Android to your PC using Gogole Photos, you upload them to your Google Storage account and then download them to your PC. It's a very simple process. As mentioned before, a little patience is required, but you can also speed up the process a bit. Here's what to 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.
- Launch « Google Photos » on your Android device. This step prompts Photos to automatically sync all new images to the cloud rather than waiting for it to decide to sync them in the background.
- Open your favorite browser on your PC and head to Google Photos. Sign in using the same Android account (if not already signed in) that has your photos.
- Find the images you want to transfer to your PC and click on each week, day or thumbnail "encircled tick". This step adds a check mark to each selected item. A simple click on an image opens it instead of selecting it.
- In the top right section of the page, click the "vertical ellipsis" (three vertical dots) and select " To download. »
- Your photos will now begin to download to your PC in a zipped file.
- Open the zipped folder to view the photos or move the folder wherever you want. You can also extract the images and place them in the folder of your choice.
Using Google Photos to transfer images from your Android device to your PC is quite simple. The patience required depends on the photos you want to transfer. There's no "Select All" option here, so you'll have to manually choose your images.
There is a second option in Google Photos called "Backup". Using the backup option downloads all the photos stored on your PC in one fell swoop. However, this option does not provide any way to adjust what is saved on your PC. You get all the pictures or none!
Method Three: Transfer Images to Amazon Photos
Amazon offers cloud storage for images, as does 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 have 5GB of space, which is less than Google Photos, including 15GB of storage. However, Amazon uses the cloud only for images, while Google uses Drive for all your data.
After the phone completes its initial backup (which I recommend doing overnight), there's not much to do. Amazon Photos is also a great way to manage your photos, edit them, and apply effects. If you're looking for a way to transfer your photos to your PC, you'll be happy to know that every image is available anytime on Amazon's web app.
If you need fast photo transfer, the USB to PC solution is the best. However, let's say you're looking for a photo backup solution or have 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 any screen that suits you.