Tablets

Transfer files between your Android tablet and PC using Wi-Fi

Find out how to transfer files between your PC and Android tablet with the WiFi File Transfer application.

One of the issues I get hit with a lot is how to transfer files back and forth between a PC and a tablet. There are a few methods that I've previously discussed, but none are as versatile as using Wi-Fi and a browser. That's what you get when you add the simple-to-use WiFi File Transfer app to your tablet. With a wireless connection, you can transfer files from any machine (if it's on the same network). You can transfer from multiple machines and do so with the ease of a very well designed web-based interface.

Features

Here are some features that you'll find with WiFi File Transfer:

  • Upload or download multiple files at once
  • Upload entire folder structures (Google Chrome only)
  • Delete, rename, copy, zip, or unzip files
  • Password authentication
  • Shortcuts to photo, video, and music directories
  • Runs as a background service
  • View photos directly in your web browser
  • Autostart service when connected to home network (optional)
  • Access to external SD cards and USB storage devices
  • Supports hotspot mode

There are two version of the app: Free and Pro for $1.40 (USD). The only limitation of the free version is that you can't upload files larger than 5MB. If you have a need for larger file transfers, the price of the Pro version is well worth the cost.

What I really like about this tool is the ability to upload/download from any machine on your wireless network -- all from a browser. Let's find out just how easy it is to use.

Installation

As with any Android application, WiFi File Transfer can be installed with these simple steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "wifi file" (no quotes)
  3. Tap on the WiFi File Transfer entry (or the Pro version if you know that you want to purchase the software)
  4. Tap on the Install button
  5. Tap Accept

Once the installation is complete, you'll find the application in your app drawer (you might also find a launcher on the home screen). Tap the icon to begin using the application.

Usage

As I already mentioned, you must first make sure your device is connected to the same wireless network as the desktop machine(s) you wish to transfer files to/from. Once you have that taken care of, open the WiFi File Transfer tool and tap the Start button (Figure A) to start the file transferring service. Figure A

WiFi File Transfer running on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Note.
Once you tap the Start button, you'll be given the IP address and port that will allow you to connect through your desktop browser. Point any browser to this address:port combination (if the browser is on the same network as the wireless device), and you'll see the following handy web interface (Figure B). Figure B

WiFi File Transfer from within the Google Chrome browser.

The interface is set up with four main sections:

  • File browser: Where you can navigate your device file structure and download files
  • Media gallery: Where you can view a thumbnail gallery of your device's images
  • Device information: Get storage information of the device at a glance
  • Transfer files: Where you can transfer files and folders (Chrome only) to the device

To transfer a file to your device, follow these steps:

  1. Point your browser to the WiFi File Transfer web page
  2. Click the Select Files button under Transfer files to device
  3. In the file manager, locate the file to be uploaded and click Open
  4. Click Start upload from the main window
  5. Allow the upload to complete

To download files from your device, do the following:

  1. In the file browser, navigate to the location of the file
  2. Select the file(s) to be downloaded (Figure C)
  3. Click the Download button
  4. Select to download the files individually or as a zipped archive
  5. Allow the download to complete

Figure C

You can download as many files as you need.

If you want to download media, you can quickly download from the thumbnail gallery. Here's how:

  1. Click on the Media gallery tab
  2. Navigate to the file you want to download
  3. Click on the Download link (Figure D)

Figure D

You can also just view the file in the gallery by clicking the thumbnail image or the file name.

Password protection

Once your Android tablet is on the network, anyone who knows the password could add or remove files to that tablet -- but not if you password protect the WiFi File Transfer application. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the application
  2. Tap the Settings button
  3. Tap Access Password
  4. Enter a password to be used
  5. Tap OK

Now, when anyone points their browser to that address:port, they'll have to enter the password to gain access.

If you're looking for one of the best ways to transfer files to and from your Android tablet, look no further than WiFi File Transfer. Not only does it allow you to easily gain access to the files/folders on your tablet, it offers the simplicity of a web browser for the process of transferring that information. What method of file transfer do you prefer on your Android tablet? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

6 comments
Mikedoes
Mikedoes

Great article.  Android Data Transfer is another choice which lets you transfer files & data between Android and computer via USB or Wifi. Various data like Music, Movie, Photo, Playlist, Camera Roll, Ringtone, Message(SMS & MMS), Contact, Calendar, Call history, Bookmark etc are supported. Best luck!

rykellim
rykellim

"Wi-fi Direct" file transfers should be preferred over this "through-your-home-network" method and such basic and necessary functionality should be built in to all OSes for FREE. 

cynthia.cooks
cynthia.cooks

Nice review. 


I believe your mini tutorial is consistent with my experience using Wi-Fi File Transfer. I've equally tried many other browser-based Wi-Fi file transfer programs on Android with various degrees of success.  Recently though, I've found the following limitations with all these browser-based wi-fi file transfer programs: 


1.) I can't easily transfer folders. Some pictures in my PC are arranged in well defined folders. 


2.) I can't easily send files to multiple devices in my LAN. I sometimes want to send new pictures I take from my Galaxy S3 to two iPads at home. Mine and my wife's. Including my desktop.


3.) I can't easily do reverse transfers. Let me explain. Though I may be able to copy files from my Galaxy S3 to my iPad, I can't easily transfer from my iPad to my Galaxy S3! 


I found a much better alternative called "Feem Wi-Fi". Granted, I had to install Feem Wi-Fi on all devices in my LAN. But then, I don't have to retype any ip address anywhere.

jean.gerrekens
jean.gerrekens

Nice indeed, but I use AirDroid. It does file transfers and a lot more, such as redirecting the phone's camera, read and send text messages, view and update multimedia libraries. It works over a local WiFi network as well as over the internet (requires subscription). And it's free, at least for the time being.

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