Here are a few useful Android apps that let you transfer files, and sometimes even large files like movies, from one Android device to another. Earlier, we covered some Android apps that let you share Android clipboard with Win clipboard, and vice versa, but this time let’s take a look at the options we have to transfer files and folders.
Depending on your particular situation, you may use the apps you most likely already have. For example, if you need to transfer a few images or files between your own Android devices, you could use Google Drive, Dropbox or whatever cloud service you are using. If you would like to send a few images only to your friends, you could do so from WhatsApp, or simply connecting to the same Wi-Fi network by going to your Android Settings → Wireless Networks → Wi-Fi Direct. Note that both devices need to be connected to transfer files.
Bluetooth is another option many users have long forgotten how to use, but still, it is the first option you can use instantly, anywhere you are, provided the two devices are close by. Of course, this may not be the best option to transfer large files, but it’s worth a try. The downside of this option is that some devices no longer have Bluetooth.
Hence, comes the necessity to resort to an app, provided you do not wish or do not have a USB cable to connect to a PC and do the transfer that way.
Airdroid may work well for you if you are the owner of both devices. It’s dead simple and works like a charm. You need to install the Android app on both of your devices and create an account protected by a password. What I like about Airdroid is you do not need to install any Windows software, although there is one. You can simply open AirDroid in a browser, log in and manage the files between your two devices, and your PC for that matter.
You can transfer any file with the help of AirDroid and it can send them via WiFi or create a local connection between the devices. Apk files, images, large files, ringtones, clipboard snippets – whatever.
- Gets the job done
- Fast, free, efficient
- No technical hiccups
- Great cross-platform support
- If we’re talking about downloading a few images from your friend’s phone, and they don’t have it, setting up AirDroid might not be the best option for the hassle of downloading the app on both devices and needing a PC to manage them both from the browser
Filedrop – Pair and Share
You will need Wi-Fi to use Filedrop, and both devices need to be connected to the same network, but Filedrop makes it pretty streamlined to transfer large files. The app itself is quite lightweight, and lets you transfer files and even play remote slideshow of your images to your friend’s device. It also features a Mac and PC version to work with your desktop, too. We found this app to be a better alternative to the classic Bluetooth option since the transfer speeds are faster, which is especially noticeable when transferring large volumes of files. You will need to have both devices connected to the same network, and you will need to copy the files you wish to transfer into a specific share folder, and you can’t just share a file from any folder, which is one of the inconveniences. There seems to be an issue with the app not being able to download files directly to your SD card, which automatically puts restrictions on how much data you can download in one go to your internal storage, then transfer it to your SD card and go on with the next batch. Overall, it is not the most intuitive option, and some solutions could be improved, but it gets the job done and offers a cross-platform support.
- Gets the job done
- Has cross-platform support
- The app is lightweight
- Faster than Bluetooth
- Great for transferring large files
- The files need to be moved to the download folder of the app to be transferred
- The app does not download directly to your SD card, so you are limited by the storage you have available in your internal storage
- When in use, the app goes full screen, obstructing from view the notifications
- Needs both users to have the app and Wi-Fi
ES File Explorer File Manager
I have been using ES File Manager more than any other file manager for Android, but never thought of this option simply because there are so many function in the suite you can overlook some of them. ES File Explorer File Manager lets you send files to other Android devices, among the other nifty things it does like being the file and download manager, task killer, cloud storage client, FTP client and LAN Samba client. When in connection to other devices, it lets you see and transfer images, videos, documents and other file types among your Android devices, and your PC, too.
The app lets you tap into Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and EDGE to share your files with friends, and upload media content. Another advantage of this option is that many users already have this app installed, so chances are, if you and your friend have it, you can sort it out pretty fast. Besides, ES File Explorer supports all versions of Android, and if your friend sports an outdated device, you can use the Cupcake version for them. So, it can works as your FTP and WebDAV client, allowing you to manage and transfer files remotely via FTP, FTPS, SFTP and WebDAV servers, or Bluetooth file browsing.
The fast way is to go to ES file manager, find the file you wish to share, select it, tap the more button (the three vertical dots) and choose “send” option which has an icon of a smartphone with two arrows. This option will scan the available devices, so you can select the one you need and share the file.
- Gets the job done
- Versatile, free app
- No limitations, supports large number of file types
- Uses WiFi, 3G, 4G, FTP, WebDAV
- Requires both parties have the app installed, but provided the app is popular your friends may have it
If you haven’t used Total Commander, you haven’t used decent file managers then to the extent you should. It’s one of the best Windows file managers, and when its Android port hit the Google Play I was amazed at how fully-functional, versatile and fast it was. Total Commander is hands down my favorite file manager for Android, and it, too, offers a few options to transfer files between Android devices, among other awesome features.
One of the most professional and versatile file managers for Android, Total Commander lets you share files and folders via FTP and SFTP client, WebDAV (Web folders), LAN, cloud services, and Bluetooth. Its in-built media player lets you stream media files directly from LAN, cloud or WebDAV. Also, it is one of the easiest and intuitive apps, so get the FTP Plugin for Total Commander (does not work as a standalone app and needs Total Commander installed) or WiFi/WLAN Plugin for Totalcmd (can work as a standalone app and does not require a Total Commander installed). The latter lets you connect two Android devices over WiFi/WLAN and transfer files of any volume without going through the cloud – your data remains within the limits of your wireless LAN network.
Both devices need to be connected to the same WiFi network, though, or else the app will offer one of the devices should create its own access point or a WiFi Direct connection. Total Commander can also generate a QR code, so when you scan it the connection gets established automatically.
- One of the most professional and versatile file managers – fast, reliable, jam-packed with functionality and free
- Gets the job done
- Supports transferring any file types via WiFi, Bluetooth, FTP and WebDAV
- Intuitive and easy to get the hang of UI
- Non-savvy users may not want to try these waters
Snap Share – Offline Transfer
Cheetah Mobile is also one of my favorite developers with a portfolio of many fine Android apps, beating in functionality their rivals. Snap Share lest you share files via WiFi, or without it, which may come handy when you don’t have it. The trick is both you and your friend needs to have the app installed. Once you do, it is a pretty straightforward process -create an account, which takes less than half a minute, turn it on and let the app locate your friend’s device. It supports files of various types – images, videos, apps, music and others, and sports a speed much faster than that of Bluetooth. Of course, when it can use WiFi, it will, but when it’s unavailable it uses a self-created hotspot connection. One of its nifty features is you can share your files with a group of friends, provided you are close by.
There is also CM Transfer – Share files by the same developer, and at first I confused the two apps. Fact is the two apps basically do the same thing, but feature different UIs and an overall user experience, but both has very good Google Play ratings, so there is no reason not to try it, other than your friend does not wish to install an app to share the files.
- Gets the job done
- Creates a hotspot connection
- Works quite fast
- Simple in use, no expertise needed
- Both users need to have the app installed
- May not work for those old devices, which still need a Bluetooth-enabled counterpart to transfer files
Send Anywhere sports an excellent cross-platform support, and sends your files avoiding the cloud – peer-to-peer, in real time. The app does not require a sign up or log in, but generates a 6-digit key to pair the two devices. It supports files of any type (including apk) and size, even folders, and there is no limit to the amount of data you can transfer between the two devices. We like how the app lets you restrict your data to your local connection only, avoiding the cloud, and protecting the data with a key. The app also minds your privacy, so the two counterpart apps will not read each other’s devices’ personal data. Another great advantage of Send Anywhere is its support of Android and non-Android mobile platforms. It also offers a Chrome extension and is available as a web version accessible from any browser.
It works depending on your network options – P2P or direct relay server. A recent update brought a My Devices feature, which lets you manage remotely your Windows and Android devices registered with the service – access files and send them to another device. When using this feature, your recipient device does not even need to grant the accept permission, provided you are logged in to the same account.
- Gets the job done
- Is free and easy to use
- Supports many file types and sizes
- Lets you move folders
- Creates P2P connections or a direct relay server
- Lets you avoid the cloud
- Protects your private information
- Both parties need to have the app installed
SuperBeam | WiFi Direct Share
SuperBeam is quite a popular tool to share your files and folders with other Android devices, but its free version has some limitations and ads. It is specifically aimed at sharing large files using WiFi Direct. Users can pair the two devices using a QR code the app generates or NFC. It does not have the manual approve, which is nice and eliminates that extra step. Since it’s WiFi Direct, the transfer speeds are fast, and ta-dam! Your friend does not need to have this app to receive the files – they can download them through the web interface.
The app supports transferring files of many types, including apk and zip files, and keeps the history of transfers.
Besides these, SuperBeam sports a few extra bells and whistles, like different color themes, a Material design UI and the like cosmetic perks. Most importantly, however, is the received files are stored, again ta-dam! on your SD card, under “/sdcard/SuperBeam” directory.
If your device does not support WiFi Direct, SuperBeam switches to hotspot automatically, but if you have an available WiFi network , of course it will use that. The Pro version has more features, like the ability to send entire folders and more. Check out the Pro version here – at $0.99 it’s a bargain with that functionality.
- Gets the job done
- Versatile, reliable, has a free version
- Uses WiFi Direct, hotspot, or a WiFi network, if available
- Your friend does not need to have the app installed – they can receive the files via web interface
- Stores received files on your SD card
- No cloud in the middle
- The free app has ads and transfer limitations (mostly in the number of files you can receive via the web interface at a give period)
Developed by Lenovo, ShareIt has a few perks that might tip the weigh in its favor. First off, if you have the app and your friend doesn’t, you can push the app to their device and start the wireless connection to transfer all types of files, including the really large ones at pretty high speeds. The app creates its own hotspot, but if WiFi is available, it will use that. Another useful feature is ShareIt supports group sharing for up to 5 devices simultaneously. It offers an excellent cross-platform support and works with Android and iOS devices, as well as Win PCs.
- Gets the job done
- Easy to use, free, straightforward
- Uses hotspot, WiFi when available
- Transfers all types of files, even large one
- No limits, no ads
- Cross-platform support
- Group sharing with up to 5 users simultaneously
- Th app automatically finds friend devices
- Even if your friend does not have the app, your app will create a connection and you can send it to your friend’s device, which solves the Internet connection problem
- Not sure if it’s a bug, but users report the app won’t download any files when the download directory is changed to SD card
A simple and beautiful file sharing app, Fast File Transfer supports a large array of Android devices, even the pretty old ones, and offers a flexible, offline, cross-platform file transfer solution. It is impressively fast, with the transfer speed of up to 1GB per 4 minutes, and it lets users send multiple files and even zip folders. It uses WiFi Direct or Wifi Tethering, so it works with any WiFi-enabled devices, not requiring a WiFi connection. For faster receiving, it can create QR codes for the files.
It also has an option to use NFC for device pairing, and most importantly, it does not require the recipient to have the app installed. Finally, you can send to multiple devices simultaneously!
Fast File Transfer also comes with a Pro version, which lets you receive files from the devices that don’t have the app installed, and offers a few more bells and whistles.
The app lets you send a file to an iPhone from your Android device. Basically, any WiFi enabled device can receive from Fast File Sharing, like PlayStation 3 and 4, so the functionality seems very impressive. It is worth mentioning the app has a comprehensive tutorial, but is also quite accessible for novice users.
Another feature I liked is you do not need to copy files to any download folder, but just select them in your file explorer, choose “Send via” → Fast File Transfer and off they go.
- Gets the job done
- Versatile, free, accessible
- Sends to many Wi-Fi enabled devices – iOS, Windows, PS 3 and 4, you name it
- The recipient does not need to have the app installed
- Great for large files
- Uses Wifi Tethering or WiFi Direct
- High speed
- Supports group transferring with multiple devices simultaneously
- None so far
It is really hard to recommend one particular app from the list – they all have their perks. Moreover, there are many fine apps on the play store we haven’t mentioned, so the options look quite good – whoever is looking will find a way. Feel free to list your app suggestions in the comments below, or join our Forums for a discussion.