Best Android apps for transferring files over WiFi [June 2013]

android-wifi-files

Recently, we did a guide on how to move files onto your Android device without using cables. We had quite a bit of feedback on what apps you thought were best suited to file transferring, so in this guide, we’re going to narrow down the topic and talk about the best apps for moving files from your PC to your Android device (and vice versa) through a WiFi network.

AirDroid

AirDroid was one of the most recommended apps for moving files across networks, and for good reason. AirDroid comes fully equipped to essentially use your phone without actually touching your phone and isn’t just limited to file transfers.

The initial set-up and connection is simple: when you first run the app from your phone, you’ll be asked to either sign in or register. You can use your email as a primary sign-in option or use a convenient Google, Facebook or Twitter alternate sign-in instead. After that initial set up, you’ll have a screen that shows two links to go to on your desktop: the AirDroid site for accessing your device over a same WiFi network or a specific IP address for accessing it remotely. For the sake of this guide, we’re mostly going to discuss being able to transfer files through WiFi, but if you ever need remote access away from home, AirDroid has you covered (although it does cap you at a 500 MB monthly limit of transfers).

Over WiFi though, there’s no limit to the amount of files you can transfer. AirDroid supports moving files from your PC onto your phone’s internal storage or SD card, but can also pull music, photos, ringtones, or anything else off of your device onto your PC. The speed is dependent on your router, but for most file transfers, it’s much quicker than going through the internet as a middleman.

At some points, it almost seems like AirDroid does too much. Your web browser page turns into a mini-homescreen for your device where you can text, play music, change ringtones, and even make phone calls (Phone calls require a premium key). From your computer, you can add shortcuts to specific contacts, upload files onto your device from web URLs,  and take screenshots of your phone’s display. It’s ridiculously powerful, incredibly well designed, and for WiFi transfers, it’s free. For a well-rounded utility app, AirDroid is hard to beat, especially for how easy it is to set up.

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Play Store Download Link

Wifi file explorer

WiFi File Explorer is similar to AirDroid with its network transferring capabilities, but it lacks all the other bells and whistles that AirDroid has. On one hand, it can be tough to recommend WiFi File Explorer over AirDroid because it lacks those features, but if you’re just looking for a light application to handle moving some songs and photos onto your device without all the extra fluff, WiFi File Explorer is arguably the better app.

Similar to AirDroid, after installing the application, it gives you an IP address to connect to on your computer’s web browser. This gives you full access to the files on your device, including internal memory and the SD card. From here, it’s easy to copy pictures from your phone to your computer, or move some music from your computer onto your device. There’s also a few small gauges to give you an idea of things like your WiFi strength and free space on your phone. Best of all, the app runs as a service, so you can keep doing anything else on your phone while files transfer.

There is a free and pro version of WiFi File Explorer, with the Pro version adding a handful of extra, handy features like copying multiple files at the same time.

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Play Store Download Link (Free)

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Play Store Download Link (Pro)

solid explorer

When thinking about transferring files to your device, file explorers aren’t generally the first things to come to mind, but some file explorer apps do support file browsing on a local network. Apps that do this basically allow you to browse your computer’s hard drive across a WiFi network as if it was an extra SD card in your phone, which is extremely quick and convenient.

Solid Explorer is one such file explorer that allows network connections by using an FTP connection. In SE’s menu, there’s a file sharing option. Selecting that will allow you to set up an FTP server and give you a corresponding address to connect to in either a web browser or a file explorer on your computer. The cool thing about that type of connection is that you can set up a bookmark in Windows Explorer that always connects to that one connection, so you can always access your phone’s storage just like you would access a music folder on your hard drive. It isn’t as pretty and it isn’t as simple, but if you want something that integrates into your existing PC setup, using Solid Explorer as an FTP connection on your WiFi network is an excellent option.

Solid Explorer isn’t the only option in the Play Store, but it scores some extra points for its root capabilities, holo theme, and the awesome dual-panel view when using the app in landscape orientation. The free application gives you a 14 day trial, but the app is only $1.99. It’s an excellent deal for a powerful file explorer.

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Play Store Download Link (Free)

es file explorer

Sometimes, you’re not going to want to use your PC to do all of your file management. For moving files onto your device using your phone as opposed to your computer, ES File Explorer has a relatively easy to set up feature that will allow you to browse your computer’s hard drive directly from your phone.

Setting up this type of connection is pretty quick, but it’s not automated. First off, you’re going to need to find the IP address on your computer. There’s a handful of ways to do this, but on Windows, the easiest way would be to go to your Network and Sharing Center, clicking your current network, then click the Properties button on the box that pops up. It’ll show a list of properties about your current network, but all you need is the IPv4 address that’s listed. Then, on ES File Explorer, you can tap the fast access button on the top left of the app, then select LAN connection from the Network drop down list. Tap the New button on the bottom left, type in your IP address from earlier in the Server box, then your PC’s user name and password. Click okay, and voila; instant access to any file on your computer hard drive. You can copy and move things around between your PC and your phone’s memory or SD card. ES will also make a shortcut that you can name to have quick access to your PC in the future.

The biggest advantage to using ES File Explorer like this is that you’ll be able to manage PC files from your phone instead of managing your phone’s files from your PC. Generally, most users would need to have access to their PC to get files moved around anyway, but in a pinch, ES is extremely useful to have.

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Play Store Download Link

samba_logo

Setting up a Samba server was one of the methods of file transferring we went over in our earlier guide, and compared to some of the other items on this list, it does have some advantages.

Samba Filesharing is the best app to set up a dedicated server on your phone, but it does require root to fully function. If your device is rooted, this app is worth a look. Samba Filesharing can be set to automatically run whenever your device is connected to a WiFi network, (or a particular WiFi network, if you only want it to run on your home network for security) so you can set it and forget it. Once it’s running, you can access your Android device like any other network drive. It’s extremely simple but still has plenty of power-user functions, such as WiFi white listing, web browser and Unix support if you’re using something like a Chromebook instead of a traditional Windows computer, and a handful of other features. Overall, the app is very simple and won’t bog you down in menus and settings to get up and running.

Samba Filesharing is available as a free app.

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Play Store Download Link

Did we miss any of your favorite apps for moving your files across a WiFi network? Let us know in the comments.

» See more articles by Jared Peters


  • http://www.worldintouch.com/ Benjamin Morris

    My favorite method has always been SwiFTP + Filezilla. Simple, easy, convenient, free.

    • jehd

      nice.., its so easy.. thanks for sharing bro..

  • Kary

    Not quite the same thing, but for files on want access to on my phone I use Dropbox because they’re available without taking up space, and it also transfers photos from my phone to Dropbox. I don’t think I’ve had any file transfer needs beyond that.

  • sjpn

    try super beam. it sets up a wifi direct connection b/w two android devices and a qr code for them to connect. it is very fast.

    • ddh819

      thx i was about to ask for something to use to xfer files between a phone and a tablet

  • phor11

    If you just need to get files from your computer to your phone, it doesn’t get any easier than Awesome Drop.
    http://labs.dashwire.com/drop/android

    • crhylove

      “We use html5″ Won’t load on computer without Adobe… LOL

      • Tom

        What does HTML5 have to do with Adobe???

  • inthepit

    how about SwiFTP? turns your android into an ftp server, you can connect to it from pretty much anything.

  • Andrei Bacalu

    I use Polkast and/or OneMediaHub(for cloud especially) :)

  • Arumes

    I already have an FTP-server and a dynamic DNS-service on my desktop, so I use an FTP-client (AndFTP) on my phone. That way I can access and transfer all my files constantly, even when I don’t have physical access to the computer.

  • yeahman45

    i use superbeam and it works pretty good… and i use es explorer(and previously andsmb) for samba sharing

  • xlc

    Does anyone have a suggestion to sync files between PC and Android device? I don’t have administrator privileges in the PC so I was planning to use a WiFi transfer app. The problem is that none of them support directories synchronization.

  • raycee63

    So many of these programs are too difficult to set up and use by non-techie users, who are the majority by the way, what is needed is a simple foolproof app, that, dare I use the quote “It just works”. Most of us smartphone users have no knowledge of “FTP” servers, “Filezilla’s and dynamic DNS servers, we just want something easy to set up (download an app) and then use. Its a lot like the process of “Rooting” your phone that many users say is simple and easy and foolproof – if that is so, why is there no commercial service to provide this for non-techies, obviously there is no-one confident enough to do this for us. I have tried Airdroid and a couple of other apps but always seem to have problems with them “just working” each and every time I do so. Am I the only smartphone user out there that feels the same?

    • Annihlator

      I think it’s damn righteous that these tools need knowledge. simple for if we would allow every other common user to use such ways of transfer as oftenly described in this article (basically by opening it up as a server) it will introduce very, very many aggravating security issues in the end dragging down the quality of the app for the user who actually has enough relative skill to use it.

      If you don’t know how to set this up, there’s a reason you need the f-in cable for your own safety.

      • raycee63

        Wrong !!! In this tech age the average user shouldn’t need technical knowledge to be able to transfer their own data from one of their devices to another of their devices (be it a laptop,desktop,tablet or smartphone)and dont suggest using dropbox or similar as unless you live work and play in a major city, wifi and data is too unreliable to rely on. And I will say it again, where are all the outlets that will root your phone with a guarantee of no problems??? So much for skilled users vs newbies.

        • Cynthia Cooks

          Have you tried Feem WiFi ? No IP address to remember. No skills necessary. Just painless local file transfers.

  • cez

    wow airdroid is so smooth fast and actually works looks classy as hell too!!!!
    yehh id say airdroid used the first and havent been dissapointed!!

    • Cynthia Cooks

      I was disappointed I couldn’t use airdroid to send pictures from my Nexus 4 to my two Linux PCs at home. I started searching for alternatives, and stumbled upon Feem WiFi. Feem worked like a charm.

  • Robert Makela

    You can’t go wrong with ES File Explorer. Although some basic computer skills are necessary to really get the most out of it. I use it to manage and move all of my various files between all of my devices, as well as a few of my friends’ as well. It is not just limited to wifi either. It will use what ever connections are available to your device (such as blue tooth, nfc, ftp, and I think even Allshare and Miracast).

    Add to that a few hundred gigs across a number of different cloud services (it works with pretty much all of them) and I really couldn’t ask for much more. But that doesn’t matter, because it does much, much more anyways! This app more than any other is why my Tablet has become my primary device (TV and home theatre controls don’t hurt either, not part of ES though) relegating my PC to mainly backup storage for my media collections.

    • Constant Gardener

      I cannot set access LAN on my phone with ES File Explorer, even when I add the IP address manually.

      • dean

        you probably need to set up homegroup and file sharing on you pc. easiest way is right click folder you want to share then share tab then share with homegroup

  • raycee63

    Just tried AirDroid again, uninstalled as tried to play movies off the mobile but only allows that if you have Quicktime from Apple installed. Don’t want any Apple products infecting my tech !! Until they can make use of other video players, forget using Airdroid!

    • Xileer

      Use MX Player to watch, and AirDroid to transfer…

  • FritzPinguin

    If you mention Solid Explorer, don’t forget it will connect using FTP, SFTP, Samba, WebDav as well as cloud storage like Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Google Drive and so on. For me, it is my favorite tool. And it is fast!

  • Marrakech

    Airstream is the best to copy movies from you computer to your phone (control from phone) as well as WATCHING them streaming from you computer to you phone.
    Berber

  • Yosef

    I use DroidXplorer, practically no setup and a minimalistic user interface.

    • http://www.techzost.com/ Ramakrishna Siripuram

      I to use DroidXplorer. It is the best with all tools

  • Uroš

    I like solid explorer but fylet is much simpler. It automatically transfers photos from your phone to your pc. All you need to do is to desktop version on windows pc and android version on your phone. No hassle.

  • sigsens

    I use HitcherNet to move video/image files. Still in beta but works well. Only uses wifi direct, so its “off network” which is cool in itself. Devices being supported are fairly limited (because only uses wifi direct).

  • Ninad Sheth

    Try Software Data Cable , its free , fast and works on almost all devices

  • Zeros

    I use 7zipper or Software Data Cable. Depending on which one is closer to my finger :).

    • Zeros

      Forgot to say I also used ES File Explorer, it’s just as good. Only limitation being the sd card’s speed. :(

  • Sayan Dasgupta

    i use wifi file transfer pro.. It is simply awsome

  • marinildac

    Tudo isso é antigão, Nada se compara ao Filedrop, para PC-iPad.

    • Ark

      WRONG.

      Filedrop, which is available for Android, is a shitty way to transfer big files. For small files, there’s no reason not to use the dropbox standard UI.

      Oops, agora em português. Filedrop é péssimo pra transferir arquivos grandes.

      • marinildac

        Negativo, não tem para Android. O Filedrop que aparece na Play Store nada tem a ver com o Filedrop que uso no iPad. E pelo que vc diz, vc não conhece o Filedrop. Nada a ver com pastas etc. OLhe só: https://www.facebook.com/Filedrop

  • Siddarudh sinal

    Hello all,

    I have been using “Super beem” and its just awesome you can transfer file up to 25mbps. It is must have app for every android phone to transfer files. try it and i am sure you will definitely advise others also to have the same one….

  • Leonardo

    The best way to share files between your pc and your android device is to install “FTPServer” on your android device (you create a FTP server here in less than a minute), and install any FTP client on your pc like “WS FTP Pro”. Then type here the address, username and password provided by the server, and viola! You have the best protocol to transfer files over the wifi or ethernet, at high speed, free, and without the use of internet nor any account!

    • http://www.shonu916.blogspot.com Shonu

      if its via wi fi.. then how you can say that it is without internet ?? please clarify your points….

      • Xileer

        You do realise that you can use WiFi without having internet… ?

        • Joshua Clark

          I don’t think SHONU understood the point that you don’t need a 3G internet connection. You can transfer over Wi-Fi which is just a LAN (Local Area Connection) for example.

          • Xileer

            The annoyingly common misconception that WiFi = Internet :(

            • Joshua Clark

              It’s all good, and it’s a common misconception that people often misunderstand. Before the internet even existed there were local networks connecting workstations together but that doesn’t mean it’s an internet connection.

            • http://www.shonu916.blogspot.com Shonu

              thanks.. i transferred about 1 GB data from my phone to PC, via Wifi file transfer.. it took only seconds. As the broadband plan was unlimited i couldny assume whether it was part of data plan or not ?? btw Thanks for helping me.. One more doubt Is wireless file transfer possible without WI FI ??

            • Joshua Clark

              To use 3G, 4G, ETC., Google drive is the best for that kind of transfer in my opinion but just remember that this will use your data plan.

            • dean

              you really need to understand basic networking concepts, wi fi does not mean internet,not anywhere in the world, when they say wifi connection that means you can connect to their LOCAL wireless network (not internet as its local). it just so happens that obviously the main use of this is to then route you onto the WAN/internet using their internet provider.

            • Angelina Khong

              Outside of North America, in Europe, Asia, India and some other place, WiFi means Internet.

            • Xileer

              And the entire content of Africa where I live…

            • hrrmph

              WiFi is a network technology that designates both the hardware (radios) and transmission protocols (language) needed to pass information back and forth between computing devices (phones, tablets, PCs, etc). It is sold as a means to enable a wireless local area network (WLAN) in a particular physical zone (like your home or in a merchant’s store). That WLAN network might be connected to the internet (which is a broader network). Or it might not be.

              Merchants have wrongly been advertising “WiFi” when they really mean “wireless internet access that is carried over a WiFi / WLAN network.”

              “WiFi” is definitely more fun to say. Out in public it is well understood the world over to mean that you will get internet.

              WiFi is also a very suitable technology for those of us who setup networks at home and in small businesses for the purpose of sharing, moving, and copying files, as well as for various other tasks. Many of these other uses for WiFi have nothing to do with the internet, although most people will connect their WiFi network to the internet also.

              So at home and in small business, “WiFi” often means a very useful wireless local area network (WLAN) that can be used to do a variety of computer networking tasks. And once you get bored using it for all that other stuff…

              … you might even surf the internet with it.

            • Dexter

              Lolz…..not really :P

            • Angelina Khong

              Lolz…. yeah.

              Go to India or Romania or Uruguay and use the word
              “internet”, more than half the people will look at you with a blank
              expression on their face. Then say “Wifi” and they all light up with
              understanding.

              I’ve been to 38 countries on 6 continents, I think I know
              the term regular people use to describe Internet access…. dumbass….

  • msitekkie

    you missed the best app of all X-plore. Tree view, dual pane, browse LAN,Dropbox access and more. First rate!

    • PotatoCabbageBacon

      Just checked it out and it’s amazing! Thank you.

  • Cynthia Cooks

    For me, Feem Wifi has been the best android app for transferring files over wifi. No IP address to remember. Fast speeds, and two way transfers. Ah one more thing. With Feem Wifi, I could easily transfer files and folders from my iPad to my Nexus 4. Something Airdroid couldn’t do.

  • newbie

    when I am 500 miles away and take a pic, I want my android to use wifi and internet to sent the photo to my home PC…I do NOT want to sent thru some 3rd party servers, even free….no google drive…no cloud….and low cost….thanks

    • hooka

      No third party servers? I’m not sure you have a good grasp of how the interwebs works….

      • Warp 9

        3rd party routers are part of the internet. 3rd party servers are optional, not mandatory, so OP is correct on that, not you. To avoid man in the middle attacks, you use secure connections which require validation. It’s trivial to set up servers on your home device. it’s trivial to port forward through home router. It’s trivial to set up dynamic DNS, so your dynamically-assigned “home” device (be it DSL/Cable/Fiber/WiFi/Mobile/etc) can be associated with a host name. And bingo, you are your own 3rd party server.

        To the OP, Samba is probably one of the better ways to go, if you need to talk to any windows device, or want compatibility with typical NAS storage devices, etc. Samba over a TLS or SSL would be better. Or an FTPS server probably even better still in some cases. But if you think you can achieve customized, sophisticated solutions without knowledge or experience or root shells, sir, then you also need to pull your head out of your ass. Just saying.

        But you are right in stating that the Android platform needs a networked file manager capable of securely transferring files. The current situation is FUCKING PATHETIC. They almost seem to want everyone to put their files on 3rd party servers, maybe they get a major kickback in revenues. And most of those lengthy terms of service and privacy agreements specifically require you to surrender all rights of ownership of the contents of all your files, leaving them open to the company to scan, report to others, censor, sanction, or steal any original works.

    • Ted

      You should use splashtop an app available at play store u can even access you computer through it

  • Snarky Cosmos

    OK, I’m going to go on a rant here.
    I’ve been using computers since 1979, so I’m quite comfortable around tech; therefore I finally gave in and got an Android Sony Xperia smartphone late last year. I refuse to use any rotten Crapple products (e.g. MAC, iPhone, iPad, etc).
    The Sony does what I want, except file management sucks. Using the USB cable is the most reliable method and I can use Windows Explorer (YAY!); but since Google updated the OS to whatever sweet-treat codename du jour the USB connection now has a nasty habit of locking my Win 7 PC up hard requiring a cold boot. Sony put a Wi-Fi app on the phone that lets me use Windows Explorer on my PC…once again this is great on the extremely rare occasions the phone and PC link up.
    So I tried Google Drive next and it is the most cumbersome of the three methods I can get to work. Then I ordered an IOGear Bluetooth dongle for the PC and the included software will only let me upload files to the phone…GRRRR! So for file management Bluetooth is as worthless as tits on a log.
    Then I tried Airdroid and a couple of others, and I thought Airdroid was going to be my salvation. Wrong, the damn connection keeps dropping and my phone is less than 4′ from my router.
    Then I saw Samba mentioned as I forgot about it since I haven’t been around UNIX machines in about 15-years. That looked promising until all the Samba apps out there require rooting the phone. Excuse the hell out of me; but for the inexperienced person out there, fooling around in the root of a UNIX/LINUX machine can be just as disastrous as monkeying around with the registry in Windows. Lots of Bad Juju can happen if you or the app writer doesn’t know what they are doing. So Samba based apps are out, and I’ll look into some of the apps mentioned above and in the replies.
    In closing…GOOGLE, PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND INCLUDE FILE MANAGEMENT WITH ANDROID! FILE MANAGEMENT SHOULD BE PART OF ANY OS!

    • Andries (IT Pensioner)

      Hi Snarky Cosmos, Ive posted a comment on the same page today to put an end to your ranting! It is still up for moderation but will hopefully be published soon.
      In short: The solution is SHAREit from Lenovo. Download, install and enjoy!

      • Snarky Cosmos

        Thanks; but I ended up with Software Data Cable that sets up the phone as an FTP server. Works perfectly.

  • disqus_IPpDBClDs5

    Bittorrent Sync is what you want. It’s so, so epic.

  • Mark

    I have an external SD card on my tablet, and I use ES File Explorer. It does not find the external SD card if I use wifi, but it works if I use the native app (not connected to the PC). Is there a way for the PC to see the SD card if I use ESFE with wifi?

  • Alex

    I used to take Web PC Suite for wireless file transfer. Now I have another option. THX!

  • Guest 123456789

    This app is awesome, transfer speed is amazing over wifi! Thanks for Sharing…

  • socilasatelite

    How about wifi and your done instead of yet again signing up for some bs app that spies on me instead of doing over wifi like a white man would ..fix it

  • JFK