Fastest Ways to Transfer Files Between PCs and Mobile Devices

Gone are the days when you had to go through the tedious job of splitting files and copying them onto physical discs in order to move them from one computer to another.

Transferring files is as fast and easy today as it ever was, but even so there probably are those among you who could use some tips on how to speed things up a bit and generally streamline the process.

For those in this situation, here is a guide you’ll definitely find very useful!

Transferring files between Windows and Windows

The optimal way of going about transferring files between devices running Windows depends on the frequency with which you intend to make those transfers.

For rare occurrences, look no further than your trusty Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct connection.

In order to use Bluetooth, both computers involved need to be Bluetooth-compatible. Wi-Fi Direct works in a similar way, but is much faster due to fact that (as its name suggests) it operates via Wi-Fi.

The downside is that this type of connection isn’t as widely available as Bluetooth.

If, on the other hand, you plan to send a lot of files with some regularity over a longer period of time, the easiest thing to do is set up a shared folder or shared external drive on the network.

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Other computers will instantly have access to any files you’ve made available in this way.

Transferring files between Windows and non-Windows PCs

While Windows is still by far the most popular operating system for PCs, it’s still quite likely to have to deal with computers running the Mac OS or Linux.

Things tend to get a bit more complicated when trying to transfer files from one computer to another in such cases, since each system has its own method of storing file data called a file system.

Windows mostly uses NTSF, while Mac has gone for HSF Plus, and Linux for EXT*.

Luckily, OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) offers Mac users the ability to read and write in the NTFS format (check out this guide for more detailed instructions).

For Windows to Linux transfers, you’ll have to set up a folder for the other computer to access, but also to install cifs-utils (to be able to access Windows folders from Linux) and samba (to see Linux folders from Windows).

Transferring files between Windows and iOS


For the most part, transferring files between Windows and iOS could be handled through iTunes. However the iTunes synchronization feature isn’t quite as straightforward when used on Windows, so you’ll appreciate learning about a better way to do this.

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FileApp, available for both iPhones and iPads, is an app you can use as a mobile device manager, meaning you can easily browse and open any files on your device.

It is compatible with all the popular formats, including PDF, DOC, XLS, and PPT, and can even be used to share files over a Wi-Fi connection (basically turning your device into an FTP server).

Transferring files between Windows and Android

Just like FileApp for iOS can turn your device into an FTP server, there are similar apps which do this for Android. This means that, whenever the server is on, any computer can connect and browse the Android device, and download whatever files they need.

A great app to do this is My FTP Server, a simple, yet functional solution for those who need to quickly transfer files between devices.

If you just want to send individual files, and not necessarily turn your smartphone into a file server, try using something like PushBullet or AirDroid.

But perhaps the most straightforward way to go about things is by plugging your device into the computer using the USB cable and transferring files that way.

Cross-platform transfer methods


If you’re looking for more ways of transferring files between devices, you can also use a variety of services which work regardless of the devices you want to connect.

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You can use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, an email file transfer service like FileMail, or a cross-platform direct transfer app like Feem.

This last app deserves a closer look, since it available on virtually all platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows Tablets) and allows you to directly transfer files over a Wi-Fi connection, provided both devices have the program installed.

Although it is free to download, Feem is ad-supported, but if you want to remove the ads all you have to do is buy a license for the app (which amounts to a few dollars, depending on the platform).

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