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How To's
How to Transfer Files and Music to an Android Phone Using USB

Wirefly Learn » How To's

November 20th, 2009


So you’ve plugged your USB to microUSB cable into your computer and Android phone and are ready to start downloading files. Staring intently at your screen, you wait for a drive, a window — something, anything — where you can drag-and-drop your files, but it just doesn’t come. Well, chances are, you are missing one simple yet critical but step. Here’s how to transfer files to your Android phone:

  1. Connect your Android phone to your computer using the microUSB to USB cable.
  2. If you are using a PC, you will see an installation bubble pop up in the bottom right of your screen. Wait for the computer to successfully complete installation.
  3. The critical step: On your Android phone, pull down the notification window (aka ‘window shade’) and tap USB connected.
  4. A notification window will appear. Tap Mount. Your phone will enter USB storage mode.
  5. Find the removable storage drive. On a PC, navigate to My Computer and look for a new removable storage drive. On a Mac, the drive will appear on your desktop.
  6. Drag-and-drop the desired file(s) to the drive.
  7. In your phone’s notification window, tap Turn off USB storage.
  8. Unplug your phone and you’re all set.

Check out more guides in the Wirefly Guides section.

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Related posts:

  1. How To Transfer Files With Bluetooth Using a BlackBerry
  2. How to Download Music to your Cell Phone for Free
  3. Transfer Contacts To A New Phone
  4. How to transfer pictures to and from a BlackBerry on Mac or PC

141 Responses to “How to Transfer Files and Music to an Android Phone Using USB”

  • Hi, I have the samsung galaxy S vibrant (on T-mobile) and I can get through step 4 but the device never shows up on my devices with removable storage list on my pc. Any ideas of what I might do to fix this?
    Thanks a bunch,

    • Kevin, I use a very similar phone, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G. When I plug it into a computer, it comes up with a display that shows three gray buttons:

      1. Samsung Kies
      2. Media Player
      3. Mass storage

      If you get the same, touch the “Mass storage” button.

      The phone then goes to the main display, then it should flash to a screen that shows the little green Android figure with a gray button that says “Connect storage to PC.” Touch that button.

      It then pops up a dialog box that says “Connect storage to PC,” which is basically an “Are you sure you want to do this?” warning. Touch “OK” and it is now connected as an external drive. It might take your computer a few seconds to recognize it, but you can eventually open Windows Explorer and see the phone as an external drive. On my computer, it comes up as “Removeable Disk (Q:)”.

      Touch the gray “Disconnect storage from PC” button when you are done.

      If this does not work for you, take your phone (and your computer, if it is a laptop) to a T-Mobile store to have someone there look at it.

      Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • GHorvath
    March 5, 2012

    I have Samsung Exhibit II with 4G. I am trying to get JuiceDefender get into this phone. Please tell me the step by step. Many Thanks

    • GHorvath, here are the steps:

      1. Touch the “Android Market” icon on your phone. Log onto the Android Market with any Google account log-on that you have.

      2. Search the Android Market for JuiceDefender.

      3. Once the Market locates JuiceDefender, touch the “Download” button.

      4. Touch the “Accept & Download” button

      That will load JuiceDefender to your phone. Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • Ok I have yet to see the connected to USB notification : ( I know you said to go to my settings and then SD card and phone storage . . . . but then what ?? I also tried to Unmount SD Card , but still no luck . All I want is to put my music from my Dell Latitude D620 , to my Samsung Android . I hope some one can help .

    • Niyla, exactly what phone do you have? Let me know and I will try to give you specific steps — these procedures vary from model to model.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • I just purchased a Samsung Prevail Android for Boost Mobile.. since this article is a few years old, are the steps the same? This will be my first encounter with an Android phone

    • RG, the steps actually vary with different Android phones, and this short article is accurate in a generic way. It should be pretty close to what you need to do on the Samsung Prevail. As this article states, Samsung Android phones usually require that you make a selection to turn on the USB storage. If that doesn’t automatically pop up on your phone’s display, you will have to to into the phones settings to make the selection.

      I’ve not used the Prevail, so I can’t say from first-hand experience how it will work. But the first step is to plug it into the computer and see if you get a pop-up on the phone to connect via USB. Some Samsung phones today do exactly that.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • is there anyway for me to just put my music on the phone and not sync all of my wife’s crappy music with it? I wanted to put my 3 albums that I have on the phone and now I have 5 of my wife’s albums on my phone.

    • Daniel, every Android phone that I’ve put music on (and that’s several) let me drag-and-drop the music that I wanted. I did not have to sync the music files.

      If you have an Android phone, plug it into a USB port on your computer. You may have a pop-up on the phone’s display asking how you want to connect, and you may get choices for syncing or to connect as an external drive. Choose “external drive” and use Windows to drag-and-drop the songs you want into the Music folder on the phone. It’s really easy.

      If you don’t have an Android phone, then you’ll probably need to study the manual for that phone to figure it out. I’m pretty sure you can drag-and-drop music files onto an iPhone as well, but I have practically no experience with Blackberry phones and “messaging” phones.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • My usb is broken and it came with the charger and the only way to get another charger like that is to buy another phone.

  • blackie black
    February 6, 2012

    No installation
    bubble appears on my pc after connecting the USB cable, hence no USB connected appears on the android, any tips ?

    • Blackie, can you try a different USB cable to connect your phone? Maybe you can borrow one from a neighbor or friend for a few minutes, long enough to test if your cable is bad. You can also try plugging your phone (with your cable) into a friend’s computer. If that works, then your computer (or the USB port you’re using) has a problem with your phone. If it doesn’t work on a friend’s computer, then the problem is in your phone or USB cable. Borrowing a USB cable will either confirm that the cable is good or show that it’s bad, depending on your results.

      Hope that helps!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • Thank you ……… Thank you ………… Thank *&^%$ You !!!

    You’ve just made my life SOOOO much easier. Appreciate it :)

  • Thanx bob for your reply. my phone is the samsung android SCH-R720

    • JJ, what happens when you plug your phone into your computer? What happens on the computer? What happens on the phone? You can try the steps I suggested in my earlier comment and that might work for your Samsung phone. You could also try taking it to a metroPCS or Cricket store (I don’t know which service you have) and ask someone for help. If you have a laptop computer, taking that with you would be a big help.

      Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

      • Hi, I have a new Optimus LG Sprint phone. I’m trying to copy files from my laptop to the phone, using the USB cable. I get this message: “You need permission to perform this action”. I am able to copy files from the phone to the laptop. Any ideas? Thanks!

        • Ana, the problem could be that you are trying to move files into a folder that contains system files, and it’s locked unless you have permission. If you have music files (songs) that you want to move onto the phone, make sure you drag/drop them into a Music folder. Likewise for images/photos, which should go into a Camera folder, possibly called “DCIM”. One other possibility is that you are looking at the wrong memory location on your phone. Many phones have two different locations that I can access when I plug the phone into my computer. One seems to be mostly system files and the other is the general storage space. For example, it may show Drive F: and Drive M:, where Drive M: is for general storage. Look to see if more than one drive shows up when you plug the phone into your computer.

          If nothing works, then it’s possible that you have a setting wrong on your computer. Can you move files onto a flash drive?

          One final thought is to take your phone to a Sprint store and ask a clerk there to check it for you.

          Good luck!

          Bob at Wirefly

  • so when i connected my android to my computer i didnt know about these 2steps-
    1).The critical step: On your Android phone, pull down the notification window (aka ‘window shade’) and tap USB connected.
    2).A notification window will appear. Tap Mount. Your phone will enter USB storage mode. and just followed thru with the instructions.

    How do i go back to the new hardware popping back up so i can follow these 2steps an begin to transfer music onto my phone? HELP!

    • JJ, it would help if I knew what phone you have. On some Android phones, you can go into the Settings, then touch Wireless & Network. On some phones, you have a choice for “USB Utilities” or something similar. Touch that and it will ask if you want to connect the phone to a computer. But without knowing what phone you have and trying it out here, I can’t say for sure. Give me more information and I will try to help.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • when I click on the removable disk in my computer it says “please insert disk into removable disk (E:)” HTC Vivid

    • Cassidy, Wirefly doesn’t sell the HTC Vivid, but you can get information about using the storage card by clicking here. There are some questions and answers in the middle of the page, so click on those and see if they help. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, go to the HTC help forum for the Vivid by clicking here. Someone there should be able to answer your question.

      Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • How. Do I transferr my. Resume from my PC to my Hussein 830 phone

    • Sharon, sorry, but I am unfamiliar with a Hussein 830 phone. I recommend that you Google the device and see what you can find.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • when iput the usb in the phone it,s show me on the phone :pc suite,massstrong,imagetransferand media transfer what i must choose to dowanload songs from the computer to the phone

    • Mony, if I understand you correctly, you want to choose the “Mass Storage” option. That lets you drag-and-drop files from your computer onto the phone, and vice versa.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • LeafintheWind
    January 14, 2012

    So I have a samsung captivate glide (at&t 4g) and I’m trying to move some music and files from my phone to my computer and vice versa. It seemed the windows automatically installed the drivers, I connect my phone, the phone registers that it’s connected. I push “USB Connect” and absolutely nothing happens. No notification of any kind comes up. What exactly do I do here?

    • Leaf, did you open Windows Explorer to see if the phone was connected? (This is Windows Explorer, which looks at files on your computer. It is not “Internet Explorer,” which is used to access the Inernet.) You can usually get to Windows Explorer by clicking on the file folder icon at the far bottom-left of the screen… it’s usually right next to the round Windows button. Click on Windows Explorer, then look to see of the Samsung phone appears.

      If you can’t find the Samsung phone anywhere, take the phone to an AT&T store and have someone there check it.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • Christina
    January 8, 2012

    I have a Samsung replenish and i can get it hooked up and everything perfectly fine.. but I do not know which file to copy and paste my music in. I have tried media, mp3 downloads, and doubletwist files. nothing works?!! I need help! please thank you
    P.s I was able to do this aack but i don’t remember how I did it:/

    • Christina, I don’t have a Samsung Replenish to experiment with, but I looked on a Samsung Galaxy S 4G. The music on that phone is in a folder called “Music.” Under that folder are folders with the names of the artists (such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, etc.), and the songs are in those folders. You might need to create a folder called “Music” then create individual folders for the artists you want to load on your phone.

      Hope that helps!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • I want to tranfer from my pc to my samsung 4g and it doesn’t work, it says that I need a cd to install first. My cell didntcome with it :-(

    • Andrea, what exactly is the phone you have? There are several Samsung models that have “4G” in the name.

      Once I know the exact model, I may be able to help you.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • healthyemily
    December 13, 2011

    just google search Step by Step Guide on How to Convert MP4, MKV, MPG, MOV, WMV, AVI to Android Phone Format

    you will find a simple solution

  • I have a Verizon LG Vortex. When I plug it in to the computer and hit the “USB connected” on my menu screen, there’s no “mount”, i get the options “Windows Media Sync”, which was my first thought of trying, but when i did it kept popping up “windows media sync terminated.” my other options are “Modem Mode”, “Mass Storage Mode”, and “Charge Only.” I have tried almost everything. What do I do?

    • Greta, I’m not sure what it is that you are trying to do with your phone connected to a computer. I usually want to drag-and-drop files from the phone to the computer (or vice versa), so I will assume you want to do the same thing. In that case, select “Mass Storage Mode” when it comes up. Your computer should then show the phone as an external drive, and you can drag-and-drop files.

      If that does not work, then there is probably a problem with your phone. Take it to a Verizon store and have someone there look at it. You might want to take your USB cable with you, just in case there is a problem with your cable.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • i have a lg g2x nd its not connecting to my computer…. i have a accer laptop nd usb nd everything wrks it wen wever i plug it in it beeps nd dat means its plugged in but still dere is no mount on my fone or it doesnt say connected to a computer on my fone n im trying to transfer music nd piks to my fone ,,,, so if any1 has a sloution plzzz help

    • Kurdish, I suggest that you take your G2x to a T-Mobile store and ask a clerk there to help you. The problem could be in your phone or it could be in your computer… I can’t say without physically trying it myself.

      Bob at Wirefly

    • Kurdish, after plugging in your phone, tap “setting” then tap “SD card and phone storage”, tap “mass storage only” There we go….drag and drop files

  • ShubaDuba
    November 8, 2011

    i had this problem, something about windows 7 makes it not download the driver autmatically, atleast on my computer. so i went on and found the usb drive at units and printers “i guess thats the english word for it”
    and clicked find solution, so it told me to set downloading drivers to do it auto. after that it installed and i can now do w/e i want ;D

  • So i did everything, but every time i try to open a folder on my computer, it says i dont have the privileges

    • Luis, are you using a computer in your office at work? If so, you will need the IS department at your work to give you “privileges” to make changes to the computer. If this is your personal home computer, you have it set so that any little change requires permission… and you are the only one who knows what you did to set that permission. I suggest that you have a computer-savvy friend come over and help you get your computer set properly.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • itachi1201
    October 19, 2011

    hey, thanks man.It went perfectly fine or smoothly i should say

  • i plugged it in & everything, but the ‘removable disk’ thing wont come out. theres no notification at the bar either. i refreshed everything, i tried a lot of times but it still wont wooork. help?):

    • Julia, what phone do you have? What sort of computer are you trying to plug it into?

      Here are a couple troubleshooting tips:

      1. If your phone doesn’t work on your computer, take your phone and USB cable to a friend’s computer and try it there. If it works on your friend’s computer, then there is a problem with your computer. If it doesn’t work on your friend’s computer, then there could be a problem with your phone or your cable.

      2. Try a different USB cable to see if that fixes the problem. Most people have a suitable USB cable these days, as just about every phone has used one of these for the past three years.

      3. If you tried a different computer and a different cable, the problem is probably in your phone. Some phones (the new Samsung Epic 4G Touch is one) have a confusing sequence of button presses to connect the phone with a computer. I might be able to help you if you tell me what phone you have and what computer you’re using. Generally speaking, a Windows 7 computer will work better than a Windows XP or Vista computer.

      Hope that helps!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • I am trying to transfer picture to my computer from my phone(optimus lg android) but after i plug it in and connect it I look on my computer to find the pictures in the usb that is plugged in but it can’t. also when the Usb storage is on and i try to go to my gallery for my pics none of my pics come up it says my sd card is unmounted even though it is in??

    • KrK, it’s possible you have a bad SD card. The first thing I would try is a differenct SD card. Can you view the photos you took on your phone using the phone’s display? If you can view them, they must be saved somewhere — either in the phone’s built-in storage or on the SD card.

      So first try a different SD card to see if that works. Then get microSD-to-SD adapter (at Radio Shack, Walmart, etc.) and put your phone’s SD card into it. Then pop the adapter into a computer and see if you can read the files that way.

      If you can’t get at the photos either way, then I’ve run out of ideas for long-distance troubleshooting. Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • the kind of file differs flaod
    rom the kind of file to down

  • Got a new nexus s. Took a photo. Located photo on phone via PC in thumbnails folder. Threw photos from old phone from PC into new phone’s thumbnails folder with the new photo. How do I access the photos on the phone? All I see is the one photo I took via the Gallery app. Do I need an app? Shouldn’t they give me one that works out of the box?

  • Heather
    August 28, 2011

    Hi I have pictures on my HTC droid but I don’t have my SD card in. Can I still get these from my phone to my PC?

    • Heather, you can definitely transfer pictures from you HTC phone to your computer. You will need the USB cable that came with your phone or borrow the cable from a friend — any USB cable with the right connectors will work, and it doesn’t have to be an HTC cable. Simply plug one end of the cable into the phone and the other into a computer (Apple Mac or Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7). The computer will take a few seconds to recognize there is a phone connected, and the phone will pop up a display asking what you want to do. Select “Disk drive,” and you will then get a window on the computer that will let you transfer files from the phone to the computer.

      Hope that helps!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • I have the LG axis and when i tether my phone to my pc it says click to turn on usb storage. When i do this a notification comes up that says some apps might stop working while usb storage is on. then i click o.k. and the notification bar goes blank, the tether option is unclickable and says that i cant tether while usb storage is in use, and in the sd card options it says insert an sd card when i have one in. i can not ever find my phone in my computer external devices or anywhere no matter what i do. i just want to transfer files, pictures, music ect. what am i doing wrong??

    • Brad, it sounds like you are doing the right thing but that your phone may not be working properly. Have you tried this with a different computer or a different USB cable? It would be good to rule those out as the cause of the problem. If you can’t try a different computer or different cable, I suggest that you go to a Cellular South store and ask someone there to try it to confirm that it’s the phone and not something else.

      Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • Hello
    I am jnterssted in saving/ transfering files from my laptop to my ansriod cel phone. I had no problem connecting cel phone to the computer and turning on usb funcion. However I don’t knkw where to save the documents when copying them to drive. I picked a random one and was not able to find it on the cel phone in krder to email the document. What am I doing wrong?

    • Michi, on my phone, I can put a document into the folder called “Downloads.” Then open your app tray and look for an application with “Office” in the name. On my phone, I have an app called “Polaris Office.” Open the office app and it will look for documents in the Downloads folder.

      Hope that helps!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • Doesn’t work on my Thunderbolt. I don’t get USB connected mode

    • Adolf, a screen should pop up that says “Connect to PC” on top. The box asks what you want to do, and you can choose to simply charge the phone, connect it as storage or other options. If you do not get this screen, take your ThunderBolt to a Verizon store and have them check it for you there. If your phone can’t get that screen, something is defective with your ThunderBolt.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • makeji edwin
    July 9, 2011

    i have an android(HTC WILDFIRE),I wanted to install a mobile bible which of course i successfully downloaded but to do the download on my pc,i was asked to install Microsoft NET frame and Adobe Air,so i did but could still not install the mobile bible so how do i go about the situation.Please haelp me.

    • Makeji Edwin, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “install a mobile bible.” You can install apps from the Android Market, and there are many free Bible apps in the Android Market. On your HTC Wildfire, touch the “Android Market” icon. Once you have logged onto the Android Market, search on “bible” and you will find LOTS of Bible apps. Pick one and load it onto your phone, then see if it is what you want. Keep trying until you get the Bible app that works for you.

      Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

      • Iam having a simular problem with the ” turn off USB”. I plug in my device ( axis) and it tells me at the top that I am connected to the USB port in the notifications. I then drag that down and click it and it asks me if I want to mount. I click mount and then another thing comes up saying Turn off USB storage. If I hit the OK button everything recycles again over and over never mounting. If I hit Cancel the connection with the usb line is gone and I have to replug in the usb cable to get the exact same notifications over and over

        • IM sorry that was wrong. I went into the settings and turned off “USB DEBUGGING” and that allowed me to see that I was connected to the USB port. I still cant mount though and I dont know why.

  • jacky
    July 2, 2011

    whenever i try to drag music into my sd the windows 7 transferring bar shows up but nothing happens and my phone crashes. help please

    • Jacky, can you borrow someone else’s phone to see if it works right with your computer? If your computer transfers music correctly with a friend’s phone, then your phone has a problem. (Possibly there is a problem with your SD card, so you might try swapping SD cards to see if the problem goes away.) If it doesn’t work right with your friend’s phone, then the problem appears to be your computer. Try using a different computer to see if music will load properly into your phone. You might also try a different USB port on your computer and also try a different USB cable, just in case you have a bad port or a bad cable. (Stranger things have happened!)

      If the problem turns out to be your phone (and not the SD card), your best solution is probably to get a new phone. Otherwise, a new SD card is a cheap fix, if that turns out to be the problem.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • lol. THANKS. I never knew that would be easy. XD THANKS!

  • i have a htc legend and i am trying to put a movie on my phone but it wonte work i have tried putting it just normally dragging it into the remmovable disk that didnt work then i tried ‘going in to DCMI or something the going to the videos and dragging it in there but that didnt work either

  • I have MPEG4 audio files on my PC and want them to work on my Android G2X. I can get the files on to my SD card but I can’t find an app to play them. Any one achieved this?

    • John, I don’t think the T-Mobile G2x works with MPEG4 audio files. It will work with some types of MPEG4 video files, but not audio files.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • worked like a charm! Thanks!!

  • Gary King
    May 19, 2011

    I am using FileReflex to share all my desktop files to android phone without using USB

  • I don’t get the balloon when I plug my Motorola in either.

  • BoooogahBooooogahboooo
    March 20, 2011

    Ummmm ,
    yeahhh my phone doesnt say anything about mount and there is no bubble thingy so what do i do?Its put in correctly ohh and i have a windows vista btw .

    • Not sure how to advise you, Boooog… probably the best thing to do is to find a friend who can help you make the transfer. There are so many possibilities that impossible to cover them all in a note, but easy to show you with the phone and computer in front of you.

      Good luck!

      Bob at Wirefly

    • hey did you ever figure out why it wasnt working because i have the exact problem im not getting the little bubbles or anything either.. Please let me know

  • leonard
    March 16, 2011

    my phone’s storage is getting low what can i do i have a samsuug intercept what can I ,and can’t i move to sd card?

    • Have you thought about saving your phone’s files on Wirefly Mobile Backup? You can move photos, videos, documents and contact information off the Intercept and store it at Wirefly Mobile backup… you get 2GB of free storage, and can move files as often as you like. You can find Wirefly Mobile Backup at:


      Bob at Wirefly

  • The PC requires driver and so step 2 cannot be completed.
    How to proceed?

  • hi i have micromax android a60 mobile. can u plzz tell me how to transfer videos to my mobile from pc.. plzz help me out.. thank u

    • Try using astro file manager, im not sure if it works with videos but works great on files and music.

      Any way you need a avi mp4 or something video convertor if your computer is old.

  • how does that help to get music?


  • Yup got the moment and tried on two different computers, same problem

  • i have a mac and followed the above steps but nothing appeared on my desktop. Please advise.

  • Thanks. Worked ion LG Ally exactly as described. I am moving podcasts I downloaded manually over to phone.

  • i just used sync on windows media player and it worked great

  • me neither, just tried. I’m on win7 and using Moment.

  • Nice idea, except I never get the “usb connected” notification int he window shade in step 3.

    Android on Samsung Moment

    • me too! i have an LG optimus phone, and i never get the USB connected notification anywhere! Help!

    • IM not sure if this will work for you but I didnt get then notifications either but I went into my settins and clicked on SD CARD AND STORAGE and then clicked on UNMOUNT SD CARD. The notifications that I am connected to USB came up but im having to troubleshoot a mounting problem right now. Good luck

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