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How to transfer files between your Nexus 6 and computer

Transferring files is easy for most of us

Most of us reading here have a computer of some sort. Maybe it's at home and you use it to play games or to surf the Internet, or maybe it's at work and you do things that aren't nearly as fun as playing games and surfing the Internet. But if you do have a computer, chances are you'll want to copy some files between it and your Nexus 6.

While the Nexus 6 doesn't use a file system that most home computers can recognize natively, it does make use of MTP (the Media Transfer Protocol) to be able to send and receive files to and from almost every computer out there. The best news is that it's all pretty simple.

Microsoft Windows computers

Copying files from Android to Windows PC

If you have a fairly modern (Windows XP Service Pack 2 or higher) version of Windows running on your computer, things are as simple as plugging your Nexus 6 into a free USB port with the provided cable.

Microsoft developed MTP as an extension for Windows Media player, so things are pretty well supported (within the limits of MTP, of course). When you plug your phone in, after a few seconds your Nexus 6 should appear just like a thumb drive or any other removable storage device. Copy your files to and fro, and just to be safe be sure to eject your phone through the right click options menu when you're finished.

Of course, since we're dealing with computers things can go wrong. If you can't get your Nexus 6 to appear as a storage device, you may need to delete any old instances in your Windows Device Manager. Your best bet if this happens is to visit the forums for help.

Apple OS X computers

Android File Transfer

If your Apple computer is running OS X 10.5 or newer, Google has provided a nice little app that allows for MTP file transfer between your Nexus 6 and your computer. Grab it right here and install it like any other Mac OS application.

Plug your Nexus 6 into a free USB port on your Mac via the bundled cable, and wait a few seconds. The first time you use it, you may have to double click the Android File Transfer icon to get things started. When you see a Finder-esque window pop up (as pictured above) you're ready to go.

Like MTP on any device, you can only do one thing at a time. For example, you can drag some files into the AFT window to copy them to your Nexus 6, but you'll have to wait for the transfer to be finished before you can start something else. This is more a limitation of the transfer protocol than your hardware.

Unfortunately, the Android File Transfer application suffers from not being a native Apple program. It's often slow to load, and sometimes it won't load at all. Our best advice is to unplug your phone and try again if things don't start up as expected. Most times, you'll be able to make it work after a second try.

Linux computers

gMTP

As a Linux user you may be used to not having some automated application hold your hands to do something as simple as transferring a file, but MTP support on Linux is getting there. Both the KDE KIO libraries and Gnome's GVFS have had MTP support added, and some distributions have MTP working out of the box.

If your Linux computer doesn't automatically mount your Nexus 6 as a storage device when you plug it in, you can also install a program like Go-mtpfs (and it's associated dependencies) as a stand alone application. You'll want to refer to the documentation for your particular distro, and any support forums to get help there.

Or you can do things the old fashioned way and use adb to push and pull files via the terminal. Like most things Linux, you have more control but you might also have a few hoops to jump through.

Chromebooks

Chromebook

Google has finally baked MTP support into Chrome OS, but many of us find it a little lacking and unreliable. In theory, you simply plug your phone in and go, just like a Windows computer. If you have issues, you can use your Google Drive storage to hold files you want to copy back and forth.

Google — please fix this.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

35 Comments
  • Hopefully this shouldn't be a problem. Esp on a device with limited storage. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think for a device with limited storage, AirMore is your best choice to transfer files between phone and computer. It is a very tiny app. It allows you to manage your phone on any computer browser, which means no client or cable is required. And it is totally free. You can find it in Google Play Store.
  • Android Transfer app works but barely. It hasn't been updated for a long, long time. If you transfer a lot of mp3's or really any other files at once .. it chokes like a 3 dollar hooker. I use the same open source tools that allow Linux to do MTP .. it's more work to get them going but they don't crap themselves. Just sayin' .. owning a Mac presents fun times with my nVidia Shield and Nexus 6 but I'm use to it after 5+ years of Android usage. :)
  • +1 I have had freezing issues with mavericks but that seems to have fixed with Yosemite. Its slow and lacks features. I hope google update this app.
  • I've been using Android File Transfer for Mac for over a year with my Nexus 5 and Now with Note 4. It works very well. Never had any issue's with it..
  • it works but needs an update with added feature. It has not been updated for years
  • I have an S3 running 4.4 I transfer files effortlessly on a computer running Windows 7 Posted via the Android Central App
  • How you transfer stuff from your Nexus 6 to your computer? You plug it in..... If you need help with something this simple, this high caliber device isn't for you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • HOLOYOLO baby.
  • Yeah...because all OSes are just that simple, right? I'd love to see how easy you think it is to do on Debian. I recently switched from Ubuntu (which has native MTP support) to Debian Wheezy....I spent the better part of a day trying to figure out why my android wasn't being recognized before I found gMTP. It's not all sunshine and daisies.
  • I still use Slackware. I gave up and just push pull via adb lol.
  • That's what I usually use too, unless I really need a GUI to see the files in rare cases.
  • I just gave up on Linux and use Windows! Why spend a day figuring out how to copy files.............?
  • Yeah, good idea...let's all follow this philosophy!!! If things are hard let's all just give up and be stupid ass morons like this fucking troglodyte!!!! Who needs advancement??? Let's just go back to drawing pictures on cave walls and screwing apes and monkies while we're at it.
  • That's more of a problem with Debian than it is MTP. For all mainstream operating systems, (except for OSX), it is simply plug in and drag.
  • For all except osx and linux.......so you mean all of them....like all of.....windows??? Also, I never said it was an MTP issue. I prefer MTP over MSD. You can't browse your local storage from both your phone and computer when it's connected with MSD.
  • Actually, many flavors of Linux support MTP out of the box. By mainstream OS's, I also meant Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Chrome OS, etc. So not only Windows....
  • It has NOTHING to do with it being a high or low end device. Any Android phone without a mountable microSD card has to do what they are talking about. And not everyone is a friggin genius like you are and by genius I mean trolling jackass.
  • I don't think he meant "High End" when he said "High Caliber", and any android phone is simply plug and play on Windows...
  • If you can't get your Nexus 6 to show up on your PC, download and install Wugs Nexus Toolbox and run through the setup. It is by far, the easiest way to get it back up and running.
  • MTP is also unreliable on Windows 7 (Explorer),
  • MTP has always worked just fine for me, on at least 4 different windows 7 PCs. Maybe there's something wrong with your computer.
  • I realise a lot of people believe that, doesn't make it correct. Of the files you see, the copy will work as fine as anything ever does in Explorer. The main issue is you are not seeing or copying all the files. I have seen this on multiple WINXP workstations as well as Windows 7. Of course the other main issue with MTP even if it always worked well is that only Explorer and a very small number of programs can access the drive and tools like robocopy or similar can't be used. I use "SambaDroid" to create an SMB share on the phone so I can run RoboCopy etc on my computer, I don't want to wonder if I got all the files, I want to know.
  • Great nexus 6 coverage by the way even though most of us already know this stuff. Biggest problem I think right now in making nexus 6 a true smartphone/tablet convergence device is education. If everyone could root and mod an android ROM to best suit their needs it would absolutly be the best phablet option to everyone instead of just a percentage.
  • I cannot for the life of me get my Windows 7 machine to recognize my Nexus 6 as MTP. ADB works just fine. I've tried everything. Changing the storage options on the phone. Turning debugging off and on. Updating the Android Device drivers in the driver manager with Googles USB drivers... I finally gave up and I just FTP files with ES File Explorer.
  • Plug in the phone, go to device manager, look for something relating to android or Nexus 6 and delete the drivers. Unplug the phone. Make sure MTP is selected and USB debugging is turned off. Plug in the device again and there should be a "downloading drivers" window. Wait for this to finish and your phone should show up under removable storage
  • Thanks, but I've tried that several times. It kept loading the ADB drivers. I've even pointed directly to the Google Drivers folder when updating drivers and it kept loading the ADB drivers. At any rate. I ended up giving it another try last night (annoys me when I can't get technology to do what I want) and I found the specific MTP driver and updated with that. Got it working. Probably just needed to cool off after the first hour or so of trying to get it working the first time.
  • I'm experiencing this same issue and I am working on a solution right now. Thank you for posting, I know 3 months ago, but it has helped me realize I am not the only one experiencing this. I'm still tweaking though.
  • Linux Mint and not a issue. Also works pretty flawless on Windows. On a side note it seems to copy faster using a usb 3.0 port, not sure why since the phone is only usb 2.0. Maybe it'll transfer the fastest possible and since there is bandwidth in 3.0 it uses what it can before the 2.0 hardware tops out? or placebo lol
  • Airdroid
  • Exactly what I was looking for when I opened up this article. Pushbullet works great for one off things as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The best, easiest and most intuitive file sharing app for crops platform use, that I have come across is Shareit from Lenovo. I don't have a Nexus 6 but I would be interested to hear if this works for you guys also. Posted via the Android Central App
  • can't connect my samsung galaxy tab sph p100 to my computer
  • Hi everyone !
    I have a problem with my nexus 5 when I transfer file from my laptop to my device over the MTP (with my USB cable)
    For example : i try to transfer an application to my device (I put it in Download folder)
    but when I go to my nexus 5 (Storage ==> Downloads) I can't see the application (like if it is hideen)
    and the same thing to the rest (document, music, video...)
    but when I transfer photos over the PTP, there is no problem
    I try to put something in a different folder in the storage of my nexus 5 but i have the same problem (it doesn't appear)
    I also try to creat another folder and transfer to it but in this case I see what I transfer but I can't click on it or select it.
    Some one elp me please !!!!
    P.S : Sorry for my bad english !
  • Well, try Coolmuster Android Assistant, we can use it to move almost everything from android phone to computer, and we can also use it to manage apps, contacts on computer, have a try!