The fastest way to transfer files between Mac and Android


While Mac and Android ownership overlap is probably a rare occurrence, there are still many users of both platforms that would benefit from a tip regarding fast files transfers between their choice of computers and smartphones.

MacOS, unlike Windows, seems to support NAS protocols out of the box in its Finder β€” I am not an expert on Windows transfer protocols, so correct me if that statement is wrong. Thanks to NAS support, many applications can plug your phone’s storage wirelessly into Finder, instead of requiring work-around methods via the browser and IP addresses like the famous AirDroid does.

DroidNAS (hat tip to @hagavaf for pointing me to it several years ago) is one such application and its usage couldn’t be simpler. Once you launch it, you can choose between three modes or settings that would make different combinations of folders available via the shared network: Home, Office or Cafe.

DroidNAS offers 3 modes and a simple Start button

Pick one, make sure your Android phone and your Mac computer are connected to the same WiFi network, click the button to turn on the DroidNAS server and you’re good to go. Your phone will appear as a shared drive in Finder on your Mac. There, you can treat any file or folder the way your would normally on your computer: copying, pasting, moving, renaming, and so on are as simple as they ever were.

My LG G2’s folders show up as a regular shared directory inside Finder

DroidNAS isn’t the only application that opens this kind of connection between your phone and Mac, but I have personally stuck with it because it is free, ad-free, it has the options that matter without being cumbersome, and it has never failed me. I often use it to transfer medium-sized files because it is faster than Bluetooth and easier to start compared to USB wired transfers.

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  • Thanks, this is awesome Rita! I’m one of the rare people who uses Mac and Android. I use Windows too, but as a rather new Mac user, I appreciate the tip! πŸ™‚

    • Glad you found it helpful. I hope you’re using a pre-Mavericks OSX though, because the app requires a work-around and isn’t as intuitive on that version of OSX.

      • Oops, no. I’m on Mavericks. Oh well, I downloaded the app, but haven’t tried to use it yet. So, when I get there, I’ll ask you about the workaround. πŸ™‚

        • Rohit Gandas

          DroidNAS no longer works for mac now πŸ™

  • Kaci Doman

    i tried this, but on my Mac nothing shows up under the phone, so I clicked “connect as” and it asked for a name and password? i don’t remember making a name or password so i don’t really know what to do.

  • Alex

    If it cannot work, try to install Airdroid or Web PC Suite on your Android phone. Connect your phone with a Mac y scanning a QR code, then you can transfer files wirelessly between the two devices.

    • Ellen B Layendecker

      AirDroid does NOT let you edit the files on the phone. It implies that you can rename, copy or move the files on your phone. BUT it does not work.

  • Lucas Larini Kidricki

    thank you so much. my bt was dead and now i donΒ΄t need to plug the phone to transfer files.

  • Bron

    So why didn’t Droid NAS work for me? It just says the connection failed.

  • Dan

    damn, its so frustrating. Keeps disconnecting when i try to connect my HTC M9!
    i managed to transfer some files, but i ended unplugging/replugging my phone more than i ever cared to. Its a brand new m9, just wish it would connect and stay connected. One day, i wish we can put aside our differences, and smash apart shitty Mac/Android USB connections.

  • Ellen B Layendecker

    Works. Selected drives show up under Devices/computername/Network in finder.
    BUT, it is limited to the stupid useless internal storage “emulated” SD Card. Anyone know how to MAKE it work in the external SD Card?

  • cool