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The more I'm using an Android phone since years, the more I see a general problem arriving, for which I haven't found any easy solution after many attempts, involving MTP, SSH, FTP, adb, AirDroid, Shared folders, Sambadroid, etc. Note: I've read nearly all questions about this here on Android.SE.

General question: How can a non-power user retrieve all his photos present on phone to his PC, in one or two easy steps? i.e.:

Phone/DCIM/Retrica
Phone/WhatsApp/WhatsApp Images/
Phone/WhatsApp/WhatsApp Images/Sent
Phone/WhatsApp/WhatsApp Videos/
Phone/WhatsApp/WhatsApp Videos/Sent
ExtSdCard/DCIM/Retrica
...

For myself, I've done a Terminal Emulator script, that moves everything in a single folder, and then I'm syncing this folder to a PC folder with Resilio Sync.

But this is super complicated, my mother wouldn't be able to do it for example, and nor my brother (who is just an everyday-life phone user but non-power user).


Let's compare these two methods:

  1. Before Android 4: Connect phone to PC, use USB Mass Storage. Then it's like a good old standard USB flash drive. Search *.jpg, Cut, Paste. Done! Important: a non-power-user can do it.

  2. After Android 4: Connect phone to PC, use MTP (UMS no more enabled). Impossible to search *.jpg. Impossible to run a script. Impossible to run any standard backup software because MTP doesn't give a drive letter. Any solution that involves hacking to actually have a letter would be a power-user solution, which I don't want, according to question before.

Remark: The fact that super easy method #1 is no more available might be done on purpose to force users to use cloud services, etc. but that's a whole debate that would be out of topic here.

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    Have you tried FreeFileSync? If you follow my answer from the sub-heading "Instructions" you would see that the software can be used easily by a non-power user and it also permits, if not searching, backing up only images.
    – Firelord
    Jun 1, 2017 at 4:13

2 Answers 2

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The simplest method would be to connect the phone to the computer then enable PTP (pictures transfer protocol) on the phone instead of MTP.

On Windows, a dialog usually pops up just choose Import images and videos. Alternatively you can right-click on the phone icon in Computer and select Import images and videos.

The computer then retrieve ALL photos and videos inside the phone and copy them to a folder in the computer.

This article provide further informations about android USB connections.

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  • Thanks @esQmo_. I had removed long ago Autorun when a SD card is inserted. So I don't see Import images and videos anymore on Windows 7. What is the .exe name that does this? Then I can maybe manually run it.
    – Basj
    Jun 1, 2017 at 7:24
  • If you have disabled autorun, then go to Computer , right-click on your phone icon select Import images and videos.
    – esQmo_
    Jun 1, 2017 at 9:50
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enable developer mode and use otg cable and usb stick and copy pix to usb

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    What does "developer mode" have to do with OTG? And could you please give a few more details? A step-by-step guide would be appreciated, especially by "new users" not that familiar with the terms. Thanks in advance!
    – Izzy
    Jun 1, 2017 at 7:02

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