My Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD is full of pictures. I have Windows 7, the USB cable, WiFi and Bluetooth. Photos are stored both on internal storage and overflow onto the SD.

I want to take all photos from my phone and put them in a folder on my PC in one step (i.e. not dealing with e.g. navigating to both SD and internal storage and copying DCIM files in explorer). I'd like to be able to do this possibly without an internet connection (e.g. USB could be ok if necessary, or an ad-hoc network from my laptop). This seems like a reasonable use case for a device with a camera, I just cant seem to find the app for it.

Everything I find is for "synchronizing" but I want the photos off the phone without having to delete them one by one when I'm done.

The best would be with both on WiFi I press a button and maybe type in a destination LAN IP address and boom, the photos appear in a folder on my PC and are removed from the phone.

Surely moving photos from a phone to a PC so more pictures can be taken on the phone is not a rare or unreasonable use case...something must exist to do this in one step

How do I do this?

Essentially, I'm looking for something even my grandmother could do.

The device is a Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD. Photos are stored both on internal storage and overflow onto the SD card (which adds a few steps to file transfers as well).

What I've found so far

I found an article on PCWorld.com but

  • The first option is the file transfer; which is fine but not what I'm asking about
  • There is Dropbox but it leaves the photos on the phone then I have to delete them manually
  • There is DoubleTwist but it also leaves the photos on the phone


  • AirDroid (suggested by keepcalm) is close and supports delete, although zips all the files (which can be time consuming to unzip especially for e.g. 15GB of videos) and for large numbers of files (> 150 or so) "select all" doesn't reliably select all. The other issue with the one massive zip file is theres no good way to resume on failed download (most of the zip will be recoverable but its not easily possible to go back and figure out which pictures werent included); and it fails for large files often because the connection timeout is shorter than it takes to transfer 15gb over wifi. Lame.
  • Photo Transfer App is great except it does not support delete (I contacted them and they say it is because on iOS apps are not allowed to delete user content; but I put in a feature request for their Android version - hopefully they implement it). Also "backup" mode must be used instead of "download" for large numbers of files because "select all" only selects the current page and the max page size is 400 files. Also all albums must be done separately (the Razr sometimes has 3 albums, two internal areas and the sd card). Not sure why nobody seems to be able to get "select all" right...
  • ES File Explorer running in local mode and transferring files to the PC is a pain because the UI is so tiny and hunting through folders for files is not what I'm looking for (plus for some reason this app crushes the CPU on my phone). Similarily, in remote (FTP) mode, and other FTP servers such as FTPServer, it's easier to do the moves on the PC side but still involves hunting through /storage folders and such. Plus you have to remember to delete the thumbnails because the Android gallery does not refresh them accurately and provides no way to force a refresh (yet another UX win for Android). Scripts could theoretically be written on the PC side to automate this; ideally I'd avoid complex initial setup as well even though it does potentially reduce the task itself to one step.
  • The suggestion below to copy photos then wipe the device...no
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    Can't you just buy a microusb cable? You can get them for 99c on ebay – keepcalm Jul 11 '14 at 1:39
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    @keepcalm OR is there a convenient way to perform the seemingly simple task of moving photos from a phone to a pc using ubiquitous, available, built-in wireless technology? or do i need like a custom kernel mod to move photos from an android phone, because android. – stanza Jul 11 '14 at 1:45
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    And even with a cable, surely that cant be how they want e.g. my grandma to transfer pictures off a phone. Set to mass storage mode, plug in, navigate to the appropriate folders on both internal storage and sd, move files. I mean thats the kind of software it should ship out of the box with... this isnt exactly a specialized niche task... – stanza Jul 11 '14 at 1:53
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    Heh. Have you seen AirDroid? It might let you transfer and then batch delete. – keepcalm Jul 11 '14 at 1:53
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    @Izzy but i'm asking for a convenient way to do it, which surely must exist. the first answer suggests rooting the phone (lol) to get mass storage enabled; not an issue for my droid but don't you think it's bs that somebody asking to (holy crap) move photos from their phone is met with a suggestion to root it? the second answer is airdroid (addressed below; requires internet connection?) or use adb (again, lol). the third is direct transfer, addressed in my comment about the cable above. – stanza Jul 11 '14 at 16:29

I don't know about Windows, but on Ubuntu Linux this is easily scripted using the photo management app Digikam. Digikam can be configured to recognize the device and automatically download the pictures.

You just plug in the phone and it starts automatically, no need to do anything with the computer or the phone.

  • ah also +1 if i had the rep; i dual boot ubuntu and use both about 50/50; ill give some scripts a shot next time im on the linux side, thats a good idea. this also has me thinking about possibly setting up e.g. samba server on the phone and writing some windows scripts to transfer photos when the share is detected. my hypothetical grandma couldnt set it up but she could certainly use it. – stanza Jul 11 '14 at 21:16

Download ES File Explorer (the best file explorer no doubt) and share the pictures folder on your PC. In ES File Explorer you just enter LAN, find your computer and transfer any files you want.


Switch on the internet on your mobile and connect the laptop by wifi tethering on your mobile. Now the laptop connected to your mobile by internet, now use Airdroid android mobile application to transfer the files from your mobile to laptop.

  • airdroid isn't bad except it zips the files (which requires an unzip step and can be time consuming esp. for e.g. 15gb of video; also the archive gets corrupt if the download fails and theres no good way to resume - and it fails because airdroids connection time out is shorter than it takes to transfer 15gb over wifi). also airdroid has trouble with "select all" for large numbers (> 150) of files. – stanza Jul 13 '14 at 3:31

simple use "ES FILE EXPLORER" to cut and paste any files from your phone to a network folder...

  • Not sure why this got a downvote? ES File Explorer has a network / LAN option and you can move things around to your PC... – RossC Jul 11 '14 at 15:12
  • i didn't downvote, but this isn't the solution im looking for. surely there is e.g. an app for the mind blowing task of... wait for it... moving photos. – stanza Jul 11 '14 at 16:03
  • @stanza you've noticed that ES File Explorer has a remote mode ("manager"), which lets you access your device from your computer? So it works both ways: Access the computer from your device, and the other way around. – Izzy Jul 13 '14 at 14:27
  • @Izzy it's an ftp server; ive updated my question with info about the results here. – stanza Jul 14 '14 at 16:02
  • Yes, that's true. And the answer to the "thumbnail issue" is triggering the Rescan (see this list for "trigger-happy widgets" and the like :) Figuring their "intent", that could also be triggered via adb shell remotely. – Izzy Jul 14 '14 at 16:11

I found two possible solutions. 1st just search or program an application that sends the pictures and next deletes them. No idea if any exist. 2nd just install and configure an ftp server using filezilla ftp server and get an ftp client for Android and just cut and paste the pictures to the ftp and you are done..

  • actually, setting up the server on the Android isn't a bad idea. copy + pasting files on the phone stinks as far as ux goes but doing it on the pc side isn't bad. i could set my wifi router to reserve an ip for the phone's mac and have a script on the pc side that i can run to connect, download and delete. +1 if i had the rep. – stanza Jul 12 '14 at 18:05

On MSWindows 7, when I connect any USB device including my phone it asks me if I want to import the pictures. There is an option to delete them also on the USB device. It does it also for my Galaxy tab. But I never let Windows delete automatically, because I suspect it would take all images, not only camera images.

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    an issue with this is it does not handle the thumbnails well (it imports them as photos, which at least removes them from the device so that the gallery isn't confused - but then you have junk thumbnails cluttering the imported photos that you have to take a step to remove). – stanza Jul 14 '14 at 16:02
  • When you have a solution, please let us know. – vinnief Sep 3 '14 at 9:11

If you device is Samsung then through Kies you can easily transfer data through Wi-Fi. If not then as you said in drive you could first upload them in Cloud later download on Laptop. As far as your concern for photos staying in the phone you can wipe all your data by a simple format

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    why would i want to wipe all my data? i just want to move photos to pc so i can take more. crazy, i know. maybe my expectations are too high. – stanza Jul 11 '14 at 16:04
  • then you can simply upload on the cloud(drive) and without deleting the photos how can you make space for more – user285oo6 Jul 13 '14 at 6:02
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    a "simple format" deletes a heck of a lot more data than just photos. and i don't want to rely on an internet connection, especially when the technology does exist to send them directly... – stanza Jul 13 '14 at 6:19
  • without internet which technology are you asking about is it NFC or bluetooth or through WiFi – user285oo6 Jul 13 '14 at 6:27
  • either bluetooth or wifi – stanza Jul 14 '14 at 15:42

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