02
Aug
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This tutorial will show you how to access your phone’s storage for transfers to and fro over your local WiFi network. We will install FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server software on the phone then mount it as a network drive on a Windows PC. Your phone and PC must be connected to the same network.

1. Install SwiFTP

market

SwiFTP can be downloaded freely from the market. It is a small application which allows your phone to act as an FTP server. It can also allow you to access your phone from a remote network via a proxy, but that will not be covered in this tutorial. As it states in the market description, any client (such as FileZilla or Cyberduck) can be used, but this tutorial will be using functionality built right into Windows.

QR code for market://details?id=org.swiftp

2. Setting up SwiFTP

settings

After installation, open SwiFTP. Tap the Setup button, which will bring you to the screen above. Fill in the empty fields with the details you would like to use to connect to your phone from the computer. The port number can be left as the default 2121.

3. Starting Server

main

Now return to the main screen and hit Start. A string of numbers in the form ftp://192.168.X.Y:Z/ will appear next to the Wifi URL label. This is the address of your phone on the local network, followed by the port that the FTP server has open for connections.

Your phone is now ready for connection to your computer.

4. Map Network Drive

map

Open up My Computer and click Map network drive.

 

5.  Connect to Web site

 

connect

A window will now pop up prompting you to select a drive letter and a folder. Ignore this and click the link near the bottom for a Web drive.

6. Enter Phone Address

address

Enter the Wifi URL from Step 3, and click Next.

7.  Enter Login Credentials

login

Now enter the user name that you specified in Step 2. When you mount your phone as a network drive later you will be prompted for the password which you can store so as to not have to enter it every time.

8. Name the drive

name

Final step. Name your phone as it will appear under Network Drives in My Computer.

SUCCESS!(?)

If all went well, then you should now have access to your phone’s file storage over WiFi. FTP transfers are not as fast as USB, but it saves you having to turn off your phone to extract the microSD card or spend a few minutes trying to track down your cable. All you have to remember is to start the server on SwiFTP before connecting to the drive on your computer, otherwise it won’t be able to find it.

 

NOTES / WORDS OF CAUTION : The connection established by this tutorial is not encrypted. Exercise caution when transferring files of a sensitive nature. It also requires that your phone have a static IP, otherwise your  phone’s server address may change the next time you reconnect to your wireless network. To set up a static IP address, you will need to get your MAC address (Menu > Settings > Wireless & Networks > Wi-Fi Settings > Menu > Advanced), and then give that MAC a static IP on your WiFi router.
Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • Digitalthug

    Awesoooooome!!! I was using Bluetooth to transfer small files between my pc and phone. But now I can use wifi and transfer big files as well because of the speed!

  • KMD

    Awesome app, and a very dummy-friendly tutorial. Great job!

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Excellent job, Brian! I'm going to do the same now for when I'm near a router (using BT or USB cable otherwise).

    The only things I don't like are:
    1. This method uses an unencrypted connection.
    2. You can't map an FTP to a drive letter, unlike samba.

    I'd love to see a solution that solves both of the above (samba server on the phone?).

  • http://www.anivision.org xcom923

    cool idea. I never would have thought to do this but you better believe I'm going to use this technique to send files to and from my Evo.

  • Zero

    Very usefull, thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/HartMichael Michael Hart

    Or just install Dropbox....

    • Snafu77

      ^^^^This. Unless you want to transfer large files and are without your usb cable and the computer doesn't have bluetooth.

  • Aaron Gingrich

    Very, very cool

  • cjohns11

    Why run a ftp server from your phone? Wouldn't running the server on a pc and a client on a phone be same and less risky, people can't tap into the server on your phone? Where is my samba solution for Android?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Because then you'd have to navigate everything on the phone instead of the computer, which is not nearly as convenient.

  • KL

    Or you could use Homepipe.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      As far as I understand, Homepipe, just like Dropbox, requires uploading the files to the server and then downloading (it's done automatically for you, but you still have to rely on your bandwidth in and out).

      The solution here that Brian posted targets a local WiFi enabled network. It's very convenient, though still has those 2 problems I mentioned earlier.

  • imad

    thanx guys, this is awesome

  • Wolfram

    Or you could install IP Messenger on your phone and PC to transfer the files over a network. WiFi in this case.
    Setup is a lot simpler.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks, I'll try this out, together with the SMB plugin for Astro.

      Edit: nvm, it requires a proprietary client on the PC - that's not the solution I'm looking for.

  • Paul

    With all due respect guys... We don't wanna hear about other apps! This is the most easist and full solution to alot of users. Why sit there saying you can use dropbox or you can use homepipe or whatever?? If you feel those apps need mentioning then make a tutorial on how to do it with those apps! I thought this was great, thanks to Brian for this!

  • Luke

    I am just new to andriod and the ftp thing. And I could follow it with no problem. Great job. Takes about 7 mins to transfer 100mb but I'm in no hurry - Luke

    • http://androidpolice.com Brian

      There is a setting in SwiFTP that you can enable called "Keep phone awake". It seems that transfer speeds may drop once the phone goes into stand-by mode, so give this a try and see if large file transfers get any faster.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        Definitely dropped for me, from about 1MB/s to 50-100KB/s when it goes to sleep. That option is a keeper if you keep an eye on it and don't forget to turn it off.

  • flemlion

    Astro File manager with the SMB plugin works just fine for me on the LAN.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but using the SMB plugin is going to do the opposite - allow you to browse SMB shares in Astro, rather than expose your phone's data via an SMB share/server. Is that right? If so, that's a client, not a server - we need a server.

  • Randy

    Theres a web based ftp server out there as well. Not sure how it would work with android though. Check out http://www.ezyftpserver.com

  • Dominik

    This seems a bit cumbersome, especially considering that EStrong's File explorer (ES File Explorer on the market) let's you browse windows shares on your LAN via Wifi.

    Thanks for the write up though.

    • Brian O’Toole

      From what I can see, EStrong allows you to browse your PC's drive from your phone. While that may allow you to do transfers, as Artem pointed out earlier it is more comfortable to do the file management on your computer than it is on a small phone's screen.

  • terry

    I can't get the url number to start, it just keeps running without giving a number. etc: 192.168.1.1 will not appear in window. please help.

  • http://www.mjparada.com mpaxeman

    Not working on FroYo. I get an FTP error. :(

  • Evildad

    Great app. Yes, if the phone goes to sleep speeds drop by probably a factor of 100 or more. Set it up once on PC, you're done. Handy way to backup photos from phone to PC or to move new music from PC to phone.

  • Dennis

    i have a problem with a changing Ip, i tried to play around with the static ip function in the wifi settings but i guess my understanding isn't good enough to complete the task.
    and i didn't really understand the thing you said with the MAC, what exactly am i supposed to do with it, where to write it.
    kinda confused, i'd be glad for some help :)

    P.s
    I use siemens ADSL SL2-141 router

  • taief

    thnx bro just want i was wanting

  • billy

    i cant get it to work. :(

  • Daniel

    Great! Works perfectly to transfer new music to phone and photos off phone. Speed drops dramatically when your phone goes into sleep mode and speeds are a bit slow, but I am in no rush!

  • http://www.stabil2grow.com John

    this works on my phone and tablet via wifi. Now that I can see and transfer files from my pc to my divices, can I see my files on my pc using my phone or tabet? viewing only goes one way. I was hoping I could access documents remotely on my phone or tablet when away from my pc.

  • Amir

    I have connected my phone successfully and i can transfer files to my cell phone easily.

    I have one thing to ask,

    Can I send my phone files to the network drive the same way i am sending files from my pc? Is it possible to do the other way round?

  • Anand

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. It was very helpful. :)

  • Tony

    Works on honeycomb and very convenient with a tablet... Thanks

  • http://www.smsspysoftware.net sms spy app

    Excellent simple and easy to understand, this tutorial helped me so much. Thank you!

  • http://www.matthewolucas.com matthewolucas

    Awesome. Transferred a 200MB video in less than a minute.

  • Dave

    Connection worked but can not transfer file from my mac to the phone. I can copy from phone to mac though.

    Is it not working with mac?

  • x10.

    Nice, dont even need the app with MIUI file manager! :D

  • marco

    Try PushDoc, it's an app that allows to transfer web content and files/directory
    from computer to phone (and viceversa) over wifi.
    With pushdoc you can transfer files wirelessly and manage
    your sd card from pc or directly from the phone (with an integrated
    filemanager).
    It works just drag and dropping stuff from computer to phone.
    While surfing the web on your computer, you can select anything
    from your browser and drop it to the phone; if you wish
    you can also convert your selection into different file formats.
    For example, you can drag an article from your browser
    and drop it to the phone as an audio speech file so that
    you can listen that article with the phone.
    PushDoc is free on the market.

  • Epic

    Excuse my ingnorance...does this method use my data bundle?

  • Basant

    I have been using an app named Websharing. Available in Market as a free with ads version (though the one I have is ad-free and I never updated it).

    This application is just like the one mentioned here but far more intuitive, as you do not need to configure anything upfront. Just run the app, and it will show you an ip to log on to from the browser and a password to use - use that on your browser and you are instantly browsing your phone/tablet's file system. Uploading and downloading works just fine.

    No doubt, the ftp allows for more flexibility and I use that too quite often, but for novices, this app is perfect.

  • http://phonetapping.org David @ Phone Tapping

    It's pretty funny how people always drop other apps names into these conversations where the best fit-for-purpose app is already being discussed. That's the whole point of the topic. If you haven't used it (which, in most cases, it's obvious they haven't) then why bother to comment. lol

  • http://www.itrush.com IT Rush

    This is amazing, hope to download the software now and start downloading files from my android phone to my pc wirelessly.. cool tips.

  • Palash

    i followed every step
    the phone even got mapped as a drive(the password which is required was accepted by the mobile)
    but file transferring file it says "The item could not be transfered. Make sure you have permission to store files here and that the file name is valid."

  • Ash

    For anyone wishing to do the same for a mac:
    Open any finder window, press command+k which will open up an add connection window. Choose a username and password on swiftp as usual, then start the server.
    Copy the full wifi url into the add connection window, click the +, then type your username and password in then voila it works.

    Thanks for this information though, I needed someone to explain a method to do it and then I just translated it into mac!

  • Santosh J

    thank you soooooooo much :)

  • Robert Olmstead

    Setup and everything went great. Logged In no problem. It recognizes all of the folders on my phone under the /sdcard, HOWEVER...... when I try to view folders in my DCIM card it prompts me with a permission error: 550 Invalid name or chroot violation

  • aamer ejaz

    Thanks for sharing. I have been able to connect thru server and can see folders of my galaxy tab on my pc. However, when I try to transfer some file from my pc to any folder on my galaxy tab, it gives this error:
    "An error occurred opening the folder on ftp server.Make sure you have permission to access the folder"

    Please help how to solve this problem.

  • actto

    cheers... :)
    Thank you

  • Ashish

    meri shaat....!!!!!

  • DSL

    Works very well also with the ICS. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Rock

    I can't even get the browser to open these links.

    http://labs.dashwire.com/drop/android
    http://labs.dashwire.com/drop/

  • Stephanie Grey

    Listen. Get "Wireless Transfer Pro" instead. You have access to all files + transfer between PC/Android in one click.

    How it works:
    Download app. Press Activate. Surf to suggested link. Voila! Full access to an FTP where you can easily move/delete whatsoever files or folder you desire.

    And its free...

    • loic

      Merci stephanie! :-)

  • http://interceptingtextmessages.com Intercepting text messages

    Thanks for the info. It was concise and straight to the point and although on hind sight it is pretty straight forward doing it initially was the main issue.

  • Jewels

    Thank you, just what I needed to know and simply explained.

  • Sajad Yusefpur Seifi

    If you have problem accessing the created folder , it may be due to your firewall blocking...

    Disable it (or allow accessing by setting your firewall) and try again 

  • Todd1

    swiFTP no longer available in android market

  • Glord2

    swiFTP can be found at http://code.google.com/p/swiftp/

  • TampaJoey

    Easy to do and works perfect.

  • MaJack

    Or use Android Data Transfer to help. http://goo.gl/mCa8sR

  • jon snow

    I use es file explorer for wireless transfer between pc and android.

  • Anonymous
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