Transfer files between Apple Mac and Android phone with MacDroid

Transferring files and data between an Apple Mac and an iPhone is easy, but what if you have an Android phone? How do you access the phone’s contents from macOS? MacDroid is one method.

Apple support for Mac users with Android phones is non-existent and there are no features for working together. There is no easy way to access photos, music, documents and other types of files. Plug in an Android phone to the Mac using a USB cable and nothing happens.

If you are an Android phone owning Mac user you should look at MacDroid, which is a utility that mounts an Android phone’s storage like any other external storage connected to the Mac so that you can transfer files from the phone to the Mac or transfer files from the Mac to the phone.

MacDroid can be downloaded and run for free, but in free mode it mounts the phone as read-only storage. If all you want to do is to copy files from the phone to the Mac, such as downloading photographs to your computer, then free mode is fine and it will not cost anything. However, if you want to transfer files from the Mac to the phone, such as adding music to your mobile or editing files directly on the device you must buy the full version, which costs US $19.99 a year.

Browse phone storage on the Mac

Before the Mac can access the Android phone, you must enable developer mode on the device. If you haven’t already done this on your phone, go to Settings > About and tap the build number 7 times. A new section in Settings called Developer Options appears. Open it, turn on this feature with the switch at the top and then enable the USB debugging option. It is a switch about half way down on my phone.

MacDroid on the Apple Mac with a connected Android phone

Once the MacDroid software is installed on the Mac and up and running, you can plug in your phone using a USB cable. I used the one from the phone charger to plug into a USB 2 socket on my MacBook Air.

MacDroid adds an Android phone to the Mac as a drive

No software is needed on the phone and it is automatically detected. It can then be mounted as an external removable drive. This makes it appear in Finder’s sidebar as a drive (go to Finder preferences and enable external drives if you don’t see it).

Copy and open phone files

Browsing the storage on an Android phone with MacDroid on the Apple Mac

MacDroid does very little else apart from just mounting an Android phone as a drive in Finder. You can browse the storage, drag files and folders to the desktop or a folder on the Mac’s drive, or to another folder in a tab. It is just like using any other drive on the Mac. It can be unmounted when it is no longer needed.

Select a file and press the spacebar to use Quick Look in the usual macOS way. If it is a recognizable type, like a JPEG image or text, it is displayed on the screen like any other file on the Mac’s drive. Double click a file and it opens in the associated app on the Mac, such as Preview for photos and PDFs.

With MacDroid in free read-only mode, no files on the phone can be changed, but you should take care if you have the full app with read-write access. You could accidentally delete something important if you are not careful.

Is it worth it?

The free version of MacDroid is definitely worth it and it makes transferring documents, downloads, photos, music and other files to the Mac very easy. I recommend it.

However, I don’t like the annual subscription of almost $20 for the Pro version to allow read-write access to phone storage. A one-off fee of $19.99 would be a good price for a very useful utility for Android phone owners, but I am not a fan of subscriptions.

Get the app, try it in free mode and see for yourself, you can upgrade to Pro later if you think you need it.