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How to move your photos from Android to Windows 10

Windows is the most popular desktop operating system in the world, which means that there are no doubts lots and lots of people who use both Windows 10 on a PC and an Android smartphone. Today's Microsoft is accommodating to most platforms, so regardless of your preference, they've got solutions for you.

In this guide we're specifically looking at how to get your photos from your Android phone over to your Windows 10 computer. Sounds simple, but there are a few different ways you can do things.

1. Import all photos using the Phone Companion app

The Phone Companion app is new from Microsoft for Windows 10. Much of it is geared at helping Windows users on iPhone or Android find their way with Microsoft services on each respective platform. What the Phone Companion app can also do is help you to quickly import your entire photo library from your phone to your computer.

Phone Companion

Plug your Android phone in to your Windows 10 machine using the regular microUSB cable. If the Phone Companion app doesn't launch, go into the Start Menu and select it. You may also need to make sure your Android phone is in MTP transfer mode. You should see a notification on the phone that will tell you if it's connected as a media device or not. Tapping on it will take you to the necessary settings, just ensure MTP not PTP is selected.

When it opens you'll see the screen above, with some Microsoft apps and services above some information about your phone. For what we want here you'll need to seek out the "Import photos and videos into the Photos app" option highlighted above.

Phone Companion

After you've clicked on that the stock Photos app for Windows 10 will open and you'll see the message shown here. By default it'll import all your photos and videos to the Pictures file on your computer. So this is a perfect method if you just want to dump everything at once.

2. Using File Explorer

File Explorer in Windows 10

If you don't want to do a blanket import (or, even if you do) there's File Explorer at your disposal. Once you're plugged in and in MTP mode as detailed in point one, File Explorer will see the contents of your phone. To get to your photos you'll need to navigate to the correct folder on your phone, and this will vary across different models.

On the phone we're using here (a Xiaomi Mi 4) our photos are found by going to Internal Storage > DCIM > Camera. From here you can simply drag and drop the photos you want to move from your phone to your computer.

3. Using the cloud

The great thing about Windows 10 is that there will be a solution for most people even if Microsoft isn't the direct supplier of it. The cloud is one of these situations. OneDrive is baked into Windows 10 but you can just as easily use other alternatives, like Dropbox, for example. Both of these can be used to sync your photos to your computer without the need for cables. We'll focus on these two for the purposes of this guide, but many of the same steps may apply to your chosen cloud service.

What's also great about both OneDrive and Dropbox is that their respective Android applications have camera auto-backup built in. This means you can turn it on and just not worry about syncing anything. Your photos will upload to the cloud in the background and then, providing you're syncing those folders to your PC, they'll just appear. Like magic.

For either option, first go into the Settings in the Android apps and ensure you have camera backup turned on to take advantage of this. If you don't want to do it this way you can manually upload your photos to your cloud accounts and still get them on your computer with these easy steps.

OneDrive

OneDrive for Windows 10

To get your photos from OneDrive onto your Windows 10 device you'll first need to tell it to sync the right folder. How to sync OneDrive folders in Windows 10 isn't immediately obvious, but fortunately we've got a full guide on how to do just that. Check it out at the link below.

Dropbox

Dropbox sync in Windows 10

Unlike OneDrive, Dropbox needs to be installed onto your Windows 10 device. We're not talking about the Store app, either, but the desktop sync app that you can download directly from Dropbox.

For a full guide on how to get set up and syncing your Dropbox folders check out the link below.

Both of these methods will keep your phone and Windows 10 PC in sync (data connection pending) so you don't ever have to worry about manually transferring your snaps again.

Those are a few of the more common methods to get your treasured snaps from your Android phone to your Windows 10 PC. If you've got any tips or tricks we didn't mention be sure to jump into the comments below and share them with everyone!

For more Windows 10 tips be sure to drop by our dedicated page here

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

17 Comments
  • I used file explorer,but the transfer rate was too slow so i started using Zapya !
  • make sure you're using a microUSB cable provided with your phone. Sometimes I find the third-party USB cables don't work well for data transfers
  • Varies on speed of your storage and/or SD card too
  • Varies on the USB version of your phone
  • I'm using shareit!
  • One thing that wasn't covered though is that if you've been using Android a while you'll likely have a fair few photos on Google Photos (was plus) that you may not have locally. You'll need to download those from Google Drive first from the Google Photos folder. Probably painfully obvious but thought I'd mention it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Probably leaving Google Photos for another post given the newest incarnation isn't a particularly great way to do what we're doing here.
  • First throw away that crappy Android device and then purchase a Windows Phone.. ;-)
  • I was waiting for comment like this. Funny how much hate Android/Google news gets on Windows Central, compared to how much hate Windows Phone/Microsoft receives on Android websites. I don't get why you people have to hate on one platform just because you like another.
  • I been on 4 different platform and truthfully honest.. I find windows phone the best. Never will go back to any other OS even if I wanted to mess with an app that windows doesn't have.. I'd still wait patiently for it to come on Windows phone.
  • I've been with Android for over 4 years now, and I've used Windows Phone and iOS extensively in the mean time. There have been times that I've felt extremely compelled to switch platforms at some point or the other. I even used a Lumia 520 and got ready to get a Lumia 1520, but due to a change in events I ended up getting the Nexus 5. I couldn't be happier, I've had the phone for over an year now and updates have continually made it better. The current Android M build I am running is stunning, especially standby time for the battery: http://imgur.com/u97r3SR But even though I really like Android, I don't go around on forums or websites telling people to throw away their iOS or Windows Phone devices. I actually try to objectively look at each operating system, this is a recent post I made on Windows Phone on my G+: https://plus.google.com/+SalmanAhmad2299/posts/XjNDbhPcxG6 I guess my point is, it's completely fine to have a favourite but please don't be a toxic fanboy.
  • Just go to the verge or somewhere and read the comments people have about windows phone. It's usually android user and the rare ios user.
  • I'm not denying that there isn't any Windows Phone hate, there is. But the amount of hate you see for Android and Google on Windows Central is a class apart than most comments Android and iOS fans make about Windows Phone. Also the Verge has gotten rid of their comment section, unfortunately. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah right look who's talking, banned guy. You got banned for telling people looking for Windows phones to buy Android/iPhone at the Windows central forums. Sites like the register, the verge are all anti Microsoft. When have they ever viewed Windows positively? And may I ask why you are on a Windows site?
  • Haha. You don't have a clue about how I got banned, my end ban was never given to me because I was telling people to go and purchase an Android/iPhone, I was banned because I tried to argue with someone that had written an article about various Android devices. My argument was branded as "trolling" causing me to get expelled from Windows Central. I must admit, sometimes I do miss the forums sometimes but ever since I ventured forward into reddit(www.reddit.com/u/sachd) and G+(plus.google.com/+SalmanAhmad2299) I've had a much better time arguing about technology.  I am on a Windows site, because unlike you I never hated on the operating systems that I didn't like. Windows is by far my favourite desktop operating system for now(even though I also appreciate Linux) while I still like Windows Phone too. I didn't like quite a few of you people, but don't take that as me hating Windows or Microsoft.
  • Does the Android Onedrive sync app still rename and resize the photos? I was always annoyed by that, but I found a third party app to sync my photos (and certain other data) to Onedrive. Now my Surface, a laptop, and my phone photos are in exact two way sync. Easy to manage, backup, and clean up my phone photos from my laptop or tablet.    
  • ​i just recently have this laptop windows 10 n installed here one drive device but i dont know to used this can someone taught me how thanks n its my pleasure if someone could help me