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How to Manually Synchronize an Android Phone and a Computer

The synchronizing procedure involves hooking your Android phone to a computer and then swapping information back and forth. This process can be completed automatically by using special software, or it can be done manually. The manual method isn’t pleasant, though oftentimes it’s necessary.

When you can’t get software on your computer to synchronize automatically, you have to resort to making the old manual connection. Yes, it can be complex. And bothersome. And tedious. But it’s often the only way to get some information out of the phone and on to a computer, or vice versa.

Follow these steps to copy files between your computer and your Android phone:

  1. Connect the phone to the computer by using the USB cable.

  2. Choose the USB Mass Storage or Disk Drive option for the USB connection.

    On a PC, in the AutoPlay dialog box, choose the option Open Folder to View Files.

    The option might instead read Open Device to View Files.

    You see a folder window appear, which looks like any common folder in Windows. The difference is that the files and folders in this window are on the phone, not on your computer.

    Use the second AutoPlay dialog box to repeat this process for the phone’s other storage (internal or MicroSD).

    On a Macintosh, open the Removable Drive icon (or icons) to access the phone’s storage.

    The Mac uses generic, Removable Drive icons to represent the phone’s storage. If two icons appear, one represents the phone’s internal storage, and the second is for the phone’s MicroSD card or removable storage.

  3. Open a folder window on your computer.

    It’s either the folder from which you’re copying files to the phone or the folder that will receive files from the phone — for example, the Documents folder.

    If you’re copying files from the phone to your computer, use the Pictures folder for pictures and videos and the Documents folder for everything else.

  4. Drag the File icons from one folder window to the other to copy them between the phone and the computer.

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  5. When you’re done, properly unmount the phone’s storage from your computer’s storage system and disconnect the USB cable.

    You must eject the phone’s Storage icon (or icons) from the Macintosh computer before you can turn off USB storage on the phone.

Any files you’ve copied to the phone are now stored on either the phone’s internal storage or the MicroSD card. What you do with the files next depends on the reasons you copied the files: to view pictures, use the Gallery; to import vCards, use the Contacts app; to listen to music, use the Music Player — and so on.

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