Move photos from a Mac to an Android or Windows tablet

The Apple Mac doesn't always play nicely with tablets made by rival companies. Here's how to transfer photos from a Mac to Android or Windows tablets

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How to transfer photos from Mac to Android & Windows tablets

As much as we like our iPads, we realise that many people who own Macs may also opt for an Android or Windows tablet instead.

Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes, and often at much lower prices than the iPad or iPad mini. Low-cost Android tablets such as Tesco's Hudl have proved to be very popular, and they're a good option if you want to buy a tablet for young kids without spending too much money. Windows tablets, such as Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4, tend to be more expensive, but a lot of people will have them at work, or will have friends or colleagues who use Windows tablets. And, of course, many people like to use their tablets to show their photo collection to family and friends, so it's useful to know how to transfer photos from a Mac to an Android or Windows tablet. Read more: 6 non-Apple alternatives to the iPad Air

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Next Prev galaxy tab s2 9 6

As much as we like our iPads, we realise that many people who own Macs may also opt for an Android or Windows tablet instead.

Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes, and often at much lower prices than the iPad or iPad mini. Low-cost Android tablets such as Tesco's Hudl have proved to be very popular, and they're a good option if you want to buy a tablet for young kids without spending too much money. Windows tablets, such as Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4, tend to be more expensive, but a lot of people will have them at work, or will have friends or colleagues who use Windows tablets. And, of course, many people like to use their tablets to show their photo collection to family and friends, so it's useful to know how to transfer photos from a Mac to an Android or Windows tablet. Read more: 6 non-Apple alternatives to the iPad Air

 

Step 2 of 11: Recognition problems

Whatever type of Android tablet you own, it should include a USB cable that can be used to connect it to a USB port on a desktop or laptop computer.

Your Mac can normally recognise most devices that are connected via USB, so you would probably expect to see your Android tablet show up on your Mac's desktop just like an ordinary camera or a memory stick. Unfortunately, that's not an option when it comes to Android devices. It turns out that Apple's rivalry with Google and Android is so fierce that Macs simply ignore Android tablets and phones altogether. 

If you are trying to move images between a Mac and an iPad read this: How to share photos to an iPad from your Mac, camera or iPhone

 

Step 3 of 11: Access Android tablets using Android File Transfer

Fortunately, there is an Android app that you can install on your Mac to help you out here. It's called Android File Transfer, and you can download it from the main Android website. It's a small file, so it should only take a few seconds to download and install, and then you can plug your tablet into a USB port on your Mac.

The first time you use Android File Transfer you have to launch it yourself by double-clicking on it, but from then onwards it will launch automatically as soon as you plug your tablet into the Mac again.

 

Step 4 of 11: Access the tablet's internal storage

When you launch Android File Transfer you'll see this window appear on the desktop of your Mac. The window displays a list of all the folders that already exist in the internal storage of our Archos 101 tablet. As you can see, it's a bit like the Home folder on your Mac, with folders for pictures, movies and other files.

Be careful, though, as Android File Transfer allows you to move and delete files that are stored on your tablet, as well as simply transferring new files from your Mac. Stay clear of things like the Android and System folders, as these may contain files that your tablet needs to work properly.

 

Step 5 of 11: Drag-and-drop your photos

Transferring photos from your Mac is now very straightforward. You can simply drag-and-drop any individual photo or folders containing photos onto the Picture folder within Android File Transfer and they will be copied across onto your Android tablet.

You can't transfer photos direct from  Photos though, even though you used to be able to in iPhoto. Just move all your photos you want to transfer to a regular file folder and you should be fine though. 

 

Step 6 of 11: Create new folders

To help you keep things organised, the Android File Transfer also allows you to create new folders within the main Pictures folder, and each folder is treated as a separate album when you browse your photos on your tablet. 

You can also delete files and folders using Android File Transfer if you need to free up some space on your tablet. The transfer process works both ways too, so we were able to copy this screenshot from the Android tablet on to our Mac the same way. 

 

Step 7 of 11: Connecting to Windows tablets

Windows tablets such as Microsoft's own Surface are also popular, and there are actually several options for transferring photos and other files from your Mac on to a Windows device. The thing to remember is that most Windows tablets are running the full version of Windows 10 these days, which means that they are actually proper Windows PCs squashed down to the size of a tablet.

Many of them even have their own USB ports, so one quick and easy option for transferring a batch of photos is simply to copy them onto a memory stick or hard drive and then plug it straight into the Windows tablet.

 

Step 8 of 11: Connect a Windows tablet to your home network

The USB option is fine for a one-off file transfer, but if you need to transfer files regularly then there are a couple of other options available. You can connect your Windows tablet to your home network just like an ordinary PC, and if you're feeling brave you can then try to set up file transferring options for both your Mac and your Windows tablet.

Here you can see the Public and User folders of our MacBook Air displayed in the Windows Explorer on our Windows tablet, so we can now transfer photos and other files between the two machines simply by dragging and dropping.

 

Step 9 of 11: Install the Windows version of iCloud on your tablet

The problem here is that - even after all these years - getting Macs and Windows PCs to talk to each other like this still requires a fair bit of networking know-how. And even if you succeed you still have to perform each file transfer by hand.

Fortunately, there is a more elegant solution available. Just go to www.icloud.com and click on 'Setup Instructions' to see how to install the Windows version of iCloud on your tablet. You'll also need to have iCloud set up on your Mac, of course, and make sure that you've selected Photos in the iCloud preferences panel.

 

Step 10 of 11: Sync your photos to the tablet

Now open the iCloud control panel on your Windows tablet and log into your iCloud account. Click the Photos option to tell iCloud to sync your photos on to your tablet, and then click the Options button as well.

There are two options that you need to select here. My Photo Stream will automatically download photos that you take on your iPhone or iPad onto your Windows tablet, while Photo Sharing will allow you to download specific sets of photos that you share using iPhoto on your Mac.

This option will also allow other iCloud users to share photos to your Windows tablet as well.

 

Step 11 of 11: Access the iCloud Photos folder

Once you've set up iCloud on your Windows tablet you'll see a new iCloud Photos folder appear in the Windows Explorer. Here you can see the My Photo Stream folder with photos from my iPhone, while the Activity folder just shows the latest photos that have been added. All the other folders contain additional photo streams that I have set up using iPhoto on my MacBook Air.

And, of course, iCloud syncing works both ways too, so if I click the New Photo Stream button in the top-left corner, I can send photos from this Windows tablets to my other iCloud devices as well.

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