Although many users take advantage of the oft-seamless synchronisation between Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and Mac, there are plenty of us who use an Android smartphone. There, we said it.
If this is you, you’ll likely want to sync some information between your Android phone and your Mac, like contacts, calendar and sometimes files.
Cloud storage, and the general rise of cloud computing has helped to automate the process to a certain extent, but there are also manual ways to get files from your Mac to Android smartphone or to sync information between the two.
Note that if you just want to move a photo or other file from the Android to the Mac, it would probably be simpler to use Android File Transfer.
How to sync Android to Mac: Using Google services
The best way to sync information between your Android phone and your Mac is by simply using Google’s services. These include having a Gmail email account, which goes a long way to allowing your phone communicate with the Apple apps on your Mac.
If you don’t have a Gmail email account, consider signing up for one. In fact, you'll have to if you want to sync to a Mac, basically. Sorry iCloud lovers!
A Gmail email address is your key into the Google kingdom. With it, you can sign into Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Google Drive, Photos and the Play Store. This will help you to sync bookmarks, favourite places, videos, files, photos and more with your Mac.
Here are a few examples of where this will prove most useful.
Google login on Android
You can easily find out which of your Google email addresses is associated with your Android phone, if you’re unsure.
Simply Tap Settings > Google services > Sign-in & security to see your account details. You can switch between several should you need to with the top drop down bar.
Simply by using these apps on your Android smartphone, Google Chrome for example will collect your browsing history and bookmarks. You can then use Chrome on your Mac signed into the same Gmail address, and all the info will be there, mirrored to your phone. It’s very useful.
All your contacts will save automatically if you use your Gmail account to store them on your Android phone. Simply open Contacts, then click Contacts > Add Account. From here, sign into your Gmail account to sync your contacts to the Contacts app on your Mac.
To sync your calendar from your Calendar app on Android to your Mac, first open the Calendar app. Then in the taskbar, click Calendar > Add Account. You can then select Google from the list and click Continue. From here you can log in to your Gmail account, and once complete your Calendar will sync. You can run several calendars at once in tandem.
This one is a tad trickier but not impossible. It’s harder to stream music and video successfully simply because they are larger files; contacts and calendar markers are very small pieces of information that sit on your device and easily retrieved.
If however you want to stream audio files in a roundabout way, you can do so by simply moving the files from your Mac into Google Drive.
Download Google Drive for Mac here.
Simply click and drag audio files from your Mac into the Google Drive folder associated with your Gmail address. Then, you will be able to view and play those files from the Google Drive app your Android smartphone.
Download Google Drive for Android here.
Clicking on the audio file in the app will play it. Just be aware that streaming over 4G will cost you more data than over Wi-Fi.
Also remember – your Android phone won’t play iTunes m4a files, the standard format that iTunes downloads come in, as will your CD rips. This setting is changeable for the latter, though.
A great way to move files from your Mac onto an Android and vice versa is using the Android File Transfer app.
Download Android File Transfer for Mac here.
Then, all you need do is attach your Android smartphone to your Mac via USB cable. You may be prompted in the notifications tray to change charging mode to transfer mode. Do this, and the Transfer app will open on your Mac. From there, you can access the Music folder (for instance) and click and drag files to it. You will then be able to play music files from the built in media player app on your phone.