Saturday, January 12, 2013

Copy Files to Your #Android Phone or Tablet - Set up an FTP Server on Nexus 7

The computer can be Windows, Mac or Linux. Filezilla FTP client software works on
all platforms, and is FREE open source software.

Earlier this year, a work colleague asked me for a copy of some documents that I had on my Android phone. Since I didn't have my USB charging/sync cable with me, and cloud computing apps weren't as developed as they are now, I wondered how to get the job done. Then, I remembered that I had previously experimented with Android FTP server software. A few minutes later, I'd installed FTP Server on my Android phone and had gotten a copy of the 20+ documents onto my colleague's computer.

To review, the benefits are as follows:

  • Avoid the cable when connecting your Nexus 7 Android tablet to a computer.
  • Works with any computer since you can install free Filezilla FTP client software on your computer.
  • Works with most Android devices (e.g. phones, tablets) that support Google Play and installing an FTP Server app (a list of those appears below).
While you can certainly use, the AirDroid app (free) you may also want to investigate a solution mentioned below.
  I promptly forgot about the solution and didn't even think about it when working on my daughter's Nexus 7 Android tablet when I wrote this blog entry, Sideloading Content- Hooking Up Nexus 7 to LubuntuLinux. Then, I read this G+ Texas4TEE Community entry by Rusty Meyners (Eustace ISD):
Cable-Free Android Data Migration (continued)
Whenever the subject turns to side-loading or otherwise moving files between Androids and other devices or PCs I usually mention cloud services such asDropBox or Google Drive. Last time I did that +Miguel Guhlin noted that speed and privacy might be ill-served by such and of course he was right.
Enter ES File Explorer which ties for first place with Dropbox among the apps that should be immediately installed when configuring a new Android profile. It has long been my favorite file manager after eclipsing Astro in my affections a year or two past but I've just this morning discovered and tested it's FTP host ability.
Besides FTP, ES also has LAN, BlueTooth & Network (Internet/Cloud) integration. We've just touched on the drawbacks of Cloud and I can tell you that BlueTooth transfer rates between Androids are excruciatingly slow and a royal pain to link but FTP is proving to be delightfully easy, fast and secure with this app.
I'll probably share more as I play with it, especially if interest is indicated by questions or plus-ones.
If you're not familiar with File Transfer Protocol (FTP), it's an old technology that allows you to transfer files from one device to another. In this case, you can transfer files from your computer to your Android device, such as a Nexus 7, as shown in the diagram at the top of this blog entry.

There are various FTP Server apps for Android; while I've tried them many of them, my favorite choice tends towards the top two, and I found the first one the easiest (but neither is very difficult):

  • Ftp Server - "Read/write any folder, including sdcard, in your android device with this ftp server. You can backup your photos to your PC, copy music and movies to you device, etc.
    If you still do not have a ftp client I recommend FileZilla client (you can download it on but you can also use file explorer on windows."
     Ad supported
  • FTP Server - "Simple & free FTP Server to transfer files to/from your android device with a FTP client."
    Price: Free
  • AndFTPAndFTP is a FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP client. It can manage several FTP configurations. It comes with both device and FTP file browser. It provides download, upload, synchronization and share features with resume support. It can open (local/remote), rename, delete, update permissions (chmod), run custom commands and more. SSH RSA/DSA keys support. Share from gallery is available. Intents are available for third party applications. SCP and folder synchronization are available in Pro version only.
Thanks to Rusty for the timely reminder!

By the way, if you have an FTP server setup on your computer--perhaps, using Filezilla Server rather than the client I mentioned above--and want to access it from your Android device, then you can use one of these convenient tools:

  • ES File Explorer app - "ES File Explorer is a free, full-featured file and application manager. It functions as all of these apps in one: file manager, application manager, task killer, cloud storage client (compatible with Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive,, Sugarsync, Yandex, Amazon S3, and Ubuntu One), FTP client, and Samba client. It provides access to pictures, music, video, documents, and other files on both your Android devices and your computers. ES File Explorer allows Android users, no matter where they are, to manage their resources for free."
    Price: Free
  • Astro File Manager 
  • FTP Cafe FTP Client
  • AndFTP client

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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