I have a big screen on my Windows 10 computer and am wondering if there’s any way to plug in my Android phone and browse the photos on the PC? Seems silly to copy them all over just to delete them!
There is indeed a way to access your Android phone as if it were just a remote hard drive, though there’s a definite sequence you have to go through to ensure that everything works right, then you’ll have to rummage through the phone file system to find out where your photos are saved. It’s doable, though.
To start, you’ll need a way to hook the two up via a cable. If you’ve ever charged your phone from your computer, that cable will probably work just fine. I tested this out with a slick Xiaomi Mi 5s Android phone and a MacBook Pro running Windows 10. USB-C on both ends, so I just yanked the wire out of my Mac charger and used that. A bit long, but it worked just fine and charged the phone as I went along too.
The first few steps will be on the phone itself. Be ready. When you plug the phone into your computer, it’ll detect that it’s more than just a charging cable and prompt you:
As it says, tap on that window to get some options on what to do with the connection:
You can choose Transfer photos (PTP) or Transfer files. As far as I can tell, they do the same thing when it comes to connecting to a Windows system, but use PTP since that’s how we’re using the device.
Note: PTP stands for Picture Transfer Protocol. There’s also an MTP or Multimedia Transfer Protocol. PTP itself was designed for digital cameras, Android just borrows it in this context.
Either way, you’re done with your phone so it’s time to turn to your Windows computer.
On the Win10 system, a message should have popped on the lower right of the screen similar to this:
You can let Windows work automatically – it’ll set things up properly and since you’ve specified a file transfer protocol on the Android system the phone actually shows up as just another external device if you go into the File Manager:
You can see I’ve highlighted the Mi 5s on the Devices and Drives section. Now you can simply double click to see what’s on that device (and notice it shows up as a camera, not a phone). It’ll show you available disk space:
Click on it again and you’ll be looking at the camera file system of your Android phone:
You might be tempted to think that the photos are going to be in the Pictures folder, but they’re not. They are actually in the DCIM folder. [DCIM stands for “digital camera images”. Really!] Dig down and find them, then click to open one. You’ll be asked what program you want to use to browse them:
Photos is an excellent choice. A few seconds later and you’ll be enjoying your Android photo on your big Windows computer screen. Like this:
Note that you can also just hook up your Android phone, launch Photos and find the photos directory within DCIM from within Photos too. Two ways to the same result, and in both cases, way more enjoyable to browse the photos on a big screen than a small one.