Android customization – WiFi File Transfer Pro

August 7, 2014
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Android Customization WiFi File Transfer Pro Header

Throughout a number of our Android customization tutorials thus far, there has been one simple little thing that has been taken for granted, the ability to get files, usually images, transferred to your Android device.

It may seem a trivial thing, but the ability to efficiently transfer files between your devices is important. For many of us, transferring files between our computer and our Android device means connecting a USB cable, if we had the foresight to bring one with us in the first place, downloading and installing the appropriate drivers and software, then enduring software update checks and data syncing before finally being able to transfer files to and from devices.

Perhaps my description is a little outdated, but I think you’ll find my solution is still very relevant; let’s look at WiFi File Transfer Pro for transferring files between your Android device and your PC.

WiFi File Transfer Pro is a simple yet powerful app which should be in everyone’s arsenal of productivity tools. As the name implies, you can leave your cables behind and enjoy fast data transfers between your devices.

Before we get started

Get it on Google Play ButtonWiFi File Transfer has a free version that allows you to transfer files up to 5MB in size. If 5MB is not large enough for you, I believe it is worth coughing up the $1.40 for WiFi File Transfer Pro in the Google Play Store.

Important: Your devices need to be on the same network for WiFi File Transfer to work.

WiFi File Transfer Pro initial setup

Once installed, go ahead and open up WiFi File Transfer. The interface is pretty simple, but before you hit that Start button, head into Settings to configure at least one important little thing, security!

WiFi File Transfer Pro Settings Access Password

The first option within Settings is Access Password, tap this and input a password. This password will be required by all other devices attempting to connect to your Android phone or tablet. From there, if you think you’ll be using WiFi File Transfer on public or un-trusted networks, get into Advanced Settings and turn on SSL Encryption.

You may find that enabling SSL Encryption severely reduces the speed of WiFi File Transfer Pro. Hopefully you can operate on a secure network so to avoid this issue. Also, SSL Encryption in this app uses a self-signed certificate, this will result in browser navigation warnings, it doesn’t look good, but just verify that your URL is accurate and that your security warning specifically says that there is a self-signed certificate (not a missing certificate) and you’ll be good. If in doubt, turn off SSL Encryption and try again on a secure network.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Advanced Settings

I would only recommend messing with the Port numbers if you’ve got other services that conflict. Usually, WiFi File Transfer uses Port 1234 for standard connections and Port 2345 for SSL connections.

Finally, I find the WiFi File Transfer Homescreen Widget very handy, but I transfer files almost daily. Just wanted to make sure you knew it was there.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Widget

How to connect to WiFi File Transfer Pro

Android Device

On your Android device, enter into WiFi File Transfer Pro and tap the Start button. If you have the widget setup, you can simply tap the icon on the left side of the widget.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Start and Stop

You will be presented with a URL, it will look something like http://192.168.1.76:1234 or https://192.168.1.76:2345.

Other Device

Head on over to your laptop or desktop computer, or another Android device on the same WiFi network.

Open a web browser.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Log in

Enter the URL into the address bar.

Enter your Password, if applicable.

That is it, you are now connected and can begin transferring files between your Android device and the machine you’ve connected to it with.

Transfer files off of your Android device using WiFi File Transfer Pro

From your connected web browser, navigate your Android device file system to find the files you would like to transfer. Click [Parent Directory] to go up a folder level, think of it as your back button when you go into folders.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Download Files

Select the files to be transferred by clicking the check box on their left.

Click the Download button at either the top or bottom of the list.

If multiple files, choose whether to download them individually or as a zip file.

The files will now download in your browser, as if from any other website on the internet.

Transfer files to your Android device using WiFi File Transfer Pro

From your connected web browser, navigate your Android device file system to the folder that you would like to transfer the files into.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Upload

Click the Choose Files button (or the Select Folder button) and find the files (folder) on your computer that you would like to transfer.

Click the Start Upload button to start the transfer.

Pro Tip: although you are free to navigate your connected Android device’s file system whilst files are downloading or uploading, I’ve found that it often enough breaks the file transfer. I recommend finding something else to do until the file transfer is complete.

There you have it, open up your Android device and check for yourself, the files are transferred and ready to roll.

Properly shutting down WiFi File Transfer Pro

When you are done, hit the Stop button in the app, then hit the Quit button in the bottom right corner to exit. If you were using the widget, simply tap that icon in the widget again.

Access to your Android devices files will be cut off on the connected computer, but the loaded page will still be visible until you click on something in it. Be sure to close that browser tab to keep things private.

What’s next

I only briefly mentioned that you can use any device with a modern web browser to access your files through WiFi File Transfer Pro. Primarily, a laptop or desktop computer will be your connection, but you can use nearly any Android device as well. Since the program has the power to delete files, I would avoid handing over the URL and password to others, but it can be done if needed.

Remember how I said any web browser? That includes the web browser on your smart TV or set-top box as well. Beside ‘File browser’ on the web interface is ‘Media gallery’. It is not magical, but is certainly a quick way to display your local media on the big screen.

WiFi File Transfer Pro Media Gallery

Next week

A while back, we used Tasker to control when your display goes to sleep. The tutorial covered display rotation as well, which I thought was pretty handy. Some of our readers expressed that they needed this functionality, but were either not fans of Tasker, or just wanted a free solution to tackle this display timeout problem. Next week in our Android customization series we’ll show you quickly how to use a free little app from the Google Play Store that controls your display timeout on a per app basis.

Did you get the chance to transfer some files using WiFi File Transfer Pro, how did you like the experience? There are many alternatives to WiFi File Transfer Pro out there, have you found any that have any major advantages over the rest?

Comments

  • thartist

    Hmm… Why not teach how to configure a SMB shared folder with a free app like ES File Explorer or whatever file browser that supports that?

    • Sam

      That would be helpful

    • IDontKnowMyName

      yea I use Solid Explorer and it acts as my file transfer, dropbox and obviously being a file explorer and a really good one too.

    • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/jonathan-feist/ Jonathan Feist

      Thank you thartist. I was actually going to show how to use ES File Explorer from its “Remote Manager” tool. I only decided on WiFi File Transfer for today because it’s an easier pill to swallow for most users. I’m starting small, then will ramp up to the longer stuff later. But, if enough of you want to see this sooner rather than later – just let me know, be glad to make that happen.

      On a personal note, I stress tested both ES and Wi-File about a year ago, I found that ES was faster and more natural feeling, however, it completely let me down when it came to nested folders. I threw at both of them a file structure that was only 4 or 5 folders deep, with one folder (my wallpapers) that contained over 100 files. ES did not even attempt to go past the first layer of folders and it hung up before completing the large quantity wallpaper folder. WiFi File Transfer Pro, with it’s awkward upload procedure and somewhat ugly web interface, completely rocked it all. The outcome was so drastic that I haven’t used ES for FTP/SMB since then. (I also tested Airdroid at that time, it too failed to handle the nested folders, at least it handled the large folder without crashing.) Thoughts?

      • thartist

        Awesome, i suspected you would have wanted to start with something simple. I don’t think I’ve tried transferring a complete data structure with subfolders but in case ES File Explorer doesn’t cut it maybe something else would and you could test and recommend something free if possible… Thanks in advance!

    • gabrielth555

      You’re right ,ES File Explorer is amazing .I think that one and also SuperBeam are the only apps one could ever need for transfering files,way better than this ‘WIFI file transfer’ ! Especially for large files with superbeam you get <50 MB transfer speed ,this app featured here doesn't come anywhere close to that!

  • Damon Salvador

    U can do everything wid Android . Thumbs up AOSP . #feeling_proud

    • Jesus

      you can’t make love wid android

      • crutchcorn

        Okay

      • Damon Salvador

        huh !!

  • Abd

    Just use bluetooth or your email

    • totally_impressed

      yeah, try transferring more than 1GB of data with your bluetooth or email..

  • manish

    Superbeam FTW!!!!

  • abqnm

    I actually bought it a few years ago and used it for a long time. I do really like this app, but it is very limited in purpose. I have so many apps as it is, I prefer to consolidate by having apps that perform multiple functions if possible. So, for me, Airdroid works best for me. I can transfer files both directions and control many functions of the phone as well. Still, if you want a simple solution to transfer just files to your PC, Wifi File Transfer Pro is great.

  • Christian Collet

    How is this better than Airdroid (v. 2)? If faster, then ok. If not, then I suggest Airdroid instead: easier setup and it works on cell connection as well.

  • Jimmy

    I find that AirDroid does all these features and much more for absolutely no cost at all, last night used it to send a 575mb file to my phone, no fees involved, AirDroid even allows for 100MB a month ota (fees involved for more than 100MB ota, WiFi is always free)

    • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/jonathan-feist/ Jonathan Feist

      Also agreed. Airdroid is slick, and fun! Here again though, as I’ve mentioned in other comments above, I’ve stress tested Airdroid with an in-depth file structure (full internal storage backup/restore) and it totally let me down. Awesome for a few files and folders, but couldn’t handle a large file dump.

      What do you find, is Airdroid deserving of a second stress test?

      • Aadil

        Airdroid has received a major upgrade since then so yes it does deserve another try. And as a toll for general use, I think you should recommend Airdroid rather than this as you said that you wanted to write about an easy way to transfer files for most users. Most users wont need to upload a dense file structure.

  • http://martyhalpern.blogspot.com martyhalpern

    Why bother with all these individual WiFi apps… I move files to and from my cloud drive (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, Copy… take your pick), and I have access to them from any device without having to be on the same WiFi network.

    • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/jonathan-feist/ Jonathan Feist

      I’ll completely agree with you for files that you want access to from any device at any time, and for that, I use ES File Explorer to tie into my cloud accounts and FTP shares.

      WiFi File Transfer, on the other hand, is my go-to for two scenarios: Primarily, I use it to transfer just a few files, usually screenshots, to the computer so I can process them and get them into these articles, I don’t want these files in my cloud space, nor do I even want them on my Android devices, I just need a quick transfer over.

      Second, and this is the big one, WiFi File Transfer is my tool of choice for transferring my entire file structure, whether to a new device, or for a factory reset when things slow down. Once again, this scenario involves files that I don’t want to bother with having in the cloud, I just want a quick dump across and be done. This is where I miss having microSD cards on everything…

    • Jeff Rhine

      I also completely agree. I still can’t figure out why the author even mentions this more complicated method. I use Dropbox and Drive for all my file transfer needs.