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How to transfer music to your Android phone or tablet

If you were a very good boy, girl or other this Christmas, there’s a chance you landed yourself a shiny new Android-powered smartphone or tablet. Let’s get some tunes on there so you can rock around the Christmas tree whenever you like.

Back in ye olde days of Android, manufacturers typically pushed you to use proprietary software in order to manage files and transfer media like music to and from your device, but luckily Google’s made the standard experience so seamless that nowadays there’s little reason to bother with anything other than a simple drag-and-drop.

Firstly grab the USB cable that came with your device and plug one end into your Mac or PC. It’s the safest bet, but if you can’t find it use any compatible lead.

Plug the other end of the cable into your Android device of choice (with the device unlocked on the main home screen).

With any luck it’ll already be set into the correct mode, but you might need to switch it to MTP, which you can do by swiping down your device’s notifications panel and tapping on the relevant notification.


Provided all’s well you should see your Android device appear in ‘My Computer’ on your Windows PC, similarly to a typical USB flash drive. Open it and find the music folder or create one if there doesn’t appear to be one there already.

It’s then just a matter of dragging and dropping your artist or album folders and tracks over. When finished, eject your Android device as you would a conventional drive on any computer and remove the USB lead too.

Then open up your music player of choice and enjoy your tunes.


Unsurprisingly there’s a slight variation in the steps when it comes to transferring your tunes from a Mac. Before you connect your Android device to your Mac, download and open Android File Transfer to make sure it’s properly installed (if you try and run it with no Android device connected it’ll complain, but that’s fine).

Once you’re sure AFT is installed on your Mac, connect your device (unlocked on the main home screen) and the program should automatically open up a specialised Finder window, showing you the file tree on your phone.

In there somewhere is the same music folder we detailed in the Windows section above; once you find it, open it up and then simply drag and drop your artists/album folders or individual song files.

Once your music has copied over, close Android File Transfer and disconnect your phone or tablet. Now you can jump to your preferred music player and get rocking.

Note: You can also upload your tunes to Google Music and stream them to your Android device OTA. For more details on this alternative method of music transfer, read the Google Music section of our piece on ‘How to transfer music to your iPhone,’ it’s the same process for Android.


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