How to move files from a phone to a computer without USB

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How to move files from a phone to a computer without USB

Postby pylkko » 2017-09-24 15:59

One of the topics that keeps reoccurring on these forums is how to move files form a phone to a computer running Debian with Microsoft's mtp protocol or similar. It appears to be a problem because different phone manufacturers create their OS image differently (options in differnet menus and have to be configured in different ways), many different protocols (do you have the correct mpt/ppt library/client) are used form connecting over USB, some phones allowing access when the screen is unlocked others not and what ever else. Also, only a part of the existing USB cables out there have both power and data, while there are many that only pass power, something that further confuses people and makes troubleshooting harder. I am writing this here so that in the future I can just link to this.

There is another way to transfer files, that is much more simpler and likely to just work always. You don't even need a USB cable. Via WiFi using ftp. You get the free and open source file manager called Amaze (or another program that does ftp). Amaze allows you to transfer your files with an ftp server. So, on the left in the menu there is an option "create ftp server". Once you activate that, you can transfer files over WiFi or maybe even LTE (given that the mobile operator does not block or NAT this - have never tried it. Over VPN surely). Also, in the case of not having a Wi-Fi network, you can make an access point on the phone and connect the computer to that. Amaze always opens the server on a random port, and it gives you the address you need to connect to in the form of: ftp://ip:port. Once the transfer is over, Amaze destroys the ftp server.

You can download files from the ftp server to your computer with an ftp client, or you an use nautilus (and perhaps other file managers). In nautilus you select "other connections" and in the address bar type the address (or select it from "previous connections"). You can also use just a browser to download files over ftp by entering the address into the bar.

Most WiFi links are now at least 300 mpbs, but many phone also have one antenna ac which is 433 mpbs. You will not be able to achieve even close to this theoretical throughput especially on crap routers. However, unless you are transferring data in the 10 GB+ range it wont really be a problem. It will certainly be faster than over Bluetooth.

The only possible downside to using ftp is that it does not do any kind of error correction, so you might want to verify that some of the files are not corrupted, although this has never happened to me. WiFi protocols themselves check for lost packages and that. Also, it does not use encryption, but given that the transfer is happening behind a firewall and that the WiFi link itself is encrypted, I personally don't see this as a problem.
or ... ilemanager
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