Transfer Files From Android To Mac With Bluetooth File Exchange

Transfer Files From Android To Mac With Bluetooth File Exchange - featured

There are lots of ways to move files between your Mac and Android device. One way is to transfer the files between Android and Mac using Bluetooth File Exchange.

You’ve got a MacBook, but you also have an Android phone. There’s no native way to transfer your pictures and other files between the two, right? You need third-party software on one of the devices to do it, don’t you? Actually, that assumption is wrong. While it might not be as easy as using AirDrop to move files between a Mac and an iPhone, you can use Bluetooth File Exchange to transfer files from your Android device to your Mac. Here’s how.

First, Make Sure to Pair Your Android and Mac

Before you can go any further, you need to pair your Android device and Mac together using Bluetooth.

  1. On your Mac, go to System Settings > Bluetooth and make sure Bluetooth is toggled On.
    Note: If you are running macOS 12 Monterrey or earlier, you’ll open System Preferences instead.
    Toggle Bluetooth on in System Settings
  2. On your Android device, go to Settings > Bluetooth.
    Bluetooth Settings in Android
  3. You should see your Mac listed in the available devices. Tap the icon for your Mac to pair.
  4. Make sure the pairing codes match. Click Connect on your Mac and tap OK on Android.
    Bluetooth Pair Request in Android

    Pairing request on Android

    macOS Bluetooth Connection Request

    Ensure the pairing codes match between your Android device and your Mac.

With that done, you can move on to the important part: you can transfer photos and other files between your Android device and your Mac.

Second, Ensure Bluetooth Sharing Is Enabled in macOS

Next, you’ll need to be sure Bluetooth Sharing is turned on in macOS. It’s usually disabled by default, so here’s how to turn it on.

  1. Go to System Settings (or System Preferences) > General > Sharing.
    Turn on Bluetooth Sharing in macOS
  2. If Bluetooth Sharing is not toggled on, click the switch to turn it on.
  3. You should also click the Info icon to adjust settings like whether to automatically accept and save files and where to download them.
    Bluetooth Sharing Options

Transfer a File to Your Android Device from Your Mac Using Bluetooth

Now you’re ready to transfer files between your Android device and your Mac. To send a file to your Android phone or tablet from macOS, follow these steps.

  1. Open Applications > Utilities > Bluetooth File Exchange.
  2. Choose the file you wish to transfer and click Send.
  3. Select the device you want to send the file to, then click Send.
    Send file using Bluetooth File Exchange
  4. On the Android device, tap Accept.
    Bluetooth Pair Request in Android
  5. Once the file finishes downloading, you can tap it to select which app you want to use to open it.

How to Transfer a File from Your Android Device to Your Mac

Since you have Bluetooth Sharing turned on in macOS, you can also send files to your Mac from your Android device.

  1. On your Android device, locate the file you want to share and open it, if necessary.
  2. Tap the Share icon.
    Choose Share icon
  3. Choose your Mac from the list of available devices.
    Select Mac to transfer to
  4. If your Mac is set up to automatically accept file transfers, you’ll see a quick dialog box on your Mac as the file downloads.
    macOS Bluetooth Connection Request
  5. Once finished, you can find the file in Downloads, or whatever folder you configured to accept Bluetooth transfers.

Hassle-Free File Transfers Between Android and Mac

There you have it. Again, the process for sending files between Android and Mac may not be as seamless as if you were using an iPhone, but it’s still pretty hassle-free. You don’t need any third-party software, there are no cables required, and once everything is configured it works like a charm.



  1. Cay

    November 19, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Mac book pro w/retina display will not accept incoming Bluetooth files, error msg says network is unavailable, make sure network access is enabled. I can transfer to my desktop mac computer and there is no network on it at this time either. It will not recieve Bluetooth files from my desktop mac either. Says the same error msg.

    • Kelvin

      June 23, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I know it’s a year later, but I may have found the answer to your issue…

      If you are trying to transfer files from a Mac to an Android device over BlueTooth after doing everything here and can’t, because you keep getting the error “network is unavailable, make sure network access is enabled” then you have to follow these steps to fix it :

      1. Plug your android phone into your mac with a USB
      2. Go into notifications (Slide finger down from top revealing notifications)
      3. Look for a recent notification that says something like “USB for file transfer, touch for more options” and tap it
      4. Select the option : “File Transfers, transfer files to windows or mac (MTP)”

      …and that’s it, you should now be able to transfer files over USB, AND BlueTooth. I’m not sure why, but it blocks BlueTooth too. So go back up to the bluethooth menu, select your android device, and select “Send files…”

      It’s a newer security feature in the newer Material design versions of Android OS. You will have to do this EVERY time you update. It will reset the security feature.

      • Kelvin

        June 23, 2016 at 9:47 am

        Quick note for #2, (incase it’s not obvious), you are going into Notifications on your ANDROID DEVICE, not the computer :)

      • Blah

        May 18, 2017 at 7:41 am

        Doesn’t work. It was already to MPT (you can change this from developer options).

      • Claudio

        July 29, 2017 at 7:43 am

        When you get this error about network (even on) just remove the device from the list and re-pair. It’s a bug for sure but this procedure worked for me.

  2. Cay

    November 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

    I had Bluetooth file sharing checked and selected when receiving items , Adk what to do, but didn’t choose folder for accepted items, when I chose desktop it fixed the problem.

    • Peter

      January 14, 2022 at 5:54 am

      Choosing the desktop for files solved my problem.

  3. Tarun

    January 22, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Thanks a lot :)

  4. Nocare

    February 6, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Had to google elsewhere to find the “share icon”.
    For me on my galaxy s4, going to gallery, holding down on desired file, then clicking the “V” with dots on ends is what worked.

    Not everyone knows what that is… so a screenshot or something would be nice here. I take it you had the share screen up in your screenshot, but I didn’t know how to reach that point lol.

    Anyway, you helped me out with everything else so thank you for this post.

  5. Harrylane

    February 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks so very much. Fav-ing you now because you’re onto the whole range of devices which helps heaps.

  6. yevgeniy zhikharev

    April 20, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Thank you! worked like a charm!!!

  7. diwa

    July 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    i am a newbie mac user, i had problem for transferring data from android to mac, found your article, and it does really helpful, thank you :)

  8. Anirudh PV

    August 12, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Hey There,

    Thanks a lot, man!

    This helped!

  9. Tom

    September 23, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Thanks so much, couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong before I read this, sorted me out a treat!

  10. Suraj

    October 8, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    When i try to browse files on device, i get the error as “you cant view the contents of this folder due to general error, try again later”. Is there any workaround for this error??

  11. DMC

    October 28, 2016 at 2:27 am


  12. AJAX

    December 6, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Install Flick. application on your devices and sharing files will be fun. Its available for all platforms and sharing files between different platforms is also possible.

    It solved a lot of stress for me.

  13. danketorja777

    April 1, 2017 at 7:16 am

    thanks you bruh, i try to send pictures from my android and always failed, until i read this article and everything fix..
    nice share bruh

  14. alisofnas

    May 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Thank you!

  15. brunski

    June 15, 2017 at 7:31 am

    B’tooth works faultlessly with everything every other device except for Mac. Big clue, don’t buy Macs, they’re too user unfriendly & try to insidiously trap people into their ecosystems.

    • brunski

      June 15, 2017 at 7:34 am

      btw, I’ve never been able to transfer TO Macs & I’ve had various androids & these settings on. I used to be a Mac fan, but these days I hope they crash & burn. They Oooze pretentiousness & are way worse as a corporate than Microsoft used to be.

      • Fred

        December 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm

        couldn’t agree more. these instructions don’t work for me. I use an app that works well over WiFi (Web PC Suite) but often just try bluetooth ‘cos it would be simpler IF IT WORKED … MacCrap

        • Fred

          December 2, 2017 at 4:58 pm

          p.s. just unpaired (from phone) and re-paired (again from phone) and suddenly the Mac prompts me to accept the file (multiple times ‘cos I tried multiple times). Obvious NOT, but an answer of sorts at least.

      • Leo

        July 12, 2020 at 4:46 pm

        I own a Samsung Galaxy A20s and transfer small files to my mac every single day using bluetooth. It worked flawlessly as the tutorial said. I’m currently on Android 10 and MAC OS Catalina. I don’t know what the problem is on your end.

  16. Allen

    June 28, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you. Great article. Files transferring over now.

    Honor 5X -> MBP17

  17. Tony

    April 22, 2018 at 4:19 am

    Thanks Very Much for posting this. Now I can finally get pix off my phone to my Mac

    Best Regards,

  18. declan

    July 13, 2018 at 3:18 am

    And my thanks too

  19. S

    May 5, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Thanks so much! A simple bit of information so hard to find! Everyone always suggest fancy apps when there is an easy way! :-)

  20. Erik

    December 13, 2019 at 12:23 am

    This is the one that finally worked, awesome, thanks!

  21. Leo

    July 12, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you so much, that saved my life. Bigger video files take too long on bluetooth (up to 45 minutes), so I still use the free app Android File transfer with an USB cable (takes 1 minute for 1GB on USBC cable) but for everyday photo files etc Im basically sending pictures I take on my phone to touch them on Photshop everyday using your tutorial/article. You’re the boss!

  22. LJF

    July 22, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Thanks! No one else showed how to do all this so simply! Bravo!

  23. Tim

    August 10, 2020 at 11:26 am

    What if you don’t have a USB port on your Mac? Any suggestions? I can get my Galaxy s6 to pair with MacBook Pro, but then it immediately disconnects?

  24. Melimel76

    April 27, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks so much! This worked perfectly!

  25. Wefaa

    October 17, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Dave is the best!!!!thank you

  26. F A

    July 25, 2022 at 8:37 am

    Thank you so much, really appreciate. Worked immediately, after all these years !

  27. Iconooclast

    November 23, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    I was able to get my iMac (12.6.1)& Samsung S7 Edge paired. But When click BT in menu bar I do see my phone listed but, clicking it hovering curser on it…Never get the submenu that has“Send File to Device” option!

    Very frustrating! I was hoping this “Easy” way to move files back & forth would work.
    Samsung Smart Switch updated & no longer has file transfer option. Reverting back to old Smart Switch immediately forced the update!
    Open MTP app for Mac does not work.
    In the past I tried Android File transfer & it had so many problems that I trashed it.
    I tried phone app. WiFi File transfer & can D/L photos from phone to Mac D/L folder. Cannot really navigate or move file Mac to phone.

    I’d love for this BT transfer to work but not for me.

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