How to Transfer Photos from Android to a USB Drive

You might want to create a local backup of photos from Android using a USB flash drive. This guide explains how.

If you’re using an Android phone, you might have your photos set to back up to Google Drive automatically. This allows you to ensure the photos you take are saved right away to the cloud to access later when you need them.

However, there may be times when you want to manually back them up by putting them on a USB flash drive. From there, you can take the photos in your pocket to use on other computers or TVs with a USB port.

We’ll show you how to transfer photos from Android to a USB drive below.

How to Transfer Photos from Android to a USB Flash Drive

When you take a photo on your Android phone, sometimes it doesn’t show up in Google Drive right away. In that scenario, it can be easier to put photos on a flash drive for use in other situations.

Each version of Android and device is different, so your steps will vary slightly. However, these steps will show you what to look for in your version.

How Do I Transfer Photos from Android to USB Stick?

  1. Plug your USB flash drive into the PC you want to use to store your photos.
  2. Connect your Android phone to your PC by plugging it into another open port.
  3. The file system on Android may appear on your PC.Transfer Photos from Android to a USB Drive
  4. If you don’t see it or can’t access the phone’s internal storage, you’ll need to choose the USB option to transfer files option.Choose USB Control Android Device
  5. Typically, the message to change USB settings will appear via notifications.USB File Transfer
  6. As an example of how Android versions vary, the following is from a OnePlus phone where you choose the File Transfer option in USB Preferences.File Transfer
  7. Go into the folders on your Android phone and find and open the DCIM folder.DCIM folder android device
  8. Open the Camera folder, select the photos you want, and drag and drop them onto the USB drive.copy photos from Android

Now you have the photos from your Android phone on your USB flash drive. And you can take them wherever you need them.

Use a USB 3.1 to USB-C Flash Drive

If you don’t have a PC available and need a straightforward way to transfer photos from your Android phone, use a dual drive with USB-C and USB 3.0 or 3.1. The drive lets you put photos from your Android phone on it. You can use it with PCs with a standard USB port and other USB-C devices.

To transfer photos from Android to the USB dual drive, follow these steps.

  1. Plug the USB-C side of your drive into the bottom of your Android phone.
  2. A notification will appear that says the drive is connected—tap Explore.usb drive explore
  3. Tap Categories from the options at the bottom of the screen and choose Images from the onscreen images from USB drive
  4. Select the photos you want to add to the USB pictures
  5. Tap the three-dot menu button in the upper-right corner and tap the Copy option.copy selected items
  6. Choose the USB drive option on the following screen.usb drive on android
  7. Select the folder on your USB drive you want to place the folder for transfering
  8. Finally, tap the Paste button at the top to allow the transfer to complete.paste option
  9. Wait while your photos copy from your phone to the USB drive. A notification will appear when the action is complete, and you can remove the drive from the bottom of your phone.USB plug android phone

Now, like when using a PC, your photos will be on the USB drive, and you can use them how you want. For example, you might want to share photos by sharing a USB drive from your Wi-Fi router.

You can also transfer them to your PC for safekeeping.

files on PC

TransferingPhotos from Android to a USB Drive

If you need to transfer photos from your Android phone to a USB flash drive, the steps above are straightforward and get the job done. However, you can always download your photos and save them to your USB drive using Google Drive.

The easiest way is to get a USB-C to USB 3.1 dual drive. Not only does it allow you to create a local backup of your photos, but it allows you to transfer them to older machines with standard USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 ports. The dual drives are perfect for bridging that aspect of the digital divide.

The dual drives are affordable, and you can pick them up on Amazon like these:

SanDisk 128GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C - USB-C, USB 3.1 -...
SanDisk 128GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C - USB-C, USB 3.1 -...
Easily transfer files between smartphones, tablets and computers; Retractable design with a reversible USB Type-C connector and a traditional USB connector
$11.99 Amazon Prime
SanDisk 256GB Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C -...
SanDisk 256GB Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C -...
Free up space on your USB Type-C smartphone so you can take more photos.(2); Automatically back up photos using the SanDisk Memory Zone app.(3)
$22.99 −$2.00 $20.99 Amazon Prime Price updated on 2024-05-17 - We may earn a commission for purchases using our links: more info



  1. Angela

    February 26, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Just want to know if I transfere photoes from Android phone to USB will I lose them from my phone. I look for the word ‘Copy’ as I know that to be diffferent to a transfere. Thanks

  2. Mark

    July 15, 2023 at 10:44 am

    This doesn’t work. I have a Google Pixel- when I plug the USB stick into the phone nothing happens. There is no notification, there is no ‘explore’ option. I can find the USB drive in the settings, but there are no options anywhere for moving files from the phone to the drive. Does anyone know how this done on a Google phone (it apparently runs Android, but looks completely different to what you describe)

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