You don’t need to abandon your music collection while on the go. Streaming services like Spotify are great, but you shouldn’t have to pay for music you already own. If you want to transfer your music to your Android device, here’s how.
File Transfer Over USB Cable
The easiest method for transferring your music to your Android device is by connecting to your PC with a USB cable. You can then manage your collection using a music app like Phonograph once the files are on your phone.
Connect your device to your PC and wait for it to appear. On Windows, it should appear under “Devices and Drives” in File Explorer.
macOS users will need to use Android File Transfer. Download and install it onto your Mac, and then connect your Android device. You’ll then be able to browse the contents of your Android device and copy your music files directly to it.
Android will sometimes default to a charging mode that prevents you from accessing your Android device’s file system over USB. If your PC hasn’t detected your Android device, check to see if the USB setting is correct.
Your device may ask you what you’d like to do with your USB connection when you plug it in, rather than deciding this automatically, with options like “Transferring Files.” It may be worded a little differently on your device, but if this happens, choose this option. Once it’s picked up by your PC, you can then start to move files over.
Now open your music folder and start dragging items to your Android device where you’d like to store your music collection. This process can take some time depending on how many files you decide to transfer.
Transfer Using Flash Drive
You can also use a USB flash drive to transfer your music files from your PC to your device. You can either use a USB-C flash drive (if your Android device uses USB-C) or use a USB-C OTG (On The Go) adapter to allow you to connect a standard USB flash drive.
Your internal file manager on Android may vary, but when you plug in your USB storage, it’ll provide you with the option (in your notifications bar) to view the files. If it doesn’t, locate your device’s file manager app (or download one first, like the Asus File Manager) and locate your USB drive.
Most file managers will support either moving your files directly or copying them to leave the original files intact.
In the Samsung My Files app, for instance, you can select a file or folder located in your attached USB storage and choose “Move” or “Copy” at the bottom.
Select your music files (or the folder containing your files) and choose to either copy or move them. Move from your USB storage to either your internal storage or SD card, and then paste or move the files there.
Your music files will be then stored on your device, ready for you to access in a music app of your choice.
Upload to Google Drive
With 15 GB of free storage, Google Drive offers the easiest method for you to keep your music collection synced across all of your devices, including Android and PC.
The Google Drive app for Android doesn’t allow you to download entire folders directly to your Android device. Unless you want to download your files one by one, folder by folder, the easiest method is to use CloudBeats.
Using a third-party music app for Android allows you to download your files to your device directly from cloud storage providers, including from Google Drive and Dropbox. You could use alternatives like CloudPlayer instead.
Start by uploading your music to Google Drive on the web. Click “New” in the top-left corner and choose “File Upload” to upload files individually or “Folder Upload” to upload your music collection in one go.
If you’d prefer, you can use Google Backup and Sync to sync files from your PC. Download the installer, open it up after installation is complete, and then click “Get Started.” You’ll be asked to sign in to your Google account.
Once you’ve signed in, select the music folders you want to sync to Google Drive by clicking “Choose Folder,” and then click “Next.”
At the next step, confirm you want to sync Google Drive to your PC and click “Start.” Your existing Google Drive files will begin to download onto your PC, while your music collection will begin uploading to Google Drive.
Once your files are in place, install CloudBeats on your Android device, open it, and swipe left to “Files.”
Click “Add Cloud” and choose Google Drive. You’ll be asked whether you want to allow CloudBeats access to your Google account—choose “Allow.”
You’ll then see your Google Drive files and folders in CloudBeats. Locate the folder containing your music collection, hit the menu button (the three vertical dots), and click “Download.”
The files will sync to your device. You can play your music collection in CloudBeats or, if you prefer, once the files are downloaded, you can play them through Google Play Music or another Android music app.
Upload to Dropbox
If you’d prefer to stay out of the Google ecosystem as much as possible, but you like the idea of a cloud solution for your music collection, you could use a service like Dropbox instead.
Dropbox comes with 2 GB of storage for free—enough for hundreds of songs. Downloading entire folders using Dropbox requires a Dropbox Plus subscription, so as with Google Drive, we’d recommend using Dropbox with an app like CloudBeats unless you’re prepared to pay for a membership.
Uploading files to Dropbox is easy. Head to the Dropbox website, sign in, and click “Upload Files” or “Upload Folder” on the right.
If you’re planning to sync files regularly, it might be easier to install Dropbox on your PC. Download and install Dropbox and sign in with your account.
Once it’s installed and you’ve logged in, you can then start to move your collection to a folder within your main Dropbox folder. Alternatively, you could change the location of your Dropbox folder to match the folder you currently use for your music collection.
Windows users can find their Dropbox folder by going to “C:\Users\your-username\Dropbox” or by selecting “Dropbox” in the left sidebar of Windows File Explorer.
It may take a little time to upload your collection. When it’s done, you can use CloudBeats to play your music on your Android device.
Open up the CloudBeats app, scroll left to “Files,” and then click “Add Cloud.”
Choose “Dropbox” and then log in using your Dropbox login credentials. You’ll be asked if you’d like to give CloudBeats access to your Dropbox files and folders, so click “Allow.”
Your Dropbox folders should then appear in the app. Locate the folder containing your music collection, click the menu option next to the folder, and click “Download.”
Once you click download, your music files will begin to download, ready for offline playback in CloudBeats or your preferred music app.
Wirelessly Transfer Using Airdroid
If you don’t have a USB cable handy, you can use AirDroid to transfer files between your PC and Android device instead.
Install the app onto your Android device and sign up for an AirDroid account (or sign in if you already have one). You’ll then need to download the AirDroid client for your PC.
AirDroid supports Windows and macOS, but it also has a web interface to let you upload files using your browser. Once it’s downloaded, sign in with the same AirDroid account as your Android device.
Once you’ve logged in on both devices, you should see your Android device listed under “My Devices” on your PC. If you do, click “Files” on the side menu.
Click either “SD Card” or “External SD.” “SD Card” means, in this instance, your internal storage while “External SD” is your external SD card. Right-click inside the folders area and create a new folder by selecting “New Folder.”
Rename this to something obvious like “Music” or “Music Collection.”
Open up Windows File Manager, select your files (although not folders, if you have only the free version of AirDroid), and begin dragging them to the folder you’ve created in AirDroid.
AirDroid will then upload these files to your Android device wirelessly. When that’s done, you can then access them in a music app of your choice.
Upload to Google Play Music
Google likes to keep you tied into Google services, and we’d previously recommended Google Play Music as a good way for you to sync your music collection to your Android device.
Note: Google Play Music is set to be retired and “eventually” replaced by YouTube Music in the near future.
For the time being, however, you can use the Google Play Music Manager to take advantage of this free 100,000 song storage. This tool will scan your PC, checking common folders (like those iTunes would use) or any folders you personally select for music files.
When Music Manager scans those folders, it’ll begin uploading your files to Google Play Music. You’ll then be able to access your music collection through the Google Play Music app on your smartphone, or through your PC via the Google Play Music website.
You don’t have to stick around to watch your music upload as Music Manager will begin uploading immediately.
The files, once uploaded, will then be available in your Google Play Music app.
It’s important to point out that information on what will happen to your collection when Google kills off Play Music isn’t currently available. The company will likely announce whether or not your files will be moving over with you to YouTube Music when an end date for Google Play Music is announced.