This app makes file transfer between Android devices and Mac computers a breeze

If you use a device that runs on Apple’s macOS like a MacBook then you probably know how much of a pain it is to transfer files between an Android device and that particular machine.

When transferring files between, say a MacBook or an iMac computer and an Android smartphone or tablet, one has to install the very dated Android File Transfer app in order to get the necessary drivers and all.

While doing so guarantees access to the mobile device’s file system and quick drag and drop transfers (where it works, that is, I’ve personally had very little luck there), transferring larger files (more than 4 gigabytes in capacity) always presents a challenge. Don’t get me started on the usual quick exits of the app in the middle of a transfer forcing you to start all over again.

My quick fix, for the last one year that I have had a MacBook Pro as one of my go-to devices for my day-to-day tasks, has been religiously utilizing USB OTG on my devices to get any files I need on my Mac from the phone to a thumb drive and then onwards from the thumb drive to the MacBook. See how tedious and repetitive that is? What is this? 2005?

Part of doing so is because of the limited ports situation on the MacBook (USB-C to USB-C cables are not in plenty in my collection) but, mainly, it has to do with the unreliability of the Android File Transfer app and its related processes that hardly play nice with macOS, least of all, the latest version, Catalina.

So now, what to do?

Well, other than crude workarounds like the ones I have been employing in order to stay sane and still get my work done, going forward users have a better option in a new application, OpenMTP, that has popped up to address these woes.

OpenMTP will identify and distinguish between files on the device’s internal flash storage and those on an SD card where one is available.

OpenMTP pairs a visually-pleasing user interface with easy-to-use shortcuts (see list below).

Unfortunately, OpenMTP doesn’t, yet, work with devices from the world’s largest maker of Android devices, Samsung. That may change in coming days but for now, only users of devices from other brands can give it a spin.

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Here is a list of shortcuts to use with OpenMTP:

  • New Folder: command+n
  • Copy: command+c
  • Copy to Queue: command+shift+c
  • Paste: command+v
  • Delete: backspace
  • Refresh: command+r
  • Folder Up: command+b
  • Select All: command+a
  • Rename: command+d
  • Open: enter
  • Switch Tab: command+1
  • Navigate Left: left
  • Navigate Right: right
  • Navigate Up: up
  • Navigate Down: down
  • Select Multiple Items Forward (for Grid view): shift+left
  • Select Multiple Items Backward (for Grid view): shift+right
  • Select Multiple Items Forward (for List view): shift+up
  • Select Multiple Items Backward (for List view): shift+down
  • Select Multiple Items (using mouse): command+click or shift+click

Download OpenMTP for your Mac here.

NB: For those with Android File Transfer already installed, you may need to uninstall it. This hasn’t been the case for me but OpenMTP does warn that it may need to be done away with in the event that even after installation, your device isn’t being detected (and you have already given the necessary permissions via the notification dropdown).

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com