Moving Your Photos From Android Phone to Your Computer Basic Photography Tips

The Wickenburg Art Club photo classes have started and have brought some surprises that we hadn’t anticipated. We had more attendees than we expected. Over twenty people have shown up each week and they’re asking questions and fully participating. The other thing that surprised me was how many people want to learn how to use the camera on their smartphone. Stan Strange—our resident iPhone expert—conducted the phone class and he was surprised that in his session Android devices outnumbered the Apple phones three to one.

Since Stan didn’t have a lot of experience with the Android Operating System, I decided to do a little research to help out and because I’m ignorant about smart-phones I had to learn the basics. For me, that means getting the images out of the phone and into a computer so you can do editing on an adult size screen. With my old-guy eyes, I can’t see anything on those tiny phone screens. Besides, although I don’t own a smartphone—or any cell phone for that matter—Queen Anne does and she’s collected enough stuff in the last year that she was out of storage space, so we killed a couple of birds using one stick.

Android USB Configuration Page
Android USB Configuration – Once you connect your phone and computer, you’ll need to root around in your configurations so the phone will allow files to be transferred.

Having a computer background, I foolishly thought that all that I needed to do was to connect the phone and computer with a USB cable, but when I did that, I got a message in the file window saying, “This folder is empty.” What I didn’t know is that the phone has to be set up to talk with the computer. Anne’s phone was configured so the USB port could only be used for charging. This is an easy fix. While the phone is connected to the computer via USB cable, touch and hold the area at the screen’s top—where the time and battery icons are—then drag down toward the screen’s center. There should be a box labeled “USB Configuration.”  If you tap on that banner, it will open an applet that exposes the settings to configure the port. For picture transfers, you want to select: “Transferring Media Files” Once you select that option the phone will expose the phone’s files to the computer. Now in Windows Explorer (if you’re using a Mac computer, you’ll need to get specific instructions elsewhere, but they’re generally the same) your phone’s data should show up (either as a phone or a storage device) as a new drive letter and when you open it you will see an item that says “Internal Storage” or something like that. Once you open that item by double-clicking it, there will be a display of the various folders inside.

Internal Storage
Internal Storage – When properly connected, the phone’s internal storage is visible using Windows Explorer.

By consensus, camera manufacturers store images in the DCIM folder, either at the root level or, as in Anne’s phone, a sub-folder named Camera. Once you’ve found your images you are ready to copy or move them to your computer. Unless you have created a specific folder for holding your transfers, you can copy or move your photos from the phone to the computer’s Pictures file you can see in the left frame. You can either drag each image or manually copy and paste if that’s your preference.

App Folders
App Folders – In the phone’s Internal Storage are the application folders. By consensus, camera manufacturers store images in the DCIM folder.

If you only shoot a couple of pictures a month, keeping your images in the Pictures directory will work, but if you’re like me and you’re shooting hundreds or thousands of photos a year, you may want to consider a better file strategy. That’s a topic that I’ll talk about in my next photo tip installment.

Until next time — jw

Back in the Saddle Again

It took a week for the drives to arrive from Amazon and only a couple hours to install and partition them. I spent most of the weekend organizing and restoring all of my files to their original locations. I haven’t done an exhaustive inventory, but it looks like pretty much everything is recovered now. That means that I can start moving forward again instead of treading water waiting for parts to get here.

I should have some new images up on the site later this week and I’ll have an announcement by then about the West of Center show at the Museum. Stay tuned to this channel . . . film at 11:00.

Till then . . . jw

Bad Hair Day

There are some days you should just stay in bed. If you only knew what was coming, you could cancel the alarm, roll over and pull the covers back over your head. I had one of those yesterday. It would be nice if you could skip a day and avoid the day’s headaches, but in reality you’re only postponing the inevitable.

My morning routine begins by starting a pot of coffee and then recording my vitals on a chart that I keep for my doctor. By the time I’m done with the spreadsheet, there’s enough coffee in the pot to squeeze out a starter cup, and I can begin to feel human again. When I tried to open the file yesterday, I got an error message saying that the file didn’t exist. I thought, “Of course it exists, you stupid computer. I keep it in a folder on my Data drive.” As I navigated to find it, I discovered that the drive was missing. It gets worse. As I investigated further I opened up the Windows Disk Management Console and found that the entire physical disk had failed. I had the 2TB disk partitioned into thirds and I kept regular data files on the first section, all the files related to my web site on the second, and all of my photographs on the third. My life flashed before my eyes.

OK, I thought, maybe it’s not all that bad. Maybe the connection had broke, so I rebooted the computer. It didn’t start. The screen was blank with the little circle of dots endlessly going round and round. I gave up and powered down the computer, then went to Anne’s laptop to get diagnostic information. After I got what I needed, I went back and started a four-hour process that ran a surface scan on all the hard drives. When it was finally done, the program said that they were all fine.

I worked all morning and part way into the afternoon trying this-and-that with no success. I finally pulled the derelict drive out of the box and only then did the computer come back to life. I made a few configuration changes and finally the computer was stable again. Then I immediately went to Amazon and ordered a replacement drive. After a couple of hours, I had second thoughts and ordered a second one. Since the box is open, I might as well replace them all. As I’ve said in another forum, the question is not whether a hard drive will fail, but when.

You’re probably questioning about all the missing files. Things like tax returns, letters, databases and thirteen yeas of digital photographs. Fortunately I thought about that several years ago and installed an external drive to make weekly automatic backups. I’ve had two of them actually. The first one got full, so I replaced it with a larger drive. After the new hard disks arrive, it will take me a while to restore the files, but thankfully, I still have a copy of everything.

So here’s a life lesson that I’d like to share. Take care of your teeth . . . and back up your computer. Nuff said.

Till then . . . jw