How to save any file to your phone so you have it when you need it
Having files actually saved on your phone means you won’t be cut off on long plane or train rides without an internet connection, ensures you won’t have to wait an age for large files to download, and can significantly reduce the strain on your phone’s data plan while you’re away from home.
Whether you’re prepping for a trip without a reliable link to the web, or you just want a safety net in case your Wi-Fi goes down, you can save just about any file to your phone if you need to.
Transferring files on Windows and macOS
The user interface on Windows after you’ve connected a phone to your computer.
Accessing an Android phone in Windows File Explorer is straightforward. David Nield
You can just plug your phone into your computer and transfer files that way, though iPhones are a little more restrictive than Android phones regarding what you can and can’t do using this method.
If you’re on a Mac, a plugged-in iPhone will show up in Finder. Click the iPhone entry in the navigation pane on the left, open the Files tab, and you’ll be able to drag and drop files over. The only restriction is that you’ll have to select one or more apps to open the file—the apps on your iPhone will all be listed in the Files tab.
For moving files between a Mac and an Android phone, you’ll need the free Android File Transfer tool from Google. Once it’s installed, you’ll be able to see a connected Android phone, and drag and drop files between it and your Apple computer.
Over on Windows, plug an iPhone in and it’ll show up in File Explorer after a few seconds. However, you’ll only have access to the photo and video folder for transferring files. Plug in an Android phone, on the other hand, and you’ll be able to access all of the device’s folders in File Explorer. If your device doesn’t show up, tap the Android system notification on your phone and select the file transfer option from the list that appears.
Saving files from cloud storage
The Dropbox menu that lets you make files available offline and save them to your phone.
Like most cloud storage apps, Dropbox lets you sync files to your phone. David Nield
Using a cloud storage service and app is often an even easier option for transferring files to and from your phone—you’ll just need to make sure the relevant app is installed on both your phone and your computer, that syncing is enabled, and that the files you need are marked as being stored on the phone.
In the Files app for iOS, you can press on a file, then choose Download to sync it to your device. In Google Drive for Android and iOS, tap the three dots next to any file and choose Make available offline. If you’re a OneDrive user, tap the three dots next to any file in your Android or iOS app and choose Make available offline.
Dropbox is another popular cross-platform cloud storage service with apps available for Android and iOS. Tap the three dots next to any folder or file while you’re browsing through the app and you’ll see a Make available offline toggle switch that you can use to sync files to your device.
We can’t cover every cloud storage app, but most will have an offline file sync feature that works in a similar way. Your designated files will then be available at all times, with or without an internet connection.