Using a USB cable to move files between your Android device and your computer is … well, it’s so early 2000s, isn’t it? With wifi, if not ubiquitous, then widespread, there’s no reason why you should need to plug your device into your computer to do anything.
As long as you have some wifi available and the right app, you can turn your Android device into a mini web server, which lets you share files between your device and your computer. Let’s take a look at how to do just that with an app called Dooblou Wifi File Explorer.
You can download and install Dooblou Wifi File Explorer from the Android Market. There are two version: free, and Pro which costs just under $2 (USD). Using the free version, you can’t download, copy, or delete files. This article will look at the Pro version.
Once you’ve installed the app, turn on wifi on your Android device. You can do this using the widget on a home screen. If you’re using a wifi hotspot that you’ve visited before, then your device will automatically connect to it. If not, then manually connect to the hotspot by tapping Settings -> Wireless & Networks -> Wi-Fi Setting and then tapping the name of the hotspot to which you want to connect.
Next, start up Wifi File Explorer on your device.
When the application starts, you’ll be given a URL – for example http://126.96.36.199:8000. Just type that into the address bar of your Web browser to connect to Wifi File Explorer.
If you’re a bit paranoid, you can add a password that you (or anyone else) can use when you connect to Wifi File Explorer’s URL. To do that, tap the menu key on your device and then tap Settings. Then, tap Require Password and tap Password. Type the password in the text box that opens and then tap OK.
Now, you’re ready to go.
Using Wifi File Explorer
Type the URL for Wifi File Explorer in your browser’s address bar. If you set a password, you’ll be asked to enter it. Then, you’re at the main screen for Wifi File Explorer.
The screen is structured like a conventional file manager. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do with Wifi File Explorer
Obviously, a listing of directories isn’t all that useful. You’ll want to dig into those directories to get to your files. To do that, just click on a link to the left to open a directory.
One the most common task you’ll perform is to upload files to your device. To upload a file, scroll to the bottom of the page. Then, click the Choose File button.
In the window that opens, find the file that you want to upload and then click Open. Back in your browser, click the Upload Files button.
You can’t upload multiple files. Well, you can but first you have to archive them into a zip file. Then, upload the zip file. Once that file is uploaded, unzip it and delete the archive. It’s a bit of work.
To download a file, click the Download link to the right of the name of the file. If you want to download several files at once, click to select the checkbox to the far right of the names of the files that you want to download. Then, click the Download Selected button.
Deleting a file is just as easy. You can either click the Delete link to the right of the name of the file, or select several files and then click the Delete Selected button.
If you have music on your device, you can stream it to a computer. Just go to the directory containing the music, and then click the Streaming Media Playlist button. This downloads a file with the extension .m3u. You can open this file in any media player, and it will play all the tracks on your device.
Shutting It Down
Once you’re finished, shutting down Wifi File Explorer is easy. Just turn off the wifi connection using the widget on your device’s home screen. Once the connection is broken, Wifi File Explorer shuts down.
Just remember to wait until any uploads or downloads are finished before you turn off your wifi connection.
Not having to connect an Android device to a computer with a USB cable is liberating. And with the widespread availability of wifi, using an app like Dooblou Wifi File Explorer makes sense. It just makes your digital life that much easier.
Photo credit: svilen001