Transfer files between a Mac and Samsung Galaxy S6

Sometimes you might find yourself in a situation where you need to transfer a file from an Apple Mac to an Android phone, or transfer one from an Android phone to a Mac. Bluetooth is the answer.

Bluetooth is a low power wireless networking technology that works over short distances. Basically, if you are in the same room as another Bluetooth device, you can connect to it and transfer files.

The Apple Mac has Bluetooth built in and so do mobile phones and tablets. This means that you can transfer files from a Mac to a phone or tablet, or transfer one from a mobile device to a Mac.

This would be too easy with an iPhone and a Mac because they are both made by Apple and in theory at least, it should be a piece of cake to connect them and transfer files.

This article shows how to connect the Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Mac so that you can transfer files from one to the other, wirelessly using nothing more than Bluetooth. Not a cable in sight.

You may be surprised to learn that it was actually quite easy and it took seconds to connect the two devices. Bluetooth is not a fast wireless technology, so file transfers are a little slow compared to Wi-Fi, but you never know when this technique might be useful.

No extra software is required and everything you need is on the Mac and the phone. Let’s transfer a file from the Apple Mac to the Samsung Galaxy S6

Turn on Bluetooth

On the Mac, go to the Applications folder, open Utilities and run Bluetooth File Exchange. If Bluetooth is switched off there is a button to switch it on. Click it if necessary.

Bluetooth File Exchange Mac

Select the file

A file selector window opens and you can browse the disk drive and select the file that you want to send to the phone.

Bluetooth file transfer in OS X

Pair with the phone

If the phone has Bluetooth turned on, it will appear in this window. If it is turned off, go to the Settings app on the phone and in the Connections section, find Bluetooth and switch it on. Galaxy S6 appears in the window and the Pair button should be clicked to connect the Mac to the phone.

Bluetooth File Exchange

Pairing two Bluetooth devices creates a wireless connection between them so that data can be transferred. Unlike Wi-Fi where anything can connect to anything, Bluetooth is between two devices and a security code is displayed on the Mac’s screen.

Bluetooth pairing

This should also be displayed on the phone (use the Scan function on the phone if not) and if the two match, you should allow the connection on the phone. This then pairs the Mac and phone. On the phone you can see that it is paired with a MacBook Pro.

Bluetooth on Samsung Galaxy S6

Send the file

Back on the Mac, the Galaxy S6 can now be selected in the Send File window. Don’t worry that it says Not Connected. It says that because we are not yet sending anything. The connection is made when the file is sent. Click Galaxy S6 and send the file selected earlier.

Bluetooth File Exchange

More security... The Mac attempts to send the file, but you must look on the phone for a message saying the Mac is trying to send a file. Select the option to allow/accept the file transfer. (Security features in Bluetooth prevent unauthorised people trying to pair and to send files. You don’t want strangers connecting to your Mac or phone and transferring files to it when you are at a public Wi-Fi hotspot.)

Send file via Bluetooth

Once the transfer is accepted on the phone (don’t wait too long or it may time out), the file is transferred. It ends up in the Download folder on the phone.

Send file via Bluetooth

Transfer files from Android to the Mac

So far we have looked at transferring files from the Mac to the phone, what about transferring files from the phone to the Mac. This is slightly different.

Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner and open System Preferences. Click Sharing and tick Bluetooth Sharing in the service list.

Bluetooth file sharing OS X

There are some useful settings on the right, such as When receiving items, and Folder for accepted items. Accept and Save puts the Mac into automatic mode and files sent from the phone will be automatically saved to the Downloads folder. You can change these settings if you wish, but they are convenient as they are.

Share via Bluetooth

On the phone you need to open whatever item you want to send to the Mac. Here is a photo in the Gallery app. Down at the bottom of the screen is a Share button. Tap it to view the sharing options and select Bluetooth.

Share files on the Samsung Galaxy S6

You are asked to select the device to send it to and the MacBook Pro is listed. It has already been paired from earlier, so you can just tap it to select it. If this is the first time the two have been used, you would have to go through a pairing process in which a code is displayed on the screen of both devices and you would then accept the pairing on the Mac.

Share files via Bluetooth on Android

Accept and Save is set in System Preferences, so the Mac accepts the file and saves it to the Downloads folder.

Receive files via Bluetooth on the Mac

You can open a Finder window afterwards and open the file for viewing or editing. The first time you do this it might seem like a long winded process, but once everything is set up, it is a lot easier to send more files to the phone from the Mac or to the Mac from the phone.





Thank You this helped alot

I have had a mac for years but not been able to get around this function until today. Thank you so much for putting this together.

Thanks for the information, I have an s6 and mac book pro and got so close with these steps, however when I try to upload photos or "browse device" I get "This device does not have the necessary services" Any ideas?

Instead of going to Browse Device, go to Set Up Bluetooth Device (System preferences, Network , Set Up Bluetooth Device). For some weird reason, my Samsung Galaxy S6 is not connecting to my Mac, but if I enable the menubar Bluetooth icon I can select Galaxy S6, Send File to Device. It sends the file to the phone. Go to System Preferences, Sharing and enable File Sharing and Bluetooth Sharing, it might be necessary.

do they go to the photos app on the iMac or just to desktop? tried android file transfer and it said photos f rom s6 were not compatible with iMac photos!

The photos are not compatible? I cannot see a reason why. What is the file extension? Can you double click photos and view them in Preview? They should be standard JPEGs and they should open in Preview. If they do, they should import into Photos.

Thank you!! This is real slick. Your instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Do you have tips for using SmartSwitch for transferring multiple files? I thought it was supposed to be able to do that but I could only see how to back up my device on my MAC. Would like to switch up my playlist on my phone. Thanks.

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