by James A. Martin

AirDroid: The Best Way to Manage Your Android via Desktop Browser

May 09, 20122 mins

The free AirDroid app lets you easily manage the contents of your Android device, including photos, music files, and text messages, via your desktop browser. And a recent update added a number of cool new features.

Managing Android devices on your computer is a hit-or-miss affair, especially if you use a Mac. Sand Studio’s free AirDroid app handles the job quite nicely. And last week’s update (v 1.0.5) adds a set of handy new features, including the ability to take a screen shot of your Android device’s display from your desktop Web browser.

AirDroid connects an Android OS smartphone or tablet to a Windows, Mac, or Linux browser over a secure, https connection. Once connected, you can do lots of things with your Android gadget using your computer screen and full-sized keyboard. (The browser you use is largely irrelevant. However, you can do a few minor tasks in Google’s Chrome, such as copy music folders, that you can’t do in other browsers.)

You can drag and drop files to transfer them between devices; receive, send, forward, and delete text messages; manage your Android device’s contacts, apps, and ringtones; delete, view, upload and download photos and set an image as wallpaper; copy clipboard text between your computer and handheld; and manage MP3, OGG, and WAV audio files. Unfortunately, the app won’t let you transfer DRM-free iTunes songs.

AirDroid Android app screen shot

The latest AirDroid software update adds a handful of value features and functionality. I love the ability to login simply by snapping a QR code on my desktop browser screen. If you grant the app root permission, you can also take a screenshot of your Android device or record a screencast using your computer’s browser. Another new feature lets you view in your desktop browser, at full-screen size, videos recorded on your Android—without having to upload the files first. Love that, too. 

AirDroid isn’t the only app that helps manage your Android device using your computer. Some are specifically geared toward file transfer, such as Wi-Fi File Transfer (free). Others, such as doubleTwist Player, focus on managing and moving your music files. (Read “How to Transfer Your iTunes Library to an Android Device” for my review of doubleTwist Player.) AirDroid combines multiple Android device management tasks in one intuitive set of tools—and it’s free. Love that even more.