Microsoft’s Photos Companion App Lets You Quickly Transfer Pics from your Phone to a Windows 10 PC
Back in November 2017, we wrote about an in-development Microsoft app for iOS and Android that let users quickly transfer pics and videos to a Windows 10 PC. Now, Microsoft Garage, Microsoft’s skunkworks lab for experimental mobile apps, has released it publicly. It’s called Photos Companion, and it’s available for iOS and Android devices starting today.
“The biggest hurdle many classrooms faced was getting the content students had captured with their phones onto their project PCs,” Microsoft’s Photos team wrote in a blog post Thursday. “Our solution was to build an app that would support direct wireless transfer between any phone or mobile device and the Windows 10 Photos app on any Windows 10 PC.”
Transferring files with Photos Companion is just as easy as it sounds. To get started, download the app from the Play Store.
Next, switch to your Windows 10 PC and launch the Photos app. Click the three-dot menu in the upper right-hand corner of the window, and then click Settings. Scroll down to the Preview submenu and select Join Photos preview. Read the disclaimer, checkmark the box indicating you’ve done so, and click Join now.
After you’ve done that, click on the Import button and select From mobile over Wi-Fi from the drop-down. You’ll see a pop-up containing a QR code. Now, switch back to your phone, launch the Photos Companion app, and scan said QR code. (Unfortunately, you’ll have to repeat this step every time you open the app — your PC and phone won’t remain paired after you’ve closed it.)
You’ll immediately get a thumbnail grid of every pic and video stored on your phone’s memory. Unfortunately, Photos Companion dumps them into a single gallery — there isn’t a search tool, filtering option, or directory browser to speak of. (Here’s hoping that’s coming.) Select the photo (or photos) you want to transfer to your PC, and hit the Done button in the top-left corner once you’ve finished.
You’ll see a transfer screen that shows the number of items left in the queue. Once the process completes, all of your imported photos will appear in the Imported from Photos Companion and the Photos gallery on your PC.