cell phone

How to transfer photos and ring tones to your cell phone

By far the most frequently asked question I receive at RickySays.com is "How do I transfer a photo from my computer to my cell phone? (or vice versa)"

Cell phone manufacturers often don't ship software with their phones that would do this for free, because they'd rather make money on transfer fees. Windows doesn't provide much help either.

For example, I bought a Motorola Razr v3 phone and it only came with a user's manual and a charger; there was no software for transferring any files to my computer, and nothing built into Windows XP or Vista that would recognize my phone.

Fortunately there are a few ways to transfer photos or ring tones from your PC to your cell phone (or from your cell phone to your PC):

  1. Email
  2. USB Data Cable
  3. Bluetooth

I'll discuss each of these approaches in this article.

Transfer using email

You can send your phone an email with the photo or ring tone as a file attachment. For AT&T/Cingular customers the email address is your_number@cingularme.com. For example, if your cell phone number is 691-548-1294 then you'd send an email to 6915481294@cingularme.com and it would arrive as a text message on your cell phone.

Once you receive the text message on your cell phone, you can view the photo or ring tone and save it as your wallpaper or in your phone's audio library. On the Motorola Razr, when you view the picture you can select the "Set as Wallpaper" menu option.

The downside to this approach is that it costs money to read text messages - as much as a penny a kilobyte. This might not sound like much, but when you consider that most pictures are about 75kb that adds up to about 75 cents for each photo that you send.

Of course cell phone companies want you to transfer photos from your cell phone using email, because that way they can charge your for the data transfer.

Use Your Cell Phone as a Laptop Modem (PC and Mac)

I recently started a new job in a downtown office that's right off the bus line. I decided to start commuting to save money on gas, since I live 18 miles away. I wanted a way to connect my laptop to the Internet so I could get some work done or catch up on email on the way.

I was able to connect my Macbook Pro laptop to the Internet using my Bluetooth-enabled Motorla RAZR cell phone as a modem. You should be able to get up and running with these instructions in about 15 minutes, and I'll explain how to do it with both Mac and PC/Windows laptops.

Here's what you'll need for a tethered laptop-cell-phone

  • Bluetooth-enabled cell phone (mine is a Motorola Razr V3, but a 3G phone is much faster when it comes to Internet data transfers)
  • Bluetooth-enabled laptop, or a laptop with a Bluetooth adapter. You can also use a USB data cable connection kit if your phone doesn't support Bluetooth.
  • Internet data plan or a dial-up Internet account. I used the MediaNet internet plan with AT&T ($19.99 a month for unlimited internet). You can also use a dial-up Internet connection (about $5 a month through PeoplePC).

1. Pair your Bluetooth phone with your laptop

Configure your phone's BlueTooth settings to make it visible to your PC or Mac. On a Razr phone use the following menu options:

Settings --> Connection --> BlueTooth Link --> Setup --> Find Me

How to transfer pictures from a RAZR phone to a PC

Question: "It seems like the only way I can get pictures from my phone to my computer is to email them, which costs about 75 cents a picture depending on the picture size (at least with my Cingular wireless service plan). Is there another way to transfer them?"

Answer: Yes, there are two other ways to transfer photos from your Razr phone to your PC (or vice versa) without paying any wireless provider fees:

  1. USB Data Cable
  2. Bluetooth

I'll discuss each of these approaches in this article.

Transfer Pictures To Your PC with a USB Data Cable

Cell phone manufacturers want you to transfer photos from your cell phone using email, because that way they can charge your for the data transfer. However, if you have a USB data cable or a bluetooth connector (discussed below), then you can transfer pictures, video, and ringtones directly without recurring carrier service fees.

You'll need software to recognize your cell phone and handle the transfer with a USB data cable. There are several affordable programs that will let you transfer photos, videos, and ring tones from your cell phone to your PC. They also let you copy them from your PC to your cell phone.

Motorola PhoneTools

Motorola's PhoneTools software is built specifically for Motorola phones like the RAZR or the new KRAZR.

PhoneTools allows you to transfer photos and videos directly from your Razr phone to your PC (or from a PC to your Razr phone). The PhoneTools' Multimedia Studio and File Transfer Studio let you see all your photos, audio and video clips in the same window. You'll see your computer on the left and your phone on the right.