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How to transfer photos and ring tones to your cell phone

By far the most frequently asked question I get from people 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 long ago 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 even recognized my phone.

Here are a few ways to transfer photos or ring tones from your computer to your cell phone: 1. USB Data Cable 2. Bluetooth 3. Email 4. Text Message

If you have a smart phone... these aren't the droids you're looking for. If you don't have a smart phone (iphone, android, etc) then you might still find this article useful. 

Transfer with a USB data cable

You can transfer as many photos or ring tones as you like to your cell phone in one shot, using a USB Data Cable that connects your computer to your cell phone. Windows does not come with software to recognize your phone and handle the file transfer however, so you'll need a copy of DataPilot (or similar program) which works with all major phone types.

Fire up DataPilot and plug one end of the USB data cable into your phone and the other end into the USB port on your computer. DataPilot will display a list of the existing photos, ring tones, and videos on your cell phone.

Choose the folder on your PC that contains the files you want to move, select the files (or folders) and click the transfer button to copy them over to your cell phone. You can also copy the other way, and use DataPilot to transfer photos or ring tones from your cell phone to your computer, and they have a version of DataPilot for the Mac that works the same way.

Transfer using a Bluetooth connection

You can also transfer photos, ring tones, and videos from your computer to your cell phone using a wireless Bluetooth connection.Bluetooth is built into most computer systems and has a 30-foot range.

If you have Bluetooth enabled on your system, you'll see a Bluetooth icon in the lower right side of your Windows task bar. You can also open your Control Panel from the Start button, and if you don't see a Bluetooth icon then you don't have Bluetooth on your system.

If your computer doesn't have Bluetooth built-in, you can get a Bluetooth adapter like this one, that plugs into one of your USB ports).

Most phones ship with Bluetooth disabled to save on battery life, so you'll first need to enable Bluetooth on your phone, and then pair it with your computer. I've covered Bluetooth pairing in another article titled How to Pair a Bluetooth Device with your Computer.

Once you've paired your Bluetooth phone with your computer, you can easily transfer files over the wireless Bluetooth connection.

Transfer using Email

Not all phones support email, but most people have smart phones (iPhone, Android, etc) that let you send and receive email. If that's the case then you can just send yourself an email with your photos attached, and that email will show up on your phone... download the attachments from the email on your phone, and you're good to go.

However, if you have a lot of files to transfer, these first two approaches can mean a lot of emails or text messages.

Transfer using Text Messaging

You can send a text message from your computer just by using the right email address, and attaching the photo or ring tone to the email message. 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.

I had one quesion. How do I Email pictures from my RAZR phone to my
email?? I notice that your article says that it cost like 75cents to do that. Can you please help me out. Thanks bro.


I have a Motorola Razr as well. Here's how you email a photo:

  1. View the picture on your phone (Menu --> Multimedia --> Pictures).
  2. Press Menu and then choose the "Send in Message" option.
  3. Select [One Time Entry].
  4. Use the # key to change to text entry (we want to enter an email address in the phone number field.
  5. Enter your email address.

That's all there is to it :-)

As the new owner of a Motorola MOTOKRZR K1m phone through Verizon, I discovered that through some lovely logic, Verizon has decided to purposely block this feature on their phones using their software. However, you can get around it using the Motorola Software Update and a program called P2kCommander. Here is a page with good details on how to use P2kCommander to upload ring tones to your Verizon phone.

Thanks for the info Steve - I'm sure this will be very helpful for those folks who are using Verizon phones!

Why won't this be helpful to verizon customers. Can you not send it in a txt form with verizon?

Nope ! Verizon strips the mp3 attachment out of the text message.

Wow, thanks for this! I was about to just give up on this before I found that guide. (:

If text messaging is in my plan...where I pre-pay for a certain # of text messages, do I still get charged for sending a picture from email to my phone?

How can I send a picture to my nextel phone from email...my phone # is 815 955 5529

I have been sending pics from my Iphone 3G to the number@messaging.nextel.com. Just recently I noticed they're showing up in my Windows live hotmail sent folder. They never did before. My question is would the pictures I'm sending to the nextel cell phone as an e-mail also show up in this person's computer e-mail? It was a pain to delete out of my folder on my computer & I don't want them to have to do this as well. Please advise.

Are DataPilot and RMS2 only compatible with PCs? I ask because I have a Mac; am I out of luck?

Hi Derek,

Fortunately, DataPilot is available for both the Mac and PC :-)

Here's a link to their site: http://www.rickysays.com/datapilot
Once you're there, click the Products link and you'll see a link to DataPilot for the Mac.

how do u get ringtones onto a VERIZON phone????

I have been trying to figure out how to transfer my phone photos directly to my computer via cable. I haven't had any luck. Can you help. I have an Alltel Motorazr V3 and am running Vista on my laptop. Thanks

i am haveing a huge issue with my cell phone i use a samsung a737 its a att phone

i try 2 send my phone a ring tone /wall papper and pics to my phone in email i did all the stuff your saying 2 do but wen it shows as a text it has no file attacment its just got a line saying from and and then a thing saying --------------------- and a werid yahoo message i am lost with it cause its dumb they will let the text go thro but not the file any ideas?

i added a ringtone to an email as an attachment and sent it to my phone. i recieved it as a text msg but i saw no place where i could open the attachment in the msg. what should i do?

Same problem here, with not being able to open attachments on my Cricket! Get pics sent to me though. If you find a way to get around this let me know

How do I get it sent to my verizon phone?

A USB data cable comes with the DataPilot software program discussed in the article above.

Hi, I am able to transfer ringtones to my motorola krazr k1, i am also able to hear them. They are recorded on the micro sd card that i have in the phone. I am unable to set them as a ringtone when people call, I have noticed that the icon next to the name of the song isn't exactly like the other ringtones included in the phone. I am also unable to copy the file from the sd card to the phone because the option isn't available. Do you have a solution for me????

Have you figured this one out? I have the same issue with my KRZR. I have the disc that came with it, to creat the ringtone, and transfer to the phone, but once it's in there, there doesn't seem to be a way to set it as a ringtone.

I wonder if the music file is DRM-protected.

Does it have a regular mp3 file extension, or is it a .m4p extension? (the format that itunes uses for DRM-protected music files... which can't be used on cell phones).

When someone emails me a picture FROM a pc TO my cell phone, it just shows the attachment name as text, along with any text the person wrote. It won't show the actual picture. How can I get the picture to show, not just the attachment name?

Any help?

I use an Alltel LG AX245.

Kind of a cheap phone, so will I need to go online to see these pictures? axcessmypics.com?

em i have a razr and when i try to email from my computer to my phone it just comes in as jiberish and i dont get my picture / ringtone

any help this is what im doing exactly

i use msn hotmail and i send it to 7853464726@message.alltel.com

i attach the photo and i click send ill get the message but not the photo

any help?

I just got two new phones for me and my wife, both Samsung. Mine's a t639 and my wife has a t819. I emailed an mp3 to my phone and it worked great(a little bit quiet). I sent one to my wife, and it seemed to compress the file because it sounds horrible! I sent it as 600k and it was received as 25k! Any ideas?

FYI, Ringtone Media Studio will only transfer from PC to phone. Bluetooth connection will not work with phones that have file transfer function locked (disabled by mfr at the request of carrier)

Yuor post was helpful, but here's my problem. I have the mp3 ringtone downloaded to my phone, it is in my sounds folder, it will play in my sounds folder, but I can't set it as a ringtone. The service I'm on is Alltel. I downloaded the tone from funfor mobile.com. Is there any hope?

i have the same problem as gary, i have the mp3, it'll play.. but no "set as ringtone" option.. anything i can do?

i dont have have a set as ringtone option, please help me!

did you copy it to the phones memory first? you cant set a song stored on a flash card as a ringtone without copying it

Hey wazzup. Per your recomendation, I bought the Datapilot software. I already have a USB that can connect my cell and my PC. However, I am not able to read the pics from my phone. From page 44 of the user manual, it says in order to transfer pics from my cell to my PC, I go to image editor, then on menu bar I do communication and then read. But "read" is kinda dimmed out. Is there some software or hardware that is supposed to come to me in the mail here and I am just being impatient or is there something I am doing wrong to transfer the pics from my cell to my PC?

I appreciate any help you can give.



Dear Rick,

I read over all this, but i was wondering, can you email a picture or mp3 file if you have Verizon? Or is it only for Att and T-Mobile? Anybody know?

Yes, you can do email with Verizon, but you can't transfer via usb data cable.

It's yournumber@vzwpix.com ... with no dashes. I have Verizon myself and I do this all the time!!!

Hope this helps :o)

I was able to attach and email a ringtone to my ATT Matrix and received the text message but the ringtone is not attached. What do I do?

what is the email for verizon??? please please please answer.


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