Android File Copying – Watching Paint Dry

Am I just being unlucky here? I copy huge volumes of files on my Windows 10 (64-bit) PC all the time – and today I decided I had FAR too many phone-related files (downloads, photos and video) all over the place. I started by taking my PC “screenshots” folder” and moving the contents to PC “oldscreenshots” – hence making a fresh start on files I grab from the phone to my PC for use on Facebook, the blog etc. That of course went without a hitch.

Then it came time to tidy up the phone (Pocophone X3 NFC – which does most things quite quickly using Android 11 and which was last updated this morning). I remembered that on the phone I started some time ago to use an SD for photos and videos – then somehow forgot and reverted to using internal storage. So, this morning, using USB 3 which both the phone and the PC support (WiFi is WAY too slow) I copied the SD-based DCIM folder over to the PC. “30 minutes” it said… and 30 minutes it took, indeed.

I figured while doing that, I would copy the DCIM folder from “Internal storage” on the phone to the same place on the PC- so that at least I could go back to bed while the PC and phone fought it out. NO CHANCE, it seems. The phone reported “This device is currently busy and its contents may not be fully displayed…” – end of that plan – but WHY in 2021 can’t Android handle multiple copies at once?

And if this is typical – what’s going to happen when we all have 108Mpx+ cameras on the phone – and record 4K video as standard as some already do? There HAS to be a better way? I can do 4K 60fps video on my phone but after watching paint dry here in the office while writing this blog entry – I’m wondering if I even want to try…

Before we even look at the “top” brands like Apple and Samsung, the Xiaomi REdmi K40 Pro+, Xiaomi Mi 11, Mi 10 5G, Mi 10 Pro 5G, Mi 10i 5G and Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G all appear have 108MP main cameras as does the Motorola Edge+ – ok, I know the arguments – number of pixels isn’t everything – personally I’d rather the manufacturers concentrated on sensor size – as night shots, especially photographing stars, remains an issue for most of these phones. Decent TRULY optical zoom would be nice but I digress…

Once that half-hour copy experience from the SD) was over, it was time to copy the INTERNAL STORAGE images and videos over… “calculating the time required to copy the files…” – “26 minutes remaining”. Just to keep this in perspective, as well as USB 3, I have all solid-state drives on the PC – I blogged about these some time ago and the drive I did all this writing to, handles up to 280MB/s- so this HAS to be the phone, surely?

I’ve a new Insta360 camera and I dread to think how long my first proper attempts at 5K+ video will take to copy across.

Thankfully, DELETING the original files went far more smoothly than the copying – so now my phone has almost twice as much available storage – a light at the end of my weekend tunnel – and I did get some tech blogging done in the meantime.


8 thoughts on “Android File Copying – Watching Paint Dry

  1. Hi Pete,

    I’ve struggled with the same as you for years – transferring files to and from Android. I thought USB was the best idea – fast – no network – I was wrong…

    Look at apps like “AirMore”. These let you access your phone via a browser on your local LAN and do lots of things including downloading files and photos.

    I use AirMore and it was a game changer for me – give it a try and see if it ticks the “Pete” box too…?

    1. Ok, I installed airmore on the phone – scanned the code in the PC browser and it seemlessly transfered a bunch of pics to the PC. I’ll have to get some video back on the phone to see if it is actually fast – I can put the phone on 5Ghz WiFi – but it LOOKS ok – thanks for that Darren – new tools are always welcome. I’m wondering whwre the catch is.,… limite duse or ads? Not seen anything yet..

    1. Hi Michael

      You sure about that? Xiaomi say USB-C 2.0 and the best I could find on the subject is this:

      “Most USB-C ports are built on the second-generation USB 3.1 data-transfer standard, which can theoretically deliver data at speeds of up to 10Gbps — twice as fast as USB 3.0 and first-gen USB 3.1, which both top out at 5Gbps. The key is to get devices that say “USB 3.1 Rev 2,” “USB 3.1 Gen 2,” “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps,” or “SuperSpeed+” to get support for the faster spec.

      Confusing matters more, the current USB 3.2 standard is mostly a restatement of USB 3.1 specs. For instance, USB 3.2 Gen 1 and 2 are the same as USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 2. The new spec that’s actually noteworthy is USB 3.2 Gen 2X2, which has a pair of 10Gbps lanes of data traffic available for a total of 20Gbps. So far, however, it hasn’t caught on with device manufacturers, so it’s hard to find it on any devices in the wild. That might change in the coming year as new controller chips come out.”

      If you definitely know better, pleae do drop a note in here..

      1. Hey Peter! Hope this comment finds you well.

        The thing about USB is that despite whatever interface/connector you’re using, you may or may not solder just whatever wires you need in order to achieve the desired outcome.

        What I mean is, you can solder a USB-C connector to a USB 2.0 lane and controller and still have it work like you would expect, but with a newer standard, reversible connector (albeit limited to 480Mbps).

        Or you can make the USB-C connector itself capable of running at 3.1 speeds but then artificially limiting your throughoutput to 2.0 speeds through firmware.

        In Xiaomi’s case however, it seems they did not do software limitation and just didn’t upgrade the USB controller for the data trasnfer. They’ve upgraded the connector to USB-C (as there were only the benefit of a new standard and reversible connectors) but they didn’t upgrade everything else. Meaning that it only uses 4 pins (GND, VCC, TX, RX) instead of the complex 12 pairs (24 pins, 12 to each side to allow for the reversible feature) of the USB 3+ spec.

        That move seems stupid but aligns very well with our Chinese comrade company. Xiaomi wants you to use their own cloud for their integrated backup, copy-catting how Apple operates with their iPhones. How many iPhone users really rely on USB data transfers these days? Sure there are those that do, but the majority does not. So, likewise to Apple, the USB data transfer speeds are secondary to unimportant at all to Xiaomi, as long as they deliver at least as much as they already did in the past (so that customers can’t complain).

        Samsung however sports USB 3+ since the Galaxy S10 lineup (maybe even earlier), because Samsung has DeX so it benefits a lot from high speed data transfers (it actually needs USB 3 to operate comfortably) with A/V demuxing, USB transfer AND charging.

  2. It could be that the usb connection is falling back to 2.0 due to a faulty lead or connection.
    Try USBview to see what the actual connection speed is.

    1. Well now, Terry – Michael below seems convinced that USB-C 2.0 is in fact based on USB 2… I’ll wait to hear his response as that’s not what I’ve seen – it doesn’t help that Xiaomi themselves are a bit vague on this. But I’m interested in your point – I could not tell you how many leads I’ve had which produce rubbish or no comms at all. Thinking about it I have short USB-C to USB-C lead and an adaptor from USB-C to USB 3.0 – I should give that a go – that however still doesnt cover my point about being unable to initiate multiple copies at once. I do that from PC to PC – even over the network, all the time.

      I tend to use thick leads these days but of course that doesn’t actually tell you much about comms – if you’re lucky it might help with charging. My Poco X3 NFC does quick-charge no problem given the right lead but again that doesn’t help here.

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