Update 1, at the bottom of this page, added section: My phone is shown as empty in Windows Explorer after updating to Android Marshmallow. If your phone is recognized, but there are no files shown in Windows explorer, you should read this section to change USB option to MTP mode.
USB cable connection is probably the fastest way for transferring files between your Moto G and PC.
This guide works for Moto E, Moto E 2nd Gen (Moto E 2015), Moto G 2013 (Moto G 1st generation), Moto G 2014 (Moto G 2nd generation) , Moto X 1st generation and Moto X 2nd generation, although in the text, Moto G, not all these 8 devices, is mentioned.
Why/when I need Connect Moto G with PC?
For most Android users, we use this feature mainly for transferring files, photos and videos.
Moto G is not an exception.
You can easily connect Moto G with PC through USB cable. Once Moto G is recognized by the PC, you can:
- transfer files between Moto G and the PC;
- take screenshots for Moto G if you want to take a lot of screen shots. For occasional users, you can always use this guide;
- share your mobile data connection on Moto G with the PC (USB tethering);
- run ADB commands;
- update Moto G firmware;
- and more…
How to install Motorola USB driver on PC so that you can connect Moto G with PC?
To connect Moto G with PC through USB, you must install Motorola USB driver on the PC.
Motorola named the software as Motorola Device Manager, which contains USB drivers and software to connect your Moto G with PC using a USB cable.
You can download the Motorola USB driver for your PC or Mac from: https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/88481 (or: http://goo.gl/DPA8E3)
Once the software is downloaded, you can then install it as other software packages. You need Administrator privileges to install the Motorola USB driver.
On Windows Vista or Windows 7, it is better to run the Motorola USB driver installer as Administrator (even if you are already a member of administrators). You can right click (instead of double click) the downloaded Motorola Device manager 2.4.5, choose “Run as administrator” as shown below:
You should get the normal security warning on installing new software. After acknowledging it, the installation of Motorola USB driver starts.
After clicking Next, you have to agree the terms and conditions of Motorola device manager.
Once you agree the terms, the installer starts to install Motorola USB driver files on your PC.
The installation of Motorola USB driver will take a few minutes. During this period, it may ask you to close some windows.
Anyway, if the installation is successful, you should see the following screen:
Although it is not required, you can reboot the PC before trying to connect Moto G with PC.
How to verify Motorola USB driver installation?
You can verify Motorola USB driver installation in Control panel–programs and features. You should find two entries there as shown below:
On Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, you can also find the Motorola Device manager in All -Programs.
On Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 PCs, you can type Moto in search box and the Motorola Device manager should be listed.
Please note, it is NOT necessary to start the Motorola device manager if you want your PC to recognize Moto G. We will share with you the usage of this software in a future guide.
How to connect Moto G with PC through USB cable?
Once the Motorola USB driver is installed in your PC, you can simply connect Moto G with PC through a normal USB cable.
In some regions, the USB cable is not provided. You can get any micro USB to USB cables from any computer shop. Most Samsung USB cables should work as well.
Once you connect Moto G with PC through a USB cable, Moto G will be recognized by the PC. Moto G, by default, will be listed as a normal media storage as shown below (actually the screenshot is for Moto E):
So, you can manage/transfer all files as if the phone is a USB storage.
On the phone, once you connect Moto G with PC through USB cable, you should see a notification
What are the two modes of USB connections when I connect Moto G with PC?
By default, when you connect Moto G with PC, the connection is established as a media device through Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). This is usually called media device mode or MTP mode.
This is one of the most reliable protocols for transferring files between PC and Moto G. All files can be transferred through such a connection.
The other connection mode is camera mode through Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP).
Under camera mode, only picture folders are accessible in your PC. So, you cannot transfer music files or other types of files.
Please note, camera mode does NOT use your camera on the PC.
What I can do after I connect Moto G with PC ?
As mentioned earlier, you can do a lot of things after you connect Moto G with PC. We are preparing some guides for you:
- Transfer files between PC and Moto G (you already know up to now, if not, post your questions in the comment section below.);
- Take screenshots for Moto G from a PC (coming soon…);
- Update Moto G through USB connection (coming soon…);
- Share Moto G mobile data connection with PC (Moto G USB tethering) (coming soon…);
- Run some ADB commands (coming soon…);
FAQs on Motorola USB driver and how to connect Moto G with PC through USB cable
Q1: My PC is running Windows XP SP2 (or SP1), can I connect Moto G with PC through USB cable?
A1: No, Windows XP SP3 is required for the Motorola USB driver.
Q2: Is this guide for Moto G (1st generation) or Moto G 2013 model only?
A2: No, this guides applies to most Motorola Android devices. This guide was tested for Moto G (1st generation), Moto G (2nd generation), Moto X (1st generation), Moto X (2nd generation) and Moto E. But it should work for other Android devices from Motorola.
Q3: My PC detect my Moto G (Moto X, or Moto E) after I connect Moto G with PC through USB cable, but in Windows Explorer, the phone is empty.
A3: you need unlock the lock screen one time after you connect Moto G with PC. For security reasons, the contents are not shown unless the lock screen is unlocked once. This is to authenticate yourself as the proper owner. You can imagine if your phone is stolen, you do not want the thief to access your files on the phone.
Please note, you need only unlock the lock screen once for one session. It is not necessary to keep it unlocked all the time.
If your Moto G, Moto X or Moto E have been updated to Android Marshmallow, please read on.
My phone is shown as empty in Windows Explorer after updating to Android Marshmallow, if I connect Moto G with PC (for Moto X and Moto E as well)
In most regions, Moto G 2015 (Moto g 3rd Gen), Moto G 2014 (Moto G 2nd gen), Moto X 2014 (Moto X 2nd Gen), Moto X 2015 (Moto X Pure, Moto X Play, Moto X style), and Moto E 2015 were updated to Android Marshmallow 6.0 already. Some of the common issues in Moto G Android Marshmallow update, and solutions, were detailed in this post.
Some owners may find that no contents of the phone is shown in Windows explorer, even after the lock screen was unlocked once after it is connected to PC.
This is normal in Android Marshmallow.
Now, you can swipe down from the status bar (top of the screen)once with one finger to access notifications.
You can find the USB notifications. You may not have the first one.
Tap USB for charging as shown below.
After tapping USB for charging, you now have 4 options:
- Charging only. This is the default settings for Moto G, Moto X and Moto E. In some phones, the default may be MTP+ charging.
- Transfer files (MTP). MTP mode can transfer all types of files.
- Transfer photos (PTP). PTP mode can only image and videos files. If PTP mode is enabled, you will find only photos and videos are available in your phone from Windows Explorer.
- MIDI. This is not relevant when you connect Moto G to PC. MIDI mode is used only when you connect a MIDI device (e.g., MIDI keyboard) to Moto G, Moto E or Moto X.
Tap Transfer files (MTP) as shown below.
The notifications for USB now changes to USB for file transfer as shown below.
Now, check the Windows Explorer on the PC and you should be able to find all contents in Moto G.
For SD card related issues in Android Marshmallow, please check this guide.
Do you have any problems to connect Moto G with PC through USB cable? Please let us know in the comment box below.
More step-by-step guides , tips and tricks for your Moto G phone are available at our most popular Moto G how-to guide page.