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Now that so many of us have replaced the camera with a smartphone, our little mobile devices carry so many pictures on them, you have to wonder just how you get them off?

Oh sure, there’s always a computer, but in this “post-PC” world of ours that often has us not using a laptop or desktop in exchange for a tablet, that’s not always easy, and uploading these images to social networking services doesn’t count.

You can do that, but uploading an image to Instagram doesn’t even come close to a full-size photo out of most of the smartphones you’ll find out there, with only a mere 640×640 pixel image up until recently, switched to a 1080×1080 image as of July.

Doing the math, Instagram is getting a little over a megapixel for your image, and when the minimum standard for a smartphone camera these days is 5 megapixels, you know you’re not getting the full picture.

Facebook can take a bigger image, with up to 2048 pixels on its largest side, giving you larger images, but it’s not doing to provide the best backup solution if your phone goes walkabout or you decide to drop it in a pool of water, which we’re told some people do.

So getting images off your device is an important thing, and it’s also important for other files, such as any documents you’ve written on the phone, audio recordings, and anything else you deem important.

How do you do this?

Phones and tablets with Google Android

Without a doubt, Android is the easiest platform to get files off onto another medium in a heartbeat. And we’re not kidding with that metaphor, because provided you have the right device, it doesn’t take much more than a beat or two with your heart.

To do this, you need one of the dual mode USB keys that can be found in most electronic and office supply stores.


These are like regular USB thumb drives, only they have two ends: a standard full-size USB connector for a computer and a microUSB connector.

The full-size connector you know, as this is the one that allows you to plug in all sort of USB devices. You’ve plugged them in before, and will for some time to come, and this isn’t going anywhere fast, though it likely will be replaced in the next decade or so.

That other connector, however, is the same one you use to charge an Android smartphone or tablet, and even some headphones, speakers, and computers.

“MicroUSB” is its name, and it is seen as the international standard for smartphone charging, which is why pretty much every smartphone relies on it, except for that of the iPhone (and in Europe, Apple is required to package in a converter, with the expectation being that by 2017, Apple will be forced to go with a standard USB charge mechanism, likely USB Type C by that point).

But charging is only one part of what the microUSB port can do, with data transfer another part of that.