Taming Android File Transfer on Mac OS X

2012-12-21 11:12

Android File Transfer is an OS X application enabling file transfer with devices running Android 4.0 and later using Microsoft’s Media Transfer Protocol, a protocol unsupported by the OS itself.

Android File Transfer starts an agent that detects the presence of a connected Android device and automatically opens the main application. However, a locked Android device won’t initiate an MTP connection for obvious security reasons. AFT informs you of this with a modal dialogue and endless Dock bounces.

I transfer files very rarely and usually just plug in for some power, so I tire of the constant warnings. With a few modifications to the AFT application bundle I neutered the agent and restored sanity.

Activity Monitor showing the AFT process.

Run Activity Monitor and kill any running copies of Android File Transfer Agent.

Open your User in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane and remove the automatically-installed Android File Transfer Agent login item.

Disabling AFT from starting up automatically in my user login items preference pane.

This should be the only required step, in my opinion, but the application will still start the agent any time it’s manually opened after login. Killing it permanenently requires some additional work.

Open a Terminal window and remove the Agent application installed to your user-specific Library directory.

  1. rm -r ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Android\ File\ Transfer/Android\ File\ Transfer\ Agent.app

Then remove the copy stored inside the Android File Transfer application bundle itself. This is the copy that usually gets re-installed when launching AFT. It can be renamed instead of removed entirely if you’d like to be able to undo the change.

  1. cd /Applications/Android\ File\ Transfer.app/Contents/Resources
  2. mv Android\ File\ Transfer\ Agent.app Android\ File\ Transfer\ Agent.app.disable

You’re done! You can now charge in peace and manually open Android File Transfer if you need to copy files to or from a device.