So you’re ready to ditch the heavy laptop and start traveling full time with your Nexus 7 or Nexus 10?
Let’s get this straight, I love my Macbook Pro, but it adds significant size and weight to my travel backpack and is only used for web browsing and memory card to hard drive picture transfer. Given that most of my trips don’t involve post processing pictures on the road, it was time to look into other options. The following page will teach you how to use your Nexus 10, Nexus 7 or other Android device that supports Nexus Media Importer and the setup described below to transfer pictures from a memory card to external back up hard drives. If you enjoy post processing pictures on the road, this may not be the option for you, but if you’re ready to rid yourself of some extra weight and travel light, I am here to set you free.
When I travel there is really only one way to go, as light and minimal as possible. I currently carry a Lowepro Pro Trekker 600AW Backpack which is amazing for fitting all my camera gear, a tripod, and minimal clothes along with my Google Nexus 10. If you are interested in seeing all the camera gear I carry the “What’s in My Camera Bag” page on this website will help you out.
I fully tested this setup below on my recent trip to china and fully approve. Here is what you need and how to set it up! I have provided detailed step by step instructions along with helpful graphics. Follow them carefully and you’re an expert in no time;)
What You Need
If you decide to use other devices than what I provide below they must be USB2.0, USB3.0 will not work! I have tested all of the hardware below and it works great for this setup. I am sure there are other devices that work great as well, but have not tested them in the field.
- (1) Google Nexus 10, I got the 32GB Wi-Fi only model, but any will work since you are not keeping any pictures on the Nexus internal hard drive.
- (1) Original Pogo Cable for Google Nexus 10
- (1) Micro USB Host OTG Cable – Micro USB B/Male to USB2.0 A/Female OTG Host Cable
- (1) Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 4-Port Hub + 5V 2.1A Charge-Only Port
- (1) Ziotek ZT1311551 HC1 7.5-Inch USB 2.0 A Male to B Micro Cable
- (2) I use two for mirror backup, you could go the risky route and only use one if you really wanted to. BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 1 TB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive
- (1) OTG USB2.0 Female to Male Cable. This will connect your memory card reader to the Anker Hub. I could not find one of these online so it may take some digging. I luckily had one in a huge box of wires at my house. Please leave a comment below with the link if you find one online:)
- (1) Kingston 19-1 USB2.0 Memory Card Reader
- (1) Nexus Media Importer Installed on your Nexus 10 ( I suggest the paid version )
How to Set It All Up
Disclaimer: I would highly recommend testing this entire setup prior to taking it on
the road. You will want to make sure that all picture files transfer
correctly, and that you can export the picture files from your travel hard
drive to your computer after the process is said and done.
Formatting Your Hard Drive
In order to have your hard drive recognize your Nexus 10 as well as either your Windows or Mac computer you will need to format it correctly prior to
use. If you have a Mac this will be very easy using the Disk Utility
Program that comes standard on all Mac Operating Systems. If you have a
PC, well, you will need to find a friend with a Mac, or find another
work around. In terms of work arounds, if anyone knows how to set this up on Windows, feel free to leave a note below:) Note: Although you do need a Mac to set this up, at no other time in the process does it matter what kind of computer you have. And… the good part is this only takes about 5 minutes:) Upon doing so the hard drive can be read by your Nexus Device along with a Mac and/or PC device.
ATTENTION: All information on hard drives used in the following formatting procedure will be completely erased and gone forever. If you have important stuff on a hard drive you plan on formatting for this setup, I would suggest backing that information up twice prior to driving forward.
- Once you are on a Mac Computer with the external hard drive plugged into the computer, open your Disk Utility Application as seen below and select your external drive on the left-hand side of the application. In this case mine is the 1TB BUFFALO HD-PCTU
- Once you have selected your hard drive, select the Erase option within the application. Note: Do not select the contents within your hard drive which also shows up on the left-hand side. For example as seen in the Erase Hard Drive Graphic & Formatting Step 1 Graphic below, I would NOT want to select MAIN, which is contained in my 1TB BUFFALO HD-PCTU hard drive. Selecting MAIN would keep the following steps from working.
- Go ahead and name the Hard Drive whatever you like, select Format as MS-DOS ( FAT ) and select erase per the Erase Hard Drive graphic below.
- The step above is not really necessary with a brand new hard drive, but I always like to do it anyway to make sure the drive is completely clear and good to go.
- Once your disk is done erasing, you can drive forward.
|Erase Hard Drive|
- Next select the Partition option as I have on the Formatting Step 1 Graphic below.
- Select Format of MS-DOS (FAT) and Volume Scheme of 1 Partition.
- Before moving on, select the Options… button which is right below your Volume Scheme Setup.
- Once you have done this, select the Master Boot Record option as shown in Formatting Step 2 Graphic.
- Now select OK within the Master Book Record Options Menu.
- Once you revert to the Menu shown in Formatting Step 1, you can click the Apply button on the bottom right of this menu.
- Your hard drive is now ready to be used with your Nexus 10.
- I always eject my hard drive in Finder before un-plugging it from the computer.
- Copy this same process for your other external hard drive if you plan on running a mirror copy backup as I suggest.
|Formatting Step 1|
|Formatting Step 2|
Nexus Media Importer Setup
- Open the Nexus Media Importer App installed on your Nexus Device.
- Select the 3 vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of the app. Reference the ORANGE box in Graphic 3 of the Software Setup Section if you can’t find it.
- Select the Preferences Option
- The next step is to mimic all of the selections you will see on the following two graphics I have provided labeled Preferences 1 and Preferences 2. This will make sure that everything runs smoothly when you start importing files.
If you plan on doing a mirror backup to both of your hard drives, then you will have to do the transfer process twice. For my 32GB memory cards it takes about an hour for each one. Keep in mind, when set up correctly you will not use any storage space on your Nexus 10 to do this transfer. All of your picture files will transfer directly from the card reader to the external hard drives. You can click on the picture to see it larger than it’s current display size.
Please note that these numbers are all labeled accordingly in the graphic “Hardware Setup” below. I have added the noted numbers to each end of the connection so you can see exactly where they go.
- Connect the power plug from your Anker Hub to a wall outlet with the hardware provided in the package. DO NOT push the power button on the hub yet.
- Connect (1) hard drive to the Anker Hub on the side with (4) USB ports. The hard drives I suggested come with USB2.0 connection wires that will work perfectly. You can use any one of these ports, they all work the same. Upon full transfer you will connect the other hard drive and perform the same task again if you want a mirror backup of your files. Only connect one hard drive at this time!
- Connect your Memory Card Reader to the USB2.0 Male to Female OTG Cable. The female end of the OTG cable connects to your memory card reader and the male end connects to the Anker Hub. Plug into another one of the (4) ports on the Anker Hub.
- Connect the Nexus 10 Pogo Cable to the Nexus 10 and also plug it into the single USB power port on the short end of the Anker Hub. This will keep your Nexus 10 powered during the process as well as free up plug space since you will only have to use one power plug for the entire setup. Great for traveling when you have only have a single power adapter.
- Connect the USB2.0 Male and Female ends of the Micro USB B/Male to USB2.0 A/Female OTG Host Cable to the (1) Ziotek ZT1311551 HC1 7.5-Inch USB 2.0 A Male to B Micro Cable.
- Plug the Micro USB Male OTG cable end into your Nexus 10.
- Plug the Micro USB Male end of the Ziotek Cable into your Anker hub. Please note this is a Mirco B USB3.0 port on the Anker Hub, but the Micro B USB2.0 connection wire will still fit just fine.
Now that you have all the hardware setup turn on the Nexus 10 and open the Nexus Media Importer
App which is installed on your device ( If you don’t have it yet, go ahead and download now ). Once the media importer is opened. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you select the Advanced option in the top bar of the Nexus Media Importer App Screen. I have circled this in RED and denoted it on Graphic 1 below along with adding a few other color coded tips.
- Turn on your Anker Hub. This power button is located directly next to the “7” on the Hardware Setup graphic above.
- Upon turning on the power and giving everything 10-20 seconds to fire up and register with your Nexus 10 you will see the following screen shown below on Graphic 1.
- Trouble Shooting: If for some reason the menu squared in GREEN does not show up, select the button squared in PURPLE on the right and the app will show you all of the hardware which is plugged in. Usually the menu that is shown with the GREEN square around it will pop up right away.
- (Graphic 1) Select your memory card reader as the top source and your hard drive as the bottom source. I have denoted both of these in BLUE.
- After Selecting the two sources shown in BLUE in the graphic ABOVE ( Graphic 1 ). You will see the following screen shown in the graphic BELOW ( Graphic 2 ).
- ( Graphic 2 ) Note that I am using a Nikon D800, so the folder you see squared in RED on the LEFT side of my Nexus 10 Screen may be labeled differently depending on your camera make and model. No matter what your file is named, just click through your folder options on the LEFT until you find the one that holds your images. For the Nikon D800 this folder is labeled DCIM. Go ahead and select that folder.
- ( Graphic 2 ) As you can see my hard drive files show up on the RIGHT of the Nexus 10 Screen. Prior to going on a trip I added a bunch of different folders so I can just throw pictures in them as I go. In this case I am going to dump all my pictures into the folder labeled “7” and denoted in RED. Go ahead and select the location where you would like to send your pictures.
- (Graphic 2 ) Once you have selected the file that contains all your pictures on your memory card and the folder where you would like to send them on your hard drive as denoted above proceed with the following.
- (Graphic 3) First select the downward arrow which I have denoted in RED in the graphic BELOW.
- (Graphic 3) Upon doing so you will see a small drop down menu, select the “Select New / All” button which I have denoted in BLUE. All of your pictures on the left-hand side of your Nexus screen will be selected in an aqua color if you have done things correctly.
- (Graphic 3) The next step is to select the “Copy” button on the drop down screen which I have denoted in PURPLE.
- You are DONE! The pictures will now transfer from your memory card to your hard drive, just sit back and relax. I would suggest NOT using your Nexus 10 for other functions during this process as it will sometimes stop the import process:(
- Once the process has fully completed and all pictures have transferred to your hard drive go ahead and verify by opening the folder in which your transferred all the pictures to. In the case of Graphic 3 below, I would open the ‘7’ file within my Nexus Media Importer. Keep in mind that the importer will render a small square image of both RAW & JPEG format files so you can see that they are there.
- (Graphic 3) For those of you that would like to mirror backup your picture files to another hard drive ( HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ) , first disconnect your currently connected hard drive by selecting the three vertical dots on the top right of your Nexus Media Importer Screen ( denoted in ORANGE ) and select the Disconnect button.
- After disconnection you can turn off the power to the Anker Hub and disconnect your hard drive.
- Next, plug in your new hard drive, and repeat the process as provided above. I suggest having all the folders on each external hard drive being exactly the same to keep things in order.
Hopefully you enjoyed the tutorial. Feel free to leave any questions you have below or visit my Learn Photography Page for a full list of all the tutorials contained on this website!