Android file management: An easy-to-follow guide

When you think about your smartphone, apps and interfaces are probably the first things that come to mind. Beneath all that surface-level stuff, though, our modern mobile devices are filled with files — folders upon folders of ’em! — just like the clunky ol’ computers we’ve relied upon for ages.

We may not come face to face with our phones’ file systems too often, but it’s valuable to know they’re there — and to know how they can work for us when the need arises. After all, your Android device is a productivity powerhouse. It can juggle everything from PDFs and PSDs to presentations and podcasts. It can even act as a portable hard drive and house any sort of important files you might need in your pocket (and not just on some far-away cloud). Your mobile device can carry an awful lot of data, and there may come a time when you want to dig in and deal directly with it.

Here’s everything you need to know to get under the hood and tap into your phone’s file managing powers.

Managing files on your Android phone

You might not realize it at a glance, but Android actually allows you to access a device’s entire file system — even from the device itself.

The operating system has had its own native file manager since 2015’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow release, and what started out as an experimental-seeming effort has evolved into a capable tool for basic data manipulation. With Android 6.0 through 7.1, the system-level file manager is somewhat hidden: You have to look in the Storage section of your system settings, then scroll all the way to the bottom and tap the line labeled “Explore” to find it.

With Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo release, meanwhile, the file manager lives in Android’s Downloads app. All you have to do is open that app and select the “Show internal storage” option in its menu to browse through your phone’s full internal storage. You can then open, move, rename, copy, delete, and share files as needed.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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