How to manage files on your Android device

Under the hood of your well-designed user interfaces lie a myriad of files and folders, designed for holding all of your downloaded or created documents. Though you might not always come face to face with them, they're running in the background, handling PDFs, Word documents, video files and more. Here's a quick guide to file management on your Android device, and how you can store and access these files as required.

File management on your Android phone

Unlike some iOS devices that can be far more locked down to users, an Android phone will let you access the device's entire file management system directly. Since 2015, the Android operating system has had a built-in file manager that has grown more capable ever since. In Android versions 6.0 to 7.1, it's hidden well, nested under the 'Storage' section of your device's system settings, but in Android 8 and later, it's housed within Android's 'Downloads' section of the system. Things get even more simple on the latest Android 9 operating system, with a dedicated 'Files' application. Through this app, you can view any locally-saved documents, or even those stored within a linked Cloud application.

If you're looking to expand your storage space even further than the limits of your SD card, then one little-known feature of Android is the ability to connect an external storage device like a USB stick or portable hard drive. All you need is to ensure that your device supports something called 'USB OTG', or USB On-The-Go. This feature is typically built into the most popular Android handsets, including the Google Pixel range of phones, and many of Samsung's devices.

To connect to one of these external storage mechanisms, you'll just need a specific type of USB cable, which will depend on the handset you're using. Connecting to an external device will prompt you with a notification, which will give you the option to 'Explore' the connected file system once you tap on the notification. From here, you can simply move, rename, or delete connected files, before ejecting the device once you're finished. With the huge storage space available on modern USB and external hard drives, your Android device can support and access a huge amount of files, pictures and videos on the go.

Alternative applications for managing your files

The above built-in file management functions are great if you're satisfied with basic functionality, though a third-party file manager can help you do more with your on-device documents. For example, dedicated applications can help you to more easily locate files by searching across your device, creating and extracting more advanced file formats, such as ZIP or RAR files, and adding encryption to files and folders, such as passwords or even biometric access rights (fingerprint recognition).

Since you're dealing with personal files and photos, you should be sure that the application you're downloading is secure and well-known. Avoid lesser-known applications with no track record, or suspicious or negative reviews. Some of the more popular file management applications for Android include X-plore File Manager, ASUS File Manager, or ASTRO File Manager. There are of course many more applications available, and WiseGuys can help you find a suitable app that you can trust with your device and document security.

For a quick and informal chat with WiseGuys, get in touch on 0808 123 2820. We can provide tailored advice and support for you and your many devices, not just your smartphone. Our support packages protect your world, with support for phones, laptops and any other devices you own. Give us a call, or drop into one of our walk-in centres in Bournemouth or Christchurch for phone repairs, maintenance and general advice.

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