How to Manage Files on Android

Android’s user-visible file system allows you to more easily work with files, opening them in any app of your choice. But be aware that Android doesn’t include a file manager app by default.

Some manufacturers put their own file manager apps, like the My Files app on Samsung devices, but there’s a good chance you’ll need to install your own file manager app.

File Management Basics

Have in mind that many of the folders you see when you open your file manager are created and used by apps for their cache files, so you shouldn’t remove them, but you can free up space by removing unnecessary files stored here.

You’re free to browse the file system from any file manager as file manager apps allow you to select and manage files via renaming, moving, or deleting them. A single tap on a file will bring up a list of installed apps that state that they support that file type. You can work with files directly, opening them in apps like you would on your computer.


There are a few folders created already that you might want to use, including the following:

DCIM: Photos you take are saved to this folder, just as they are on other digital cameras.

Download: Files you download are saved here, although you’re free to move them elsewhere.

Movies, Music, Pictures, Ringtones, Video: These are folders designed for storage of your personal media files. When you connect your device to a computer, they give you an obvious place to put any music, video, or other files you want to copy to your device.

The process of copying files to or from a PC is easy. Just connect your Android device to a laptop or desktop computer using the appropriate USB cable — the one included with your device for charging will work. You can view and manage the files on your Android device’s internal storage, moving them back and forth as you please.

If you have an SD card, you can remove the SD card from your Android device and insert it into an SD card slot into your computer, managing it that way. The SD card will appear as a typical connected storage device in your file manager, just as USB flash drives do.

For wireless file transfers, try using AirDroid. It allows you to connect to your Android device over Wi-Fi with just a web browser, moving files back and forth without the necessity of a cable. It will likely be a bit slower, but it can be a life-saver if you didn’t bring the appropriate USB cable.