Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Using file management apps on Android, part of Mobile for Business: Using Productivity Apps.
- View Offline
- Android devices have a built-in file storage system. That means you can save files directly on the internal storage on your device and even organize those files into a folder system just like the hard drive on your computer. You can easily connect an Android device to a computer to move files around. But if you want to access and organize your files directly on your device, you will need some app. There are lots of file management apps for Android and your device may even come with one preloaded. I'm just going to pick one of these apps to give you an idea of how they work.
But first, I want to connect my Android tablet to my computer and copy some files to it. So, I'm going to use the USB cable that came with the tablet to connect it to the computer. On a Windows computer, I can just go into File Explorer and open up the drive on the Android tablet. But here on a Mac, I cannot simply open an Android device in Finder. I'll need to download and install this free app called Android File Transfer. You can download and install it from this website. But you probably noticed when I connected my tablet, it automatically launched that application because I already had it installed here.
So from here, I can copy files into any of these folders. These are the folders that exist on my Android device. But what I'd really like to do is copy a whole new folder to my tablet. So, I've got a folder here called Work Files. Double-click on it, you can see I've got several subfolders in there and then some files inside of those folders. I can just drag this straight onto my Android device and it'll copy those files there. So now that I have some files to work with, I'll disconnect and switch over to the tablet. So all I really need to do is unplug the tablet from my computer and the File Transfer app will close.
I have the app called ES File Explorer installed here on my tablet. This is free on the Google Play store and it's a great file management app. But, it's not the only great file management app. It's just one of them. I'm going to launch that app here. When you launch the app, you'll probably see something like this. This is the contents of my tablet's internal storage. It's defined here as an SD card, I see that up at the top of the screen, but that's normal, that's how the internal drive appears. Even though it's not actually an SD card that I could eject, it's still labeled as SD card.
So from here, I can tap on any of these folders. So I'm going to tap on the Work Files folder that we just copied over. We can see the same folders that we saw a moment ago on my computer. So, I can browse through these folders and I can open up these files. If I tap on one of these images, it will open up and show me that image. Now in this case it's asking me which tool I want to use to open up images, and you may see that on your Android device. I'll just use the built-in tool inside of this application and there it is. It opens up and everything looks fine.
I'll hit the Back button on my Android to go back to the previous screen. Now, let's go back one level. Remember, you can use the Back button on your Android device to go back. So, I'll hit that again and I'm back to the contents of this folder. I'm going to go into the Recipes folder and I want to find a Microsoft Word document. And I'll tap on one of those here. As long as I have the corresponding app installed, I have the option to open this file in that app. So, since I have the Microsoft Word app installed, I can open this file in Microsoft Word.
And it'll jump over to the Microsoft Word app. It'll open that file and I can make some changes to it. I'm going to close this, so I'll just go to the File button over here. I'll hit Close to close that file and if I've made any changes they would be saved right to that same location on my device. Let's flip back to the File Explorer app. I can also move files around and share them. Now, I'm still looking at the contents of my Work Files folder. I want to open up a new window and look at another folder.
So, I'm going to go to the menu in the top left corner. I'm going to tap on this category that says Local and here I can look at the local storage on my device. So, I'm just going to tap on the last item here that says SD0 and that will open up to my SD card which again is the internal storage on my device. So now I've switched back to the root of my SD card, right? Well, no, not exactly. What I've actually done is opened up a new window to this other location.
If I tap on the Windows button on the bottom of the screen, I can see that I actually have four different windows open. If I tap on Homepage, this is sort of a home-based page where I can navigate to different locations on my device. If I go back to Windows, I can go to the Recipes folder, which is the folder I had a few minutes ago. If I go to Windows again, there's the root of my SD card and I just happen to have another window open which is looking at network locations. I actually want to just close this window so I'll tap on the Windows button again, I'll hit the X on the corner of that window and then I'll tap on whichever window I want to look at.
So next, let's make a new folder here on the root of my device's storage so that I can move some files into it. To make a new folder, I'll tap on the New button, in the bottom left. I'll choose a new folder. I'm going to call this Recipes. And I'll hit OK. And so, let's move some Recipes files over to this folder. I happen to have some Recipe files inside of my Work Files. Now, I'm not going to navigate to my Work Files folder from here. Instead I want to open up the Windows panel again and switch over to the window where I already have that Recipes folder open.
And now we can select some files. I don't want to just tap on a file because if I do that, it'll open up that file. Instead, I want to tap and hold on it and then after a second, this box appears on the corner of each file. I know that this file's selected because it has the checkbox selected. So I can tap on some other files now to select those. Now there's a few ways I could move or copy these to another folder. If I tap and hold on one of these files now, I get these corners that appear on the screen.
And I can drag up to the top right corner and then it reveals the other windows. So I can just drag this and drop it onto the root directory. If I do that, it will copy those files there for me. Now, for now, I don't want to actually do that so I'm going to cancel this. There's another way to do this, which I think is actually a little bit easier. With these files selected, I'll tap on the More button in the bottom right corner. And then I can choose one of these options to either move these files somewhere, or copy them somewhere.
Now I don't want to copy them, I don't want them in two locations. Instead, I'll choose Move and then I'll choose the specific folder that I want. In this case, I want to go to the Recipes folder that I just created, I'll hit OK, and now those files have been moved. To confirm that, I'll switch to my Windows view. I'll flip over to the window that shows the root of my storage drive. I'll tap on the Recipes folder and there are those files. Now, let's look at a few more things I can do with some files. Again, I'm going to select a few files, so I'll tap and hold, I'll just select a few of these.
And if I look at that More button again, you'll see some other options. I could compress these files, which would create a new zip file with the files that I have selected. I'll just leave the title alone here, I'll hit OK, and now I've got that zip file there. I can select this file, by of course, tapping and holding on it, until it's selected. I could also delete a file just by hitting the Delete button down here on the bottom of the screen. So I can delete that zip. I'll select a few more files again.
There's an option for Share, if I select that I could save these to my Google Drive, to my OneDrive, There's lots of other apps I could send these files to. I'm going to hit the Back button to get out of that. The last thing I want to look at, I'm going to only select one file, then I'll go to more, and I can look at the properties for this particular file. So if I tap on that, I can see the size of the file and other relevant information. So I'll just hit Cancel on that. And when I'm done, I can just hit the checkmark up in the top left.
So clearly, there are a bunch of other things that you can do to organize your files. You should browse around and experiment. But before you wrap up, I want to look at one last thing. We copied files to the tablet by connecting it to the computer. But there are other ways to copy files to your device using the File Explorer app. I'm going to go to the Menu again, up in the top left, and this time, I'm going to go to the Network category. So from here, you can connect to lots of different network services to copy files. If you need to access an FTP server, you can do that here.
And if you use one of the cloud storage services that we talked about in the previous chapter, you can connect to them right here, inside of ES File Explorer. To do that, I'll tap Cloud, then I'll hit the New button down in the bottom left, and then I'll choose which cloud service I want to sync to. Maybe I want Dropbox, or Google Drive, or OneDrive. There's actually a bunch of other options here including Box and SugarSync. But if I choose Dropbox, then I'll be given the opportunity to log into my Dropbox account and then it will link that into the app.
I'm not going to go through that whole process. I'll just hit the Back button to cancel. But once you connect to your cloud service, you can manipulate files just like we did with the files on the tablet's internal storage. You can even move or copy files between the local storage and the cloud storage using the tools that we just saw. So, any file manager app that you use will have different features but this should give you a pretty good idea of how they work. And if you do go with ES File Explorer, this gives you a good head start with that app.
- Using cloud storage
- Managing files on iOS and Android devices
- Working with Microsoft Office and Google apps
- Creating, editing, and reviewing PDF documents
- Taking notes
- Meeting remotely/teleconferencing