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How to Access Stored Files on an Android Phone

Information stored on your Android phone (pictures, videos, music) is kept in two places: on the removable MicroSD card and on the phone’s internal storage. That’s about all you need to know, though if you’re willing to explore the concept further — including the scary proposition of file management on a cell phone — keep reading.

Generally speaking, you use specific apps to access the stuff stored on your phone — for example, the Gallery app to view pictures or the Music app to listen to tunes. Beyond that, you can employ some nerdy apps to see where stuff dwells on your Android phone.

The first app, which is the least scary, is the Downloads app. It displays the Downloads screen, which is used to review the files you’ve downloaded from the Internet (via the web or an e-mail attachment) to your phone.

The second app, which is scary because it’s a file management app and these apps aren’t user friendly, is the Files app. It works like the File Explorer in Windows or the Finder on the Macintosh: Files and folders are displayed on the screen, with options for examining and manipulating those files.

Using the Files app works like this:

  1. Start the Files app.

    It’s found on the App menu. If it’s not there, despair not: Plenty of file management apps are available at the Google Play Store.

  2. Choose which storage device to examine: Internal Phone Storage or SD Card.

  3. Browse the files just as you would on a computer.

    If you’re familiar with computer file management, you’ll be right at home amid the Folder and File icons: Touch a Folder icon to open it and see which subfolders and files dwell inside. Touch a File icon to preview it — if that’s possible.

  4. To manage a file or folder, long-press it.

    A menu appears where you can perform typical file management operations: delete, rename, copy, or move, for example.

You can press the Home soft button when you’re done being frightened by file management in the Files app.

  • Every storage location on the phone is a volume. It’s the same term used on a computer: If your PC has two hard drives, for example, both of them are volumes.

  • You can also examine files and folders on your phone by mounting the phone’s storage to a computer system. This method is easier to manage because you have access to a full-size screen and keyboard; plus, a computer mouse to move things around.

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