How to Download Information to an Android Phone - dummies

How to Download Information to an Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

Downloading to an Android is an easy concept to grasp, providing you accept how most people misuse the term. Officially, a download is a transfer of information over a network from another source to your phone. For the web browser app, the network is the Internet, and the other source is a web page.

  • Most people use the term download when they really mean transfer or copy. Those people must be shunned.

  • New apps are installed on your phone by using the Play Store app. That’s a type of downloading, but it’s not the same as the downloading described here.

  • While the phone is downloading information, you see the Downloading notification. It’s an animated icon, though the icon shown here isn’t animated. Completed downloads feature the Download Complete icon, which is not animated, exactly like the image shown.


  • The opposite of downloading is uploading. That’s the process of sending information from your gizmo to another location on a network.

Grabbing an image from a web page

The simplest thing to download is an image from a web page. It’s cinchy: Long-press the image. You see a pop-up menu, from which you choose the Save Image command.

  • The image is copied and stored on your phone. You can view the image by using the Gallery app.

  • Technically, the image is stored on the phone’s internal storage.

Downloading a file

When a link opens a document on a web page, such as a Microsoft Word document or an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file, you can download that file to your phone. Touch the file link to download. If that doesn’t work, long-press the file link and choose the Save Link command.

  • The phone is smart and it does attempt to open or display links you touch.

  • Use the Downloads app to review the items you snag from the Internet.

Reviewing your downloads

To review items downloaded from the Internet, or otherwise obtained via the download process on your phone, open the Downloads app. You’ll find it eagerly awaiting your attention in the apps drawer.

The Downloads app lists downloaded items organized by date. To view a download, touch an item in the list. The phone then starts the appropriate app to view the item so that you can see it displayed on the touchscreen.

Well, of course, some of the things you can download you cannot view. When this happens, you see an appropriately rude error message.

  • You can quickly review any download by choosing the Download notification.

  • Manage the download list by long-pressing any entry. When you do, a contextual action bar appears atop the screen. Use the icons on the action bar to Delete or Share the downloaded item. As long as the action bar is visible, you can touch items in the list to select them.