How to use the Android Oreo built-in file manager

Did you know that Android Oreo has a hidden, built-in file manager? Jack Wallen shows you where to find it and how to use it.

Image: Google

Android Oreo came in with a significant amount of features and improvements. From Picture-In-Picture to better battery life to smart Wi-Fi and all points in-between, Oreo brought serious (albeit slight) change to the platform. However, some of the improvements weren't exactly from the office of "deal breaking and obvious." But even the lesser known and lesser awe-inspiring helped to make Android more efficient. One such feature is the built-in file manager.

Funny thing about that, if you go into the App Drawer of an Oreo-powered device, you won't find a file manager. What gives? The truth is, the file manager isn't obvious. In fact, it's tucked away within another app.

Let's find out where it is and how to use it.

Come out, come out...

Where is that file manager? Here's a hint: Open the Downloads app. With that app open, tap the menu button in the upper right corner. From the menu drop-down (Figure A), tap Show internal storage.

Figure A

Figure A

The Oreo Downloads Manager.

Where are your files?

You have now enabled the Download Manager for internal storage. But where are your files? You can scroll up and down the list only to see the files saved to your Downloads folder. The key is in the sidebar. Swipe right from the left edge to reveal the sidebar (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

The Downloads Manager sidebar.

In that sidebar you will now see the internal storage for your device. Tap on that entry (for my example it's listed as ONEPLUSA3000) to gain access to all of the files and folders found within (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Internal storage of a OnePlus 3.

At this point you can use the file manager as you would any other. Tap to navigate into a folder, locate a file, long-press the file, and then tap the menu button (upper right corner of the window) to act on the file (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

The file action menu.

And that, my friends, is all there is to using the built-in Oreo file manager. It may not be the sexiest app out there, it may not be a deal maker or breaker, but it certainly beats having to install a third-party application just to move, copy, open, rename, and delete files.

Adding this file manager (hidden or not) was a smart move for Android developers. It's a tiny addition, but one that makes Android all the more user-friendly and complete.

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....