How to view and manage your files in Android 10

The latest version of Android has improved its built-in file manager. Here's how to use Android 10's file manager.

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Image: Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android has long offered a file manager through which you can view and control your files, but the file manager has always been lacking in certain features and functionality. With Android 10, Google has spruced up the Files app with some helpful new options. The interface for managing your files is now easier to use. The app provides a universal search bar at the top, and it offers quicker access to specific types of files. Let's look at how to manage your files in Android 10.

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On your Android 10 device, open the app drawer and tap the icon for Files. By default, the app displays your most recent files. Swipe down the screen to view all your recent files (Figure A).

Figure A

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To see only specific types of files, tap one of the categories at the top, such as Images, Videos, Audio, or Documents. The view changes to show all the files in that category. You can select more than one category. To see all images and videos, for example, tap the buttons for Images and Videos. To see all the files on your device, tap the buttons for all the categories (Figure B).

Figure B

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You can also change the view by navigating to a specific folder on your phone. Tap the Hamburger icon in the upper left corner. At the Files pane, tap the folder you wish to view. You can drill down to a specific subfolder to see the files inside (Figure C).

Figure C

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Next, you can search for files via the search field at the top. Type your keyword or phrase in the field, and the app tracks down and displays the associated files (Figure D).

Figure D

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You can change the order in which your files are sorted. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right and then select the Sort By command. You can sort your files by name, modified date, file type, and file size. You can also change the file view from thumbnails to Details by tapping the lined bullet point icon above the second column of files (Figure E).

Figure E

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You can save or share one or more files. Long tap on the file you wish to share to select it. Long tap on any other files that you want to share. Tap the Share icon at the top of the screen. Choose the service, location, or app that you want to use to share the file, such as Dropbox, Facebook, Messages, or Twitter. Follow the steps to share the file (Figure F). To deselect selected files, tap the X at the top of the screen that shows the number of files selected.

Figure F

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You can also view files on Google Drive if you use that service for online storage. Tap the icon for Google Drive. Drill down into the folders and files you've stored on Google Drive. At your Google Drive page, you can change the file view between thumbnails and Details by tapping the lined bullet point icon. You can search for specific files on Google Drive by tapping the search icon at the top and entering your search term.

You can also run other commands. Tap the three-dot icon at the top. You can create a new window or folder, sort your files by different criteria, and select all the files, among other commands (Figure G). When you're done with Google Drive, press the left arrow to return to the Files app or the app drawer where you can reopen the app.

Figure G

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You can view most files in the Files app through built-in viewers. Tap an image file, a video, or a PDF to open it. A video file automatically starts playing. In the video viewer, you can play, pause, go forward, go back, and scrub through the file. With a series of image files or PDFs, you can swipe left and right to move from one file to another.

Tap the Google Drive icon at the top to save the file to Drive. Tap the trash can icon to delete the file. Tap the three-dot icon, and you can opt to open the file with a specific app, download the file to the Downloads folder, send the file to an online service or an app, and print the file (Figure H).

Figure H

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Finally, you can view other types of files such as Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, but you need the mobile version of the app on your phone. Try to open such a file, and the app tells you that it's unable to preview the file. Tap the link to Open With and choose the appropriate program, and the file opens within its associated app where you can view and potentially edit it (Figure I).

Figure I

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