How to use Android 6.0’s built-in file manager

Android includes full access to a file system, with support for removable SD cards. But Android itself has never had a built-in file manager, forcing manufacturers to build their own file management apps and users to install third parties. With Android 6.0, Android now contains a hidden file manager.

The file manager doesn’t have its own icon in the app drawer because Google still wants to hide the file system from most people. But the file manager lets you browse, delete, find, open, share, copy, and do whatever you want to do with your files.

Access Android 6.0 Hidden File Manager

To access this file manager, open Android’s Settings app from the app drawer. Tap “Storage & USB” under the Device category.

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This brings you to Android’s storage manager, which helps you free up space on your Android device. Android provides a visual overview of the space you have used on your device and divides it into categories such as Apps, Images, Video, Audio, and Others. If you have multiple user accounts configured on your device, Android will show you how much data each user account is using.

Tap a category to see what is using space and choose what to delete. For example, tap “Apps” to first display a list of your installed apps along with the largest apps.

To access the file manager, scroll to the bottom of this list and tap on the “Explore” option.

RELATED: How to manage files and use the file system on Android

This will take you to an interface that allows you to view and browse your device’s internal storage or external SD card storage. Android actually introduces the file system here – the same file system you’ll see in third-party file manager apps. Of course, you cannot access the full root file system without a third party file manager and root permissions.

How to use Android’s built-in file manager

Here’s what you can do from here:

  • Browse the file system: tap a folder to access it and view its content. To go back, tap the folder name in the upper left corner of the screen and tap one of the parent folders.
  • Open files: Tap a file to open it in a related app, if you have an app that can open such files on your Android device. For example, you can tap Downloads to view your downloads and tap a PDF file to open it in your default PDF viewer.
  • Select one or more files: Long press a file or folder to select it. Tap the files or folders to select or deselect them after doing so. Press the menu button after selecting a file and press “Select All” to select all files in the current view.

  • Share one or more files in an application: after selecting one or more files, press the Share button to send them to an application. For example, you can share them on Dropbox or Google Drive to upload them to a cloud storage service.
  • Delete one or more files: tap the trash can icon to delete one or more selected files.
  • Copy files to another folder: Press the menu button and select “Copy to” to copy the selected files or folders to another folder. From there, you can press the menu button and select “View Internal Storage” to see your device’s internal storage and copy it to the folder you want. There will be a “New Folder” button here, allowing you to create new folders on your internal storage. Android doesn’t seem to have a way to “move” the files – you’ll just have to copy them to a new location and delete the originals to move them.

  • Find files: Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top right corner of the screen to search for files on your Android device’s storage.
  • Choose between list and grid: Press the menu button and select “Grid View” or “List View” to switch between the two.
  • Choose how to sort files: Tap the sort button in the upper right corner of the screen and select “By Name”, “By Date Modified” or “By Size” to sort files.


The built-in file manager is minimal and rudimentary, but it has all the basic features you’ll need – unless you need to access network storage locations or access the root file system, which are more advanced features that are best left to a third party. party apps.

You can also press menu button whenever you see Android’s “Save to” interface and select “Show internal storage” to see your device’s file system, saving files where you want them. save.


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Donald E. Hollingsworth