You save room on your Android Home screen by putting multiple apps into one folder.
As you lift your finger, both icons are combined into a pile. The pile has a wee circle around it, which is your visual clue that the icons have not collided into a virtual car wreck but instead have created a folder. As you drag icons, space clears up on the Home screen, enabling you to create even more folders for even more icons.
To manage the folder, long-press an app icon and then move it elsewhere inside the folder. Or you can drag the icon back out of the folder. You can touch the text Unnamed Folder to rename the folder.
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Folders can be deleted just like any other icon on the Home screen. When you drag out the second-to-last icon, the folder dissolves and only the sole remaining icon appears. A notification will appear when an external drive is connected to your Android device and ready to be accessed. Tap the "Explore" option within the notification, and that's it: You can now browse and access all the files on your external drive. If you want to do even more, just open up a third-party file manager like the aforementioned Solid Explorer.
You'll be able to find the USB drive there and perform most any imaginable function on its contents. When you're finished, don't forget to go back to the notification and tap "Eject" before disconnecting the drive. In addition to supporting external hard drives, your Android phone can act as an external hard drive.
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Just plug your device into any Windows or Mac computer, and you can access its entire file system and drag and drop files between it and your desktop with ease. With a Windows system, it's essentially as simple as plug and play. With a Mac, you'll first need to install a special program on your computer before the connection can be established. For step-by-step instructions on either front, click over to my comprehensive Android file transfer guide. Want to transfer files between your Android phone and a computer or another Android phone, iPhone, etc. No problem. Your most basic option is to embrace a middleman — specifically, a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive.
Just upload the files to a folder within the respective app on your Android phone, then find the folder within the same app on the receiving device or vice versa.
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You can get more advanced than that, though — and make your life significantly easier as a result. One handy tool worth considering is a multiplatform app called Join.
Install the app on your Android device and then install either the Chrome extension or Windows 10 app on any other device with which you want to share files. You can also access the service via a standard website on any desktop computer — if, for instance, you use a Mac along with a browser other than Chrome. Once you've signed into the apps on both ends, you're ready to initiate hassle-free file transfers in either direction. On Android, just share a file from any app — a file manager, an image gallery or any other sort of file-using utility — and select Join as the destination.
The file will appear on your desktop within seconds. On a computer, meanwhile, sending a file is as simple as opening the Join app or extension, selecting your phone as the receiving device and then dragging the file into the window. Drop a file into Join on your desktop left , and it'll appear on your Android device a second later right.
Supplementing your phone's local storage
Join has a bunch of other functions, including the ability to create a common clipboard for your desktop and mobile device — so you can copy text on one system and then, without any additional effort, paste it anywhere on the other — but even if you just use it for wireless file transfers, it's well worth keeping around. Maybe you like having certain files stored locally on your Android phone, but you also want those files to be backed up and saved on your computer.
The best of both worlds, right? Believe it or not, this is actually quite easy to pull off. It'll let you create pairings between a local folder on your phone and a cloud-based folder — with support for a huge array of cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Amazon Cloud Drive.
Install the appropriate computer-side app for whichever service you prefer, make sure it's set to sync with your computer's hard drive — and there ya have it: Your Android device's folder is now effectively part of your PC. You can even have the folders stay constantly synced in both directions — so if you add or update a file on the computer, the same changes will appear on your phone as well.
You've officially earned the title of Android file master. For real — you can even type it into a document, print it out and tape it to your desk so everyone knows. Next up: Make sure you understand the ins and outs of Android backups. They're ultimately made up of files, too, after all — and pretty important ones, at that. Contributing Editor JR Raphael serves up tasty morsels about the human side of technology.