How to Access and Manage Files on Your Android Tablet

Gary from Rhode Island writes:

How do I find out the names of the files on my tablet? And then access a given file?

If you have been using a computer for any length of time, you will probably have become accustomed to accessing your files with a traditional folder management system in Windows or OS X. You create, or download files, and then store them on your desktop or in a folder somewhere so that you can get to them when you need them. However things are not quite as simple on an Android tablet. At least, not at first.

Where are the Files Stored on my Android Tablet?

1. The Downloads App – Most, if not all, Android tablets have a native Downloads app. You will find this app in your app drawer and it will most likely be called Downloads.

Downloads app

Any time you tap a link to a file online, it will download to the Downloads app. If you open this app, you may find a selection of PDFs, Word docs, or PowerPoints that you have previously downloaded while browsing the Internet. You can tap on any of these files to open them.

List of downloaded files

2. The Files App – This will depend on your particular flavor of Android, but many Android tablets also have a Files app. On Samsung devices, for instance, this is called My Files. Other manufacturers may have a similar or identical name. In this app, you will find a collection of all the files on your device.

My Files app

Don’t worry if you don’t have this app or simply can’t find it. There are numerous file managers available for free in the Play Store. If you need a recommendation, take a look at the free ES File Explorer app. With this app installed, you can access and manage all your Android files quickly and easily.

ES File Explorer App

3. SD Card – Some apps may store the files that you create on an SD card, instead of on the device itself. You can access these files using the native Files app or with a file manager app like we discussed above. Simply select the SD Card option to view files that are stored on the SD card.

SD Card Files

You can also access the files on your device by plugging your Android tablet into your computer. It acts much like a USB flash drive, and you will be able to access all your files the same way you would if you plugged in a camera or a USB flash drive.

Accessing and managing files on tablet devices is not as easy as it might by on a Mac or a PC, but once you get used to the ecosystem you are working with, it is still perfectly possible to find the files you need without too much effort. 

 ~ Jonathan

0 thoughts on “How to Access and Manage Files on Your Android Tablet

    1. Office Mobile apps are now free to Android devices without any purchase of Office 365. You can download it for your phone now, but the Android Tablet version is still in the testing stage and not available for download just yet. But you will be able to download it with no Office subscription.

  1. Jonathon: Hey man, you are a lifesaver! I was stuck trying to figure out how to move an attachment into a specific Evernote note (since it is seemingly impossible to move an attachment around within Evernote) But I would download something and then not be able to find it. In fact I was about to write a scathing denunciation about android in general since this task of moving attachments that is so easy in Windows is so incredibly difficult in android. But then you pointed the way, especially when you mentioned the free ES File Explorer app. So many, many thanks!!!!!

    And if anyone else wants to know how to move an attachment, like an epub or pdf file into a specific Note (not Notebook, but NOTE) in Evernote, I wrote in great detail exactly how you can do it using Google Drive. Here it is:

    How To Move A Downloaded Epub File (or most any file for that matter) into a Specific Evernote Note (not a notebook, but into a NOTE)

    1. Decide where in Evernote you are going to put the epub attachment. In other words, into which Note (not Notebook) are you going to put the attachment
    2. Download your epub file.
    3. Now you have to find the file. To do that the easiest way, download an android app from the Play store called “ES File Explorer”
    4. Open ES File Explorer
    5. Tap on “Documents” on the left hand side
    6. Find your epub file, which will most likely be the last one in that “Documents” file
    7. Press and hold on the Epub file till a “check mark box” appears in which your epub document will have the check mark already, since you pressed and held on that one to start with.
    8. Now in the lower right hand corner of this ES File Explorer app, tap once on “More”, and a list of options will appear.
    9. Tap once on “Share”, and “Share Via” choices will appear. You’ll be tempted to, but do NOT tap on “Add to Evernote”. If you do, the epub file will go into Evernote, but not to where you want it to appear, and it’s not possible to move it around in Evernote (at least not as of today’s date-12/14/14, at least not as far as I know of)
    10. Tap once in “Drive” (Google Drive)
    11. In the window that opens, you can now name your document with whatever name you choose. It is not necessary, but I like to put “.epub” at the end of the name I choose, so that when I look at it in Evernote, I know for certain just what sort of document it is.
    12. Tap “Save”, in the bottom right hand corner
    13. Now tap your “Home” button that is normally just below your screen in between your “Back” button and your “Recent” button
    14. Now on your Home screen, tap once on the Evernote app
    15. Tap once on “Notebooks” on the left and it will list them.
    16. Then tap once on the Notebook your chose and which contains the Note into which you are going to put this epub attachment
    17. Now tap once on the Note
    18. Tap the “Edit” button in the bottom right hand corner (it’s the green icon with a pencil inside of it)
    19. Tap where you want your epub attachment to appear. (I put my attachments just below a date that I have entered-like 01/15/15. So I tap that date and then tap the “Enter” key which takes me to a point just below the date)
    20. Now tap the attachment paperclip in the upper right hand corner of Evernote. Do NOT tap the “+” that is right next to it!
    21. In the list of choices that opens up, tap “Drive”, which is probably on the upper left hand side
    22. Now tap “My Drive”, and you will see your epub document that you named and that was saved in your Drive
    23. Now tap once on the document you want to move into Evernote
    24. Press “Done”, and your job is done! You’ll now see your epub document in the Note into which you wanted your epub document to appear. (Note that until you press “Done”, your document won’t open in a reader properly (I use Moon Reader)

    1. Buy the way, the instructions above should have been named, “How To Move A Downloaded Epub File (or most any file for that matter) into a Specific Evernote Note (not a notebook, but into a NOTE) USING A TABLET. Naturally, the procedure is different if one is using a computer.

  2. I just downloaded some wallpaper for my sons alldaymall android tablet but when I try to open it says can’t open file what can I do to open it?

  3. I am unable to retreive pdf documents from my folder ( though i have no problem axcessing pics), does some know how to solve this problem?

  4. Thanks for the recommendation on the File Manager. With the most recent update on my tablet, I was unable to view My Files.

    You prevented me from throwing my tablet across the room in frustration!

  5. I am doing a course and my downloads will not open I have an Asus pad. I have PDF and Adobe reader on my pad. When I hit downloads it just says Can’t open file.

  6. Help! I can’t seem to find epub files that i’m downloading to my Samsung Note. I already have ebook apps and all, but once i click on the attachment, it won’t even show the window if which reader do i want to open the file?

  7. I needed space on my tablet Core Digital CD-923HBT, and I went into File Manager deleted some things so I could have space…. And in doing that i deleted gallery with all my screens shots that I have taken, thing is every time I go into file manager and press on pictures to go screen shots and then I press on one of the screens shot it says unfortunately file manager has stopped ho do I reactivate file manager and also bring back the widget Gallery

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