Can’t find that document you just downloaded on your phone? We got you.
It can be incredibly convenient to use Android to download files and forgo a computer for things like editing a document for work, adding to a presentation for class or downloading a photo that you want to use as a wallpaper. The problem is, it’s not always clear where the file you just downloaded was saved on your phone or tablet.
When Android first launched, finding files was especially cumbersome due to the fact that not every Android device came with a file manager app. A lot has changed since then. Most Android devices now come with some sort of file manager preinstalled, and for those that don’t, there’s a better alternative anyway.
Find the file manager app
Left: Files app on a Pixel 3. Right: My Files on a Galaxy S10 Plus.
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET
By far the easiest way to find downloaded files on Android is to look in your app drawer for an app called Files or My Files. Google’s Pixel phones come with a Files app, while Samsung phones come with an app called My Files. Regardless of which device, once you find and open the file manager, use it to look for the Downloads folder and open it.
There you will find your downloaded files in chronological order (newest to oldest, in most cases). You can, however, change how the files are sorted. In Samsung’s My Files app, tap on the three-dot menu icon and then select “Sort by.” In the Files app on a Pixel phone, tap on the “Modified” text to change how the app sorts your files.
Once you’ve located your downloaded files, you can open a file with a tap, or bring up more options with a long-press on the file.
Better yet, use Files by Google
The Files by Google app is one of the best file manager apps for Android users.
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET
If you don’t like the default file manager app on your Android phone, or it doesn’t have one, download the Files by Google app ( formerly Files Go ) from the Play Store. The app is easy to navigate, provides quick access to your downloads folder and helps you free up storage space .
When you open Files by Google, the app will recommend various options like clearing out app caches, removing junk files or deleting backed-up photos from your device. There’s even an AirDrop-like file-sharing feature baked into the app that makes it really easy to share files with someone who is nearby.
Once you’ve installed the app, you can find your downloaded files by selecting the Browse tab at the bottom of the app, then tapping Downloads. Tap a file to open it, or long-press on it to select the file and delete, share or rename it.
Finding the downloaded files on your Android device is usually an easy task. The steps to finding them vary slightly, depending on what kind of device you have, but for some reason, the downloaded files tend to “disappear” sometimes.
The files haven’t disappeared, though. You just have to dig in to your Android device’s settings to find them. In some cases, you may need to install a file manager to help you keep those downloaded files under control. Let’s take a look at some options.
Look in The Downloads Folder
Like most computer, Android does come with a “Downloads” folder to store all your downloaded files. If you’ve been using Android for years, this should be obvious to you. To access the Downloads folder, launch the default File Manager app and towards the top, you’ll see the “Download history” option.
You should now see the file you recently downloaded with a date and time. If you tap on the “More” option at the top right, you can do more with your downloaded files. For example, you can clear your download history, edit, share, and sort by.
To make your downloads easier to find, you can use the “Sort by” option and organize them either by time, type, name, size, ascending or descending – whatever works best for you.
Depending on your version of Android, your may not see a Download History option. Instead, look for “Download” or “Downloads” instead.
Another option within File Manager is a search feature. Tap the search icon at the top and enter part of your file name. You can even filter your search by file type.
Check Your App Settings
Many apps have their own download settings. Instead of sending your Android downloads to your device’s download folder by default, they’re sent to the app’s download folder. If you’re using a file manager app, find the app’s folder, open it, and look for your file.
You can also check within your app’s settings. You may be able to change where files are downloaded by default to keep everything more organized on your device.
Use a Third-Party File Explorer
While the built-in file manager works well enough in Android, it’s not perfect. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try a third-party file explorer app. There are a variety of Android file managers to use. However, a highly popular and useful option is X-plore File Manager. The dual-pane feature makes it a personal favorite.
It’s easy to use. The menu on the right includes a Find feature. You don’t need to know the full file name. I also love that search tips are included in the search box. Enter part of your file name and locate your file in seconds.
Download Another File
If you can’t find your Android downloads now, why would you download something else? When you download a file, you get a notification in your device’s notification tray. The notification looks like a checkmark. Tap it and you’re sent to the downloaded file, meaning you can also check out where the download came from. This is an easy way to see where your downloads are stored by default.
How to Find the Downloads Folder from Your Windows Computer
If you just can’t stand how small things look on your Android device, you can always look at your downloads on your computer. Connect your Android device to your computer with a USB cable, and within a few seconds, you should see a prompt appear offering to show you the contents of the device you connected.
The next window will offer various options such as import/export (among others). Click on the one that allows you to see the contents of your Android device. Click on the Phone option and scroll down until you find the Downloads folder. Just open it and do whatever you please.
Find Your Downloads in Chrome
You downloaded an image last week but accidentally erased it from your device. To recover that image, open Chrome (provided Chrome is your default browser), and the second icon to the left should be an arrow pointing down. Tap on it, and all your downloads will appear.
If you want to find a specific file such as video, tap on the drop-down menu beside Downloads and tap on videos (or whatever file you’re looking for).
Find your Firefox Downloads
Firefox makes it just as easy to find your downloads. Once you have the browser open, tap on the three vertical dots at the top-right of your display. Tap on Tools, and the first option on the list should be Downloads. Tap on it, and you should see all the files you’ve downloaded.
Unlike Chrome, Firefox doesn’t let you search for a specific type of file, they’re all mixed up, which may make them more difficult to find.
How to Access Downloads Folder in Opera
Instead of tapping on dots to access the Downloads folder, you’ll need to tap on the Opera icon. Upon seeing the Downloads option, tap on it, and you should now see everything you’ve downloaded.
As you can see, your downloaded files didn’t disappear, they just went to a folder created especially for that. To dig a little deeper still into your Android directories, you should read our guide on how to install TWRP Recovery. Or if you’ve started dabbling in streaming movies and TV between your devices, see our list of the best DLNA streaming apps.
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
“Download another file” Still did not allow me to find where facebook app stores downloaded document.
With all of the amazing features available on Android, like a high definition camera, apps for everything, lighting fast processing power, and so on, there is one thing that can be less than convenient: the difficulty of finding downloaded files.
It’s almost as if your smartphone’s downloads disappear just as soon as the transfer of data has been completed.
In fact, unless you know where to look, on some phones that’s effectively what happens. So let’s tell you where to look for downloads on your Android phone. It’s a little place called the app drawer.
Check out the products mentioned in this article:
Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)
How to find downloads on your Android device
1. Open the Android app drawer by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
2. Look for the My Files (or File Manager) icon and tap it. If you don’t see it, instead tap the Samsung icon with many smaller icons inside it — My Files will be among them.
3. Inside the My Files app, tap “Downloads.”
You should now be able to see all of your downloads.
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Even if you uninstall an app from your Android phone, it’s never “lost.” You can always reinstall it again later for free, because the Google Play Store remembers your entire purchase history.
If you’ve uninstalled an app — maybe to free up space on your phone, or because you didn’t think you’d use it again — it’s easy to find it again in your app library and reinstall it.
Check out the products mentioned in this article:
Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)
How to see all the apps you’ve ever downloaded on an Android phone
1. Start the Play Store app.
2. Tap the three horizontal lines at the top right of the screen and then, in the menu, tap “My apps & games.”
Here, you’ll have two options.
3. At the top of the screen, tap “Installed.” As the name suggests, this is a list of all the apps that are currently installed on this phone.
4. At the top of the screen, tap “Library.” This is a list of all the apps, both free and paid, that you’ve ever downloaded from the Google Play Store, on any phone that’s associated with your Google account, which aren’t currently installed on this phone. Here, you have two more options:
- To reinstall an app on this phone, tap “Install.”
- You can also permanently remove the app from your account. To do this, tap the “X” to the right of the Install button.
So you’ve just downloaded a file on your Android device but don’t really know where it went? There are a few ways that you can find the file you just downloaded, along with all your previous downloads. Pro tip: you might want to clean up your Downloads folder from time to time to avoid running out of space on your SD card.
Step 1: Use the pre-installed Downloads app
This is the method that should work for most Android devices out there. Chances are, that if you look inside your app drawer, you will find an app called “Downloads”. Opening the app will take you straight to your downloads folder without the need to search anywhere else for the downloaded files.
Step 2: Use and Android file manager
Another way to get to the Downloads folder is by using a file manager for Android, much like you would use on your Mac or PC to find files. Some Android devices will have a file manager already pre-installed, usually on older versions of Android. To access the built-in File Manager, go to your App Drawer and find an app called “Files”. If you can’t find it, go ahead and download a file manager from the Play Store. My go-to file manager for Android is Total Commander.
To find a list of all the downloaded files with the help of a file manager app, simply open it to find a list of directories on your device. What you are looking for are either “Phone Storage”, “Internal Storage” or “SD Card” (sometimes called /sdcard).
Once you locate the folder, go ahead and open it up, and then find a folder called Downloads. Open the folder to see a list of all your downloaded files. It’s as simple as that.
Step 3: Access downloaded files from a Mac or PC
If you want to access your downloaded files form your computer, connect your Android device your your Mac or PC using a USB cable. If you’re on a Mac, make sure to download Android File Transfer for Mac first. If you’re on Windows, you won’t need any additional software.
Once plugged in via USB, you should be getting a notification on your computer’s screen, which will tell you to follow a few simple steps to access your device storage. In some cases you will also get a notification on your Android device asking you to choose what you want to do with your USB connection. Your goal here is to select the option “File Transfer”.
After successfully connecting your Android device to your computer, navigate to the SD card folder to find all the downloaded files.
Where do WhatsApp downloads go?
Some apps will use a separate folder for downloaded files. Probably the best example for this scenario is WhatsApp.
To find pictures, videos and audio files downloaded from WhatsApp to your Android device, open a file manager on your mobile device or computer, go to the SD Card or Internal Storage folder and look a folder called WhatsApp. Inside this folder you will find all the downloads.
One of the many cool aspects of Android is the fact that you can access all aspects of the operating system. Unlike iOS, you can see all system files and have access to every file and folder on the device. If youвЂ™re new to the operating system and want to know how to upload, download and see all your Android files, this tutorial is for you.
Android has its own file manager but there are also third-party file managers to make life easier. Since the native file manager is a part of every Android device, we’ll use that in our examples.
How to see your Android files
The easiest way to see your Android files is to access device storage on the handset. There are two ways that you can do this: From the app drawer or from the Settings.
Access ‘My Files’ From the App Drawer
If you believe the best path is the one of least resistance, this is the method for you. Accessing all of the files on your Android device is really simple:
- Open your devices’ App drawer – Depending on the version of Android software you’re running you can click on the home screen icon that has several dots or you can swipe up on the screen.
- Use the search bar to quickly locate the ‘My Files’ app.
- Or, locate it among your other apps and tap on it.
- Select the folders to access the files you’d like to view.
Access Files From the Settings
This method isn’t exactly the fastest way to get your files, but it does let you see various file types quickly.
- Navigate to Settings, Storage & USB, and Internal storage – Because the Settings vary depending on your manufacturer, use the search bar within ‘Settings’ and type ‘Storage’ to find it quickly.
- Tap on the three-dot menu icon in the upper right-hand corner
- Tap ‘Advanced.’
- Select any one of the options that appear. For the purposes of this article, we’ll select ‘Files.’
- Browse the folders selecting the one you’d like to view.
Using a Computer
You can also view files while your phone is connected to your computer. This works on both Mac and Windows computers.
- Plug your Android phone into your computer with a USB cable.
- Set it for File Transfer if the cable doesnвЂ™t default to it. Wait for Windows to detect it.
- Open the phone in Windows Explorer and browser as you would any other hard drive.
Windows treats Android devices as external storage so you can drag, drop, add, move and delete files and folders as you see fit. The only limitation is that Android can only manipulate one file or folder at a time.
How Android Orders Files
While you can see and manipulate Android files in Explorer, the file system is not the same as in Windows. Device Storage is the internal memory of your device. Portable or SD Card is external storage, the SD card attached to your handset, if you have one installed.
The SD card can be configured to store images, videos, games and other data. Not all apps can be loaded onto an SD card so if something isnвЂ™t there check Device Storage.
Android core files will always be stored within Device Storage. Many apps, games and programs will also be stored there too. Within Device Storage you will see folders created by the Android OS.
DCIM is the camera and is where your images will be stored. By default this will be on Device Storage but can be configured to store on SD Card. Download should speak for itself, as should Movies, Music, Pictures and all the other folders.
If your device has an SD card it will appear beside Device Storage both on the phone and in Windows Explorer. You can browse and explore it in exactly the same way. In Windows 10 it may display as Card, External Storage, or SD Card depending on the card type and your phone.
You explore the SD Card the same as any Windows File. If you see a DCIM folder, it means your phone is configured to save images to the card instead of internal storage. The same for Music, Movies, Playlists, and other files. As mentioned, not all apps and files can be saved into external storage so you may not see everything youвЂ™re expecting.
Upload and Download Android Files
Now you know how to see your Android files, you should be able to move, add and change them too. Uploading and downloading Android files is just a matter of dragging and dropping them in Windows or selecting the menu option on your phone.
On an Android device:
- Navigate to Settings, Storage & USB, and Internal storage.
- Select the file or folder you want to move by pressing down on the icon and holding it until it says selected.
- Tap the three-dot menu icon and select вЂMove toвЂ™ or вЂCopy to.вЂ™
- Select the destination and confirm the move or copy.
Third party file managers
The Android file manager is quite capable but isnвЂ™t the easiest to use or to navigate. If you donвЂ™t like it much you can download and install third-party file managers from the Google Play Store. Search File Manager and choose an app you like the look of and that has good reviews. Download and install and then use as default. Most installation wizards take you through replacing the stock file manager so you will be in good hands.
Do you use a third party file manager for Android? Which do you use? Tell us about your experience below!
Can’t find something you know you downloaded? Here’s where to look
Quickly accessing downloaded files on your smartphone is crucial if you want to get the most out of your device. Whether you’ve downloaded pictures or videos sent in a text message, email attachments, or files while browsing the web, they’re all stored somewhere on your phone.
If you’re an Android user (Android 7 or later), locating your downloads is similar to using Windows Explorer or Mac’s Finder. If you’re an iPhone user running iOS 11 or 12, Apple’s Files app connects you with all your device’s storage locations, both locally and in the cloud.
Where Are My Downloads on Android?
To navigate Android’s internal storage, you need a file manager app such as My Files. Connecting your phone to a computer will also allow you to manage your files and folders. In most instances, things you download will end up in the Downloads folder. However, depending on the app, the location may be different.
Google Messages Downloads on Android
To access your Google Messages downloads on Android:
Open your preferred file manager, tap Internal storage, then tap Pictures.
All your downloaded images, videos, and voice clips will be in the Messages folder.
Samsung Messages Downloads on Android
To access your Samsung Messages downloads on Android:
Open your preferred file manager, then choose Internal storage.
All attachments downloaded via Samsung Messages will be in the Download folder.
WhatsApp Downloads on Android
To access your WhatsApp downloads on Android:
Open your file manager and select Internal storage > WhatsApp.
Your files and attachments are stored in their respective folders within WhatsApp’s Media directory.
Videos and pictures downloaded with apps like Hangouts and Textra are located in their respective folders in your device’s Internal storage.
Google Chrome Downloads on Android
To access your Google Chrome downloads on Android:
Open your file manager, go to Internal storage, then choose Download.
All files and attachments downloaded from Chrome are in your Download folder.
Gmail Downloads on Android
To access your Gmail downloads on Android:
Open your file manager, go to Internal storage, then choose Download.
All attachments downloaded from Gmail are in your Download folder.
Apps such as Outlook and Samsung Email also store your attachments in the Download folder.
Downloads Stored on Your iPhone
iPhone users running iOS 11 or newer have more control over where downloaded files are stored. In the past, downloads ended up in a location based on the file type. However, in iOS 11 and later, you can access downloads in the Files app.
In iOS 12 and newer, images and videos that are sent and received via Messages are automatically saved in the Photos app.
Apple’s Files app is a more streamlined approach to accessing the images, videos, and documents saved to your phone apps and cloud services. The Files app is essentially the iPhone’s file manager for iOS 11 and up.
Tap the Files app.
Tap an option under Locations to explore your iPhone’s downloads. Or, you can use the Search bar at the top of the screen to quickly search for the file or image.
“I’ve downloaded quite a few movies from Netflix to my Android phone. How do I find them? They take up a lot of space, I’d like to move them to my SD card.”
It’s not a difficult job to locate Netflix downloads on Android. On many Android phones, you can use file manager apps to browse all files on your phone. If you are using Huawei, we recommend “File Manager”. Here’s how to find the Netflix downloads:
Step 1: Download “File Manager” from AppGallery.
Step 2: Open File Manager and go to Android > data > com.netflix.mediaclient > files > Download > .of.
Step 3: You’ll now see some folders with eight-digit random numbers as the name, which include all the necessary video data.
If you go to the “Download” folder and don’t see anything, you need to enable the ability to see hidden files. The option is in the “More” menu at the top right.
Netflix is a video streaming service. All the contents it offers are actually encoded files. Thus, it’s no surprise that the Netflix downloads are saved as cache files instead of complete files in a playable format.
If you’d like to move them from your phone’s internal storage to your SD card, you can simply use the File Manager to make it manually. Nevertheless, you’ll have to put them back in that .of folder before you watch them. Otherwise, they couldn’t be played normally because Netflix will no longer recognize the downloads.
Tips 1: How to Save Netflix Downloads to SD Card
As your phone has a limited amount of internal storage, we recommend you to save Netflix downloads to your SD card at the very beginning. Here are the simple steps to change the default output path to store the Netflix downloads:
1. Open the Netflix app and go to More > App Settings.
2. Scroll down to the Downloads section and tap Download Location.
3. Select SD Card from the list.
From now on, your Netflix downloads would be stored in your SD card instead of your phone’s internal storage.
Netflix downloads don’t last forever. After you download a title to your device, you have a limited amount of time to watch it before it expires. Titles that are expiring from your device in less than 7 days will display the amount of time you have left. When a title you have downloaded is no longer available on Netflix, the download will expire and you will not be able to play it.
Tips 2: How to Keep Netflix Downloads Forever
Netflix Video Downloader is a simple yet efficient tool to download Netflix videos as MP4 files on your local computer. By using Netflix Video Downloader, you can keep Netflix downloads forever.
Below is a step-by-step tutorial about how to use Netflix Video Downloader to download Netflix contents to computer:
Step 1 Customize Output Settings
Click “Menu” on the top right corner and choose “Settings” in the drop-down list. You can select the output video quality as High, Middle or Low. Here you can also customize the output path.
Step 2 Search Target Netflix Videos
Enter the name of your target video or copy the link and paste it in the search box and then click the “Search” icon, Netflix Video Downloader will list all the related movies soon.
Note: The first time you run the tool, you’ll be asked to log in your Netflix account first before the downloader lists the related videos.
Step 3 Download Videos from Netflix to Computer
Find the target video and then simply click the “Download” icon at the end of each title to start exporting it to your local computer. If the videos you are looking for includes multiple seasons, you can select the specific season as well as the exact episode for downloading.
Step 4 Find Netflix Downloads on Local Computer
Once all the videos you selected are downloaded to your local drive, select “Library” Tab on the top and you’ll see all the Netflix downloads that have been saved successfully. Click the “Folder” icon at the end of each title and you’ll be directed to the output folder on your local computer right away.
Now that the Netflix videos have been downloaded as complete files on your local drive, you can play them whenever you like, even if you discontinue the subscription. In addition, you can play them with VLC Media Player, transfer them to a USB drive and etc.
You can easily locate Netflix downloads by File Manager, but the Netflix downloads are just cache files, which can’t be moved to anywhere else for normally playing. If you’d like to save your phone’s internal storage, it’s advised to save Netflix downloads to an SD card at the very beginning.
Besides, there is a time limit for playing Netflix downloads. If you’d like to keep Netflix downloads forever, you can turn to Netflix Video Downloader – a well-designed tool for saving Netflix videos as MP4 files on your local drive.
Note: The free trial version enables you to convert the first 5 minutes of each video for sample testing. If it works for you, you can purchase a license to unlock the full version.
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If you are a recent Huawei User or a lover of apps and games you can’t find on the PlayStore, you must have come across some websites with the apps but in a different format, (APK). So let’s understand what they are and how to open them.
What is an APK?
An APK file can simply be defined as an Android Package File. They are used to distribute applications on Google’s Android operating system.
They are saved in the ZIP format and are typically downloaded directly to Android devices, usually found on other websites.
How to Open an APK File
For most APK files on your Android, all you need to do is download it like you would any file and then open it when prompted. However, APK files installed outside of the Google Play store might not install right away.
This is because of a security block put into place in recent smartphones. For example, you may want to download WhatsApp GB and it’s not on the PlayStore. Well, here’s how you’ll go about opening it on your smartphone.
To bypass this download restriction and install these files from unknown sources, navigate to one of these menus. The route depends on your Android version:
- Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special app access > Install unknown apps
- Settings > Apps and notifications
- Settings > Security
- After this, enable install Unknown Apps or install from Unknown sources.
Depending on your device, you might need to give a specific app, such as Chrome, permission to install unofficial APK files.
Finally, if the file doesn’t open, try browsing for it with a file manager like Astro File Manager or ES File Explorer File Manager.