Files by Google has rapidly become an essential app for Android users. In the last few years, it’s added lots of useful options that have made it far more than a simple cleanup tool or file manager. Free to download and with a simple, friendly interface, Files by Google saves you installing several separate tools. Here we reveal its best features and explain how to use them. 1. Remove Junk Files Unwanted and unused files and apps not only consume valuable storage but can slow down your Android phone. Files by Google lets you quickly remove this junk, to clean up and speed up your device. Tap the Clean button at the bottom of the screen to view how much space is currently available on your phone and how much you can reclaim. Close Image 1 of 3 Image 2 of 3 Image 3 of 3 In the Junk files section, you can delete temporary files by tapping the Confirm and free up button. Below this are additional options for removing duplicate files, memes, old screenshots, large files, and downloads. Tap Select and free up to review and delete these items. The Your unused apps option lets you uninstall apps that you haven’t used for over four weeks and are likely consuming a lot of storage, Tap Select and free up and either choose apps to remove individually or select All items. Tap Uninstall and confirm the removal. 2. Find Files Faster When you download, capture, or create a file on your Android phone, it’s not always obvious where it’s stored. Files by Google makes it easy to navigate folders on your device to find the item you want. Tap the Browse button at the bottom of the screen to explore files on your device by category, including Downloads, Images, Videos, Audio, and Documents. Select an item within a category to open it, delete it, or share it using another app on your phone. Image Gallery (2 Images) Close Image 1 of 2 Image 2 of 2 As you’d expect from a Google product, Files by Google also offers a fast and accurate search facility. Tap the search icon in the top right corner of the screen, then enter your query to find matching items on your device. Related: The Best Free File Explorers for Android 3. View Hidden Files on Android Files by Google also lets you browse hidden files on your Android phone, such as app backups. Tap the three-line menu button in the top left corner, choose Settings, and switch on Show hidden files. Back on the Browse screen, select Internal storage and you’ll be able to see files and folders that were previously invisible. One example is TV shows and films downloaded from Netflix. Just make sure you don’t delete anything important. Image Gallery (2 Images) Close Image 1 of 2 Image 2 of 2 4. Encrypt Your Private Files in Android If you have private photos or sensitive documents stored on your phone, you won’t want them showing up in Files by Google. Instead, you can use the app’s Safe Folder feature to secure these files from snoopers. Safe Folder lets you create an encrypted, PIN-protected folder. This locks automatically when you navigate away, so that nobody else can access the documents, images, videos, and other files stored in it. To set up the feature, swipe down to the bottom of the Browse screen and choose Safe Folder. Enter a 4-digit PIN, tap Next and confirm your PIN. Tap Next again, then OK to create the folder. Close Image 1 of 3 Image 2 of 3 Image 3 of 3 You can now tap the three-dot menu button when viewing a private file and choose Move to safe folder. Enter your PIN to encrypt and protect the item from prying eyes. Files can be unencrypted by choosing Move out of safe folder. 5. Share Files Between Android Devices One of Files by Google’s most useful features is the ability to send and receive large files instantly, without using cellular data. This peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing option also encrypts your files in transit to keep their contents private. To share a file, you and the recipient both need to have Files by Google installed on your Android phones. Then simply tap the Share button in the bottom right corner of the app and choose Send. You can either connect to Wi-Fi or use Bluetooth. Tap Continue to grant Files by Google access to your location, then enter a username. Ask the other person to follow the same steps but choose Receive. Tap their name when it appears, select the files you want to share, and choose Send. Close Image 1 of 3 Image 2 of 3 Image 3 of 3 Once sent, you can either choose Send more files to share further items, or tap Back and select Disconnect to end the P2P sharing session. Related: The Best Mobile Apps for Sharing Large Files Instantly As well as making your video and audio files easy to access, browse, and find, Files by Google has an in-built media player. This means you can watch and listen to them without needing to open a separate app. Simply open the Videos category on the Browse screen and tap a clip to play it. You can choose to view only videos captured by your camera, or all clips stored on your phone. Tap the three-dot menu to adjust the playback speed. Close Image 1 of 3 Image 2 of 3 Image 3 of 3 The Audio category includes app notification sounds as well as recordings you’ve made yourself. You can even set an audio file as your ringtone by tapping the three-dot menu in the media player and choosing Set as ringtone. Although you’re less likely to have ZIP files on your Android phone than on your PC, you may be sent compressed archives by email or download them from the web. Fortunately, they pose no problem for Files by Google. To open a ZIP file in the app (only the .zip format is supported), locate it via the Browse screen. It’s likely to be in the Downloads or Documents and other categories. Select the file and choose Extract. Image Gallery (2 Images) Close Image 1 of 2 Image 2 of 2 You’ll be shown a preview of all the items contained in the ZIP file. Tap one to see a preview in Files by Google. Select Delete ZIP file if you want to remove the original archive, then tap Finished. Extracted files are saved to the relevant folder, such as Images. 8. Back Up Your Files Whether you want to create an online copy of a file or free up space on your phone by moving it online, Files by Google makes backing up very straightforward. Just select the item, tap the three-dot menu, and choose Back up to Google Drive. If you have OneDrive, Dropbox, or another cloud storage app installed, you can back up to that service instead. Image Gallery (2 Images) Close Image 1 of 2 Image 2 of 2 It’s equally easy to move or copy files from your Android device’s internal storage to an SD card. Go to Browse > Internal storage and select an item or multiple items. Choose Move to or Copy to from the three-dot menu and select SD card. Related: How to Back Up Your Android Device Properly Unlock the Full Power of Files Behind its simple interface, Files by Google offers a wealth of useful options for managing, sharing, and protecting files on your Android phone or tablet. It’s completely free to use, with no bloat, ads, or in-app purchases. If you find Files by Google too basic for optimizing your phone, there are lots of other cleanup apps for Android. Just make sure you choose one that actually works and isn't merely a placebo. Why You Should Avoid Lenovo PCs: 7 Security Risks to Consider <p class="">Think your Lenovo laptop is safe and secure? Think again! Various security risks and vulnerabilities have plagued Lenovo PCs.</p> About The Author Robert Irvine (14 Articles Published) Robert has been writing about the internet and computing since the days of AOL discs and Windows 98. 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