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About a week ago, Google released Files Go, a file manager app that aims to free up space on your Android device. The app’s primary focus is to help make storage management easier, but it also comes with other handy features such as sharing files to nearby devices, not unlike Apple’s AirDrop.
Today, we’re taking a look at some of the coolest features of Files Go.
Files Go: Who Is It For?
Before we discuss Files Go’s features in detail, it’s worth noting that it is likely a part of the Android Go initiative. For the uninitiated, Android Go is a lightweight version of Android Oreo designed for lower-end smartphones. Lower-end smartphones usually do not have the luxury of high-capacity storage space. So, Google is committed to building lightweight apps for such devices.
Fortunately, Google is not limiting these lightweight apps to Android Go devices. Any Android user can download and use apps made for the Android Go platform.
How to Download Files Go
Looks like some of you found our Files Go Beta :-) We thought we’d make it available for a few more of you on the Play Store. Feedback welcome! https://t.co/qXLb1V0bKu
— Caesar Sengupta (@caesars) November 9, 2017
The company had originally planned to launch Files Go in December, but it was opened up for everyone following a public leak. Anyone can download it normally from the Play Store, but keep in mind that you might come across a few bugs as it is an early developer build. Google encourages you to send feedback using the feedback option within the app.
Having said that, let’s do a brief rundown of all the things you can do with Files Go.
Download: Files Go (Free)
Files Go Features
Files Go borrows a page from Google Now’s card interface. The first time you open the app, you’re greeted with a beautiful card-based layout that displays suggestions to help you clean up your storage space. Note that these cards appear to be personalized, so a specific card might or might not show up on your device at a given point in time.
Here are some features that help you free up space on your device.
1. Clear App Cache
It’s no secret that media-intensive apps like Facebook and Instagram can severely hog your phone’s storage space. Thankfully, unlike iOS, Android lets you clear the app cache manually. But Files Go takes it one step further: instead of having to clear individual app caches manually, it lets you clear the cache of all your apps in one go. This comes as a bit of a surprise, given that a similar option was removed from Android Oreo not long ago.
To delete all the app caches, simply find the App cache card in the suggestions and tap on Free up space. Once that’s done, we recommend that you replace those bloated apps with their lightweight versions.
2. Uninstall Unused Apps
If you’re anything like me, you install a lot of apps that pique your interest, but rarely open them again. They just sit there on your Android device, eating up valuable space. Files Go can find apps that haven’t been used for the last four weeks.
In order to track unused apps, Files Go needs access to your app usage. To do so, navigate to the Find unused apps card and tap on Find unused apps. Tap Go to Settings. Tap on Files Go. Tap on Permit usage access.
Once the permission is granted, you should see the apps that haven’t been used for the last 30 days, and also the option to free up space by uninstalling them.
3. Find and Remove Duplicates
There quite a few reasons why you might have duplicate files. Some of them are accidental copies, multiple downloads, etc. Perhaps the worst thing about it is that you’re often aware that your device’s storage space is hogged with duplicates. Fortunately, Files Go comes with a built-in tool to find and remove duplicate files. It works with photos, videos, and all sorts of documents.
To begin, find the Duplicate files card and tap on Free up. Here, you should see a list of all the duplicate files on your device. It even shows a small counter on the bottom-right of the file, indicating the number of duplicates present. You can also choose to enable Smart suggestions, which basically deletes the older version of duplicate files.
4. Delete Large Files
More than often, we are guilty of copying large files to our smartphones, and then later forgetting that they exist. Files Go lists all the large files that take up valuable space on your device. Give this feature a shot, and it might surprise you with how useful it is.
Find the Large files card and tap on Free up. It’s recommended to sort the files by size, so you can quickly see the file size in descending order. Here, select all the files you wish to delete and then tap on Delete.
Note that not all large files are necessarily junk files. So, it’s necessary to personally verify each and every file before deleting it. In a similar fashion, you can also delete all the media files from a specific app like WhatsApp. There’s no shortage of WhatsApp cleaner apps, but it’s handy to have this functionality built right into the app.
5. Browse Files Quickly Using Categories
Files Go is supposed to be a file manager app primarily, so, of course, it lets you browse your files.
Switch to the Files tab at the bottom. Here, your files should be categorized by downloads, apps, images, videos, audio, and documents. Opening a category shows you all the relevant files from that category. You can change the view to use either a list view or a grid view. The files can be sorted by name, date modified, or size. You can perform basic file operations like renaming and deleting a file. But you cannot copy or move a file as of yet.
That’s not entirely surprising though, as it seems to be built specifically for not-so-savvy users. This point is clear from the fact that you cannot access your files in a traditional file system, only categorically.
6. Share Files With Nearby Devices
Alongside all the file management features, it also lets you share files with nearby devices that have Files Go installed. To send a file, switch to the Files tab and tap on Send. If you’re using it for the first time, tap Allow to grant the required permissions and enable Allow modify system settings. Enter your name and tap Next. The setup is now complete.
Ask your friend to open the app and tap Receive. It creates a secure Bluetooth connection to let you share files quickly. It might take a while to transfer the file to the other device, depending on the file size.
Limitations of Files Go
When it comes to file management features, it is pretty barebones. For starters, it doesn’t let you access the file system as a regular file manager would let you. Instead, you’re restricted to browsing files categorically. There’s no integration with cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. There’s no support for file sharing network protocols like FTP, WebDAV, SFTP, etc. Then there are some minor issues, like the lack of support for landscape mode.
It doesn’t come with any of these bells and whistles, but for a good reason: it’s not aimed at power users. It’s a part of the Android Go initiative. The target market for Android Go smartphones is less-savvy users from developing countries. It just doesn’t make sense to include pro-level features. But if you’re on the lookout for such advanced features, we’d recommend you stick by the more powerful third-party file managers for Android. Always remember, even if you don’t use it to browse files, there’s no harm in using its storage cleanup features!
What do you think of Files Go? Would you prefer using it as your go-to file manager? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Image Credit: funwayillustration/Depositphotos