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How do I change the default File Manager in Android?

default file manager android

You can and can’t change the default file manager on your Android. For some operations, like access to local storage from third-party apps, Files are the only option. On the other hand, you can use any other file manager to inspect your local storage, delete and move files, etc. Learn more about this below.

How to set the default file manager on Android?

Android Files is still there in all of its outdated glory although it was pushed to the background in favor of built-in File Managers like Samsung My Files and Google Files. It’s still there and it’s the go-to file explorer when third-party apps need access to local storage.

Don’t mix up the old Files with new Files by Google. The latter is a preinstalled file manager on Pixel devices and can be found on the Play Store. The former is a built-in solution present on all Android devices by default. You can download and install as many file managers as you like — Files will still be there.default file manager android

If we exclude that this app appears only when a third-party app needs deeper access to local storage, it’s not of much use. And, unlike with browser and dialer, recent Android versions don’t offer an option to choose the default file manager.

Moreover, it’s important to notice that users can’t disable or uninstall the app. It’s there and it’s going to stay, even as a second fiddle to apps like Google Files or Samsung My Files.

If you experience any issues with Files, you can uninstall updates from the app and give it another go. Users report that the app is crashing every time they try to upload to the cloud. Here’s how to uninstall updates from Files on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Select All apps.
  4. Locate and open Files from the list of available apps.
  5. Tap on the 3-dots menu and tap Uninstall updates.default file manager android
  6. Restart your device and give it another try.

On the other hand, if you want to stick to old Files on Android 9 and earlier versions, you can navigate to Settings > Apps > All apps > Files by Google and open Set as default. Tap Clear defaults and select the Files app as the default file manager on your Android the next time you see a prompt.

And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and make sure to share your questions or suggestions with us in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in February 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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