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Video:Introduction to Android File Structure

with Brent Rose

Google Android file structure can be confusing to navigate without an introduction. Here a few basics about the Android file structure, so that you can access your files easily.See Transcript

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Transcript:Introduction to Android File Structure

Hi, I'm Brent Rose for About.com. Today I'm going to give you an introduction to Android's file structure.

View Android File Structure on Your Computer

Now, there are two good ways of getting in there and seeing the file structure. The first way (and the simplest to work with) is by mounting your phone to your computer and exploring it like a hard drive.

First, take the USB cable that came with your phone and plug it into your computer. Now take the other end of that cable and plug it into your phone. You'll notice that up in the Notification bar it says "USB Connected". Go ahead and bring down the Notification window and click "USB Connected". It will ask you if you want to mount your phone. Click "Turn On USB Storage". Once the phone is mounted you'll see its SD card pop up on your desktop like an external hard drive.

Double click the SD, and that will open it up like an external hard drive. Now, most of these folders are ones you'll never have to deal with, but I'm going to show you a few that it's useful to know about.

Android File Structure for MP3s and Photos

The first is "Amazon MP3". If you download any music using the Amazon MP3 app (which comes with many Android phones, and is available to download in the market), it will go into this folder. I haven't downloaded any, so there's nothing there right now, but it's good to know about. A very useful folder to know about is the DCIM folder. That's where all of the photos you take on your phone's camera are going to go. Click DCIM, then click Camera, and you'll see here is the giant list of all of the photos I've taken with my phone. You can click them and it will tell you about the properties (how big it is, when it was shot, etc.), you can open them up and preview them right from there, copy them to your computer, delete them, do whatever you want with them. Very handy indeed. You can also copy pictures from your computer INTO this folder, and they will show up in your phone's Gallery.

If you use the Dropbox application, it's good to know what exactly is downloaded on your phone's SD card and what is just sort of linked there through the program (in which case you would not have off-line access). Going into this folder is a good way to tell the difference. You've got all of these files saved here which you can go through. Very handy.

Android File Structure for Music

Lastly, and perhaps most useful of all is the Music folder. Now here you can see, it's got all of the music I've put on my phone, and it's mostly organized into folders, which was done automatically because I dragged them over using the Doubletwist desktop application (see the About.com video "Copying Media to Your Android Phone" which covers this process). However, if I wanted to I can just grab this folder here called "Misc. Music Stuff", drag it in there, and next time I open the music player on my phone all the music I just added will be there. That very convenient. You can also pull music off.

That's just a basic view of your phone's file structure as viewed through your computer's file explorer. Make sure before you disconnect the USB cable that you eject/unmount the phone, and also turn off USB storage on your phone.

View Android File Structure on Your Phone

The other way to get to the file structure is through the phone itself. You can do this by downloading a file explorer application from the Android Market, like Astro File Explorer.

To open up Astro, simply click it. The view you see will be very familiar. You're looking at the exact same file structure as you saw when it was mounted to your computer. From here you can copy, paste, move things around, delete files/folders, etc. all of which is very handy, especially if you don't have a way to connect your phone to your computer right then.

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