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9 ways to make the most of your Android device

JR Raphael | June 2, 2015
Your Android device is a mighty computer -- so isn't it time you start tapping into its PC-like powers?

9 ways to make the most of your Android device

When you stop and think about it, the word "smartphone" is starting to sound a little stale.

Sure, these pocket-size gadgets we tote around are capable of making calls -- but for most of us, that's become a secondary feature compared to the range of data-centric functions the devices enable. In reality, we're carrying tiny, capable computers that also happen to work as phones.

Android devices in particular offer advanced functionality when it comes to the computer-level task of managing and manipulating files. The Android operating system allows you to perform all sorts of PC-like tasks, from dragging and dropping files between your phone and computer to plugging a USB drive directly into your device and accessing its contents. Between what Android offers out of the box and the features that third-party apps add to the equation, that shiny little slab in your pocket packs serious productivity potential.

Here are nine ways to tap into it and take your Android experience to the next level.

1. Use your Android device like an external hard drive

Unlike that other popular mobile platform, devices running Android can function like any other form of external storage: Simply plug your Android phone into your computer, and it'll show up in the system as an external drive. You can browse through its folders and copy, delete, or drag and drop files as needed.

(Somewhat ironically, this process "just works" with Windows PCs. On Macs, you'll need to download and install a special Android File Transfer program for the phone to be accessible.)

The folders you'll likely want to focus on are DCIM, where camera images are stored; Download, where content downloaded to the device is typically saved; Movies and Music, which are self-explanatory; Ringtones and Notifications, which hold any custom sound files for those respective purposes; and Pictures, which contains a folder of any screenshots you've captured on your device.

You'll also see a slew of folders specific to various apps you've installed.

2. Transfer files wirelessly between your Android device and your computer

Want to move files between your Android device and computer without a physical connection? No problem.

The simplest way is via a free app called Pushbullet. Install Pushbullet on your Android device, install the counterpart on your computer -- a cross-platform browser extension, most easily, or a stand-alone Windows program, if you prefer -- and voilà: You can now use the native Android share command to wirelessly push any image, document, or other type of file from your phone to your computer in seconds. The phone and computer could be miles apart and on different data networks, and it'll still work almost instantly.


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