Finding the downloaded files on your Android device is usually an easy task. The steps to finding them vary slightly, depending on what kind of device you have, but for some reason, the downloaded files tend to “disappear” sometimes.
The files haven’t disappeared, though. You just have to dig in to your Android device’s settings to find them. In some cases, you may need to install a file manager to help you keep those downloaded files under control. Let’s take a look at some options.
Look in the Downloads folder
Like most computer, Android does come with a “Downloads” folder to store all your downloaded files. This won’t usually be available as an app unfortunately, but as a folder within a file manager.
You can find the Downloads folder using a third-party file manager, but each Android phone also has its stock file manager app that you can equally well use.
On stock Android, this app is just called “Files.” Simply open it then tap “Downloads” to access the Downloads folder.
Your downloaded files should be listed, with the most recent one at the top. If you tap the three-dotted menu option at the top right, you can do more with your downloaded files – you can clear your download history, edit, share, and sort by.
To make your downloads easier to find, you can use the “Sort by” option and organize them either by time, type, name, size, ascending or descending – whatever works best for you.
Alternatively, you can select individual files in your downloads list by tapping the three-dot menu icons next to them, which will bring up various options like Delete, Share, Rename and so on.
If you want to bulk-select or bulk-delete files in your downloads, long-tap one of the files until the checkboxes appear, then tap each subsequent file you want to carry out the same action for.
Check Your App Settings
Many apps have their own download settings. Instead of sending your Android downloads to your device’s download folder by default, they’re sent to the app’s download folder.
Case in point: WhatsApp by default downloads images and videos to your phone and keeps them in its own folder. In the “Files” app, this is separated into WhatsApp Images and WhatsApp Videos.
If you’re using a third-party file explorer, you’ll find the WhatsApp downloads in Internal Memory/WhatsApp/Media.
You can also check within your app’s settings. You may be able to change where files are downloaded by default to keep everything more organized on your device.
Use a Third-Party File Explorer
While the built-in file manager works well enough in Android, it’s not perfect. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try a third-party file explorer app. There are a variety of Android file managers to use. However, a highly popular and useful option is X-plore File Manager. The dual-pane feature makes it a personal favorite.
It’s easy to use. The menu on the right includes a Find feature. You don’t need to know the full file name. I also love that search tips are included in the search box. Enter part of your file name and locate your file in seconds.
Download Another File
If you can’t find your Android downloads now, why would you download something else? When you download a file, you get a notification in your device’s notification tray. The notification looks like a checkmark.
Tap it and you’re sent to the downloaded file, meaning you can also check out where the download came from. This is an easy way to see where your downloads are stored by default.
How to Find the Downloads Folder from Your Windows Computer
If you just can’t stand how small things look on your Android device, you can always look at your downloads on your computer. Connect your Android device to your computer with a USB cable, and within a few seconds, you should see a prompt appear offering to show you the contents of the device you connected.
The next window will offer various options such as import/export (among others). Click on the one that allows you to see the contents of your Android device. Click on the Phone option and scroll down until you find the Downloads folder. Just open it and do whatever you please.
Find Your Downloads in Chrome
You downloaded an image last week but accidentally erased it from your device. To recover that image, open Chrome, tap the three-dotted menu icon at the top right corner, then tap Downloads to see your list of downloads from the browser.
If you want to find a specific file such as video, tap on the drop-down menu beside Downloads and tap on videos (or whatever file you’re looking for).
Find Your Downloads in Edge
The new and much-improved Microsoft Edge browser is slowly making inroads on Android, and makes it relatively easy to find your downloads.
Open Edge, then tap the three horizontal dots at the bottom-centre of the browser and tap “Downloads.”
That’s it. All your downloads should now be visible to manage.
Find your Firefox Downloads
Firefox makes it just as easy to find your downloads. Once you have the browser open, tap on the three vertical dots at the top-right (or bottom-right, depending on your personal setup) of your display.
After that, tap “Downloads”, and you’re good to go.
As you can see, your downloaded files didn’t disappear, they just went to a folder created especially for that. To dig a little deeper still into your Android directories, you should read our guide on how to install TWRP Recovery. Or if you’ve started dabbling in streaming movies and TV between your devices, see our list of the best DLNA streaming apps.