1. Android Central Question's Avatar
    I love my 3a XL and have gleefully taken many pics and vids and downloaded documents. I understand how to transfer them off my phone and how they get backed up. However, I'm a complete novice when it comes to understanding the inner workings of the phone, and even though I've Googled until my eyes burn, I can't seem to find a single guide or site that clearly and precisely explains what I'm looking at when I connect my phone to my computer (I have a MacBook Pro). I understand DCIM, but that's about it. For example, when I connect to transfer pictures off the phone, there are so many folders in addition to the DCIM folder that I don't know what the files in those folders are, if they're necessary, if I need to transfer them or leave them alone, etc. I've tried Google Photos Help many times, but it doesn't get as in-depth as I'm looking for. I really want a thorough, nitty-gritty explanation of the internal storage, but explained in a "For Dummies" type of way (an "assume I know nothing, so tell me everything" style) so that I can follow it :-) Any recommendations would be very much appreciated!!
    01-11-2020 01:14 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! The folders you see are the same user-accessible folders you can see on your phone using the stock file manager or any other file manager app (like File by Google). In general, it's a good idea to leave folders alone if you don't know for sure what they're for -- some people think they can delete folders called "Misc", but just because something is miscellaneous doesn't mean it's unimportant.

    It's hard to go through every single folder, but certain ones that are helpful to know about are:

    /DCIM: This is related to the camera. Any photos you take with the stock camera app should be saved to /DCIM/Camera.

    /Download: This is where most apps will save downloaded files to (but not always -- some apps create their own specific directory for downloads).

    /Alarms, /Notifications, /Ringtones: These are folders where the user can save sound files for custom tones. If you put a sound file in one of these folders, then you'll see them as an option when you go to the system setting to change that kind of tone.

    /Books, /Movies, /Podcasts: These are folders where you can save your own media files. They're primarily for convenience -- you could create your own folders or rename the existing ones if you prefer.

    /Pictures: This typically contains subfolders created by other apps where they save media, and is also where most phones save screenshots. (For example, there's a /Pictures/Messages folder where the Messages app saves downloaded photos to, and the /Pictures/Screenshots folder is where your screenshots get saved. A notable exception for Screenshots is Samsung phones -- for some odd reason, Samsung puts the Screenshots folder under /DCIM.)

    /Android: This is where system apps and installed apps save user data. Don't mess with this directory.

    Any folder name that starts with a period is intended to be a "hidden" folder (which doesn't mean it's sinister -- just meant for internal system use). An example is the /DCIM/.thumbnails folder, where system-generated thumbnail images (e.g., the ones you see in any gallery app) are saved.

    Please register on this forum, which will allow you to engage in discussion more easily, as well as post images.https://forums.androidcentral.com/as...community.html
    belodion, Trees, Blaize19 and 2 others like this.
    01-11-2020 02:39 PM
  3. belodion's Avatar
    ^ That's a magnificently detailed and helpful answer.
    01-12-2020 05:42 AM

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