File Management

What are Files?

In many cases we rarely concern ourselves with files on our mobile devices.
A file is the name for some computer data, the most common on a mobile device being a photo or video, but includes text documents, spreadsheets, emails, drawings…

We may need to deal with files if they have to be transferred to or from a computer or cloud storage service.
The most common reason for this is to move digital images (photos) from a phone or tablet to a computer for storage.

You may also find you wish to manage files that can come to your phone from a range of sources.
These could be entry tickets, travel documents, information sheets and so on…

This section is a bit technical but to help with managing files on your device you may wish to read the details below.

File Conventions

Each file has a name so that you can identify which file it is and what type of file it is.
For example it might have a name like DSC0023.jpg. The DSC0023 part is the name of the file, in this case it is a few letters and number which is typical of labelling by a camera. The .jpg is the file extension which tells the computer the type of file, in this case a digital image file.

The file can have a name of your choice provided you:

  • do not use any of the 'special' characters * : \ / < > | " ? [ ] ; = + & £ $
  • only use a . adjacent to the file extension
  • use a file name that is not more than 255 characters long
  • use a file name that has no other length limit (older computers may restrict to 8 characters long)
  • do not modify the file extension of the file

These recommendations apply to use on most computers to ensure that files can be transferred between say, Windows and Apple or Android.
Some common file extensions are listed here.

So for the example DSC0023.jpg, this file could be renamed:

  1. Spanish Steps Italy.jpg
  2. 2015-12-Rome-Italy.jpg
  3. My picture in Rome in December 2015.jpeg

The first is helpful.
The second is more helpful with date included AND, with the year - month format, the picture will be sorted in date order in a file manager.
The third name is not so helpful as it only tells that it is Rome and is quite long. Although shorter than the 255 letter name limit, making filenames longer than needed can cause problems if the file is also in a folder with a long name.

For your own convenience in finding a file later, it is best to use consistent and meaningful naming.

File Renaming Method

Files may need renaming for convenience, for easy search, for ensuring order or managing versions.

On Android, open the My Files app, press and hold on the file to be renamed.
Use the menu to choose rename
Type the new name and enter.

On iPhone you will probably need to get a file manager app to allow renaming.

Sometimes you want to rename a lot of files in one operation. This is called Bulk Renaming.

You can usually do this directly if you are using a photo editor app with a lot of images.
It is also possible to use a bulk renaming app or built in features in the device, if they exist.

Here are some brief notes for bulk renaming Files:
In Windows, highlight the files to be renamed in Windows explorer; right click on the first file and select Rename; type in the new name and press enter.

On Mac, highlight the files to be renamed in Finder; choose rename from the Action button and choose the rename options needed.

On iPhone, files cannot be renamed without using a file app. Photos cannot be renamed in the Photos app. To rename photos they must be exported to a file manager or photo editor.

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